The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

Local News

November 14, 2013

Fairy tale opera to offer whimsical costumes, music

HUNTSVILLE — What happens when Red Riding Hood gets lost in the woods, meets Hansel and Gretel and stumbles upon the Big Bad Wolf and the Evil Witch?

Sam Houston State University’s Opera Workshop, a nationally recognized organization within the School of Music, will tell audiences in song when it presents scenes from favorite fairytales in “Once Upon An Opera.”

Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday in the Gaertner Performing Arts Center Recital Hall.

“Once Upon An Opera” will feature operatic scenes from a variety of beloved fairytales and is uniquely accessible for young audiences, according to Opera Workshop director Rebecca Grimes.

The production is designed for music lovers of all ages and caters even to those who normally would not enjoy opera by including stories from “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Cinderella,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “Hansel and Gretel,” performed with music by Mozart, Rossini, Massenet and Sondheim, as well songs from well-known productions such as Into The Woods, Wicked, Magic Flute and much more.

“This show presents the fun side of opera,” Grimes said. “If you have never been to an opera, this is a good opportunity to introduce yourself to it.”

 Songs will be performed in their original languages—including Italian, French, German, English and Czech—and will feature English supertitles.

To add to the fairytale experience, “Once Upon An Opera” will feature a variety of elaborate costumes designed through collaborations between Grimes and Linda Summers, owner of Fincher Fantasies, a boutique in Huntsville’s downtown square.

Summers has contributed her costume design talents to previous productions. FincherFantasies, with the help of Grimes, has created 13 uniquely designed costumes for Once Upon An Opera.

“Rebecca came to me so well prepared that I had everything a costume designer needed for a production of this size,” Summers said. “She shared visions for the scene selections and we talked about the synopsis of each scene, the costuming needs and who would be performing.”

Summers’ favorite costumes from Once Upon An Opera are the glimmering satin gown of the “Dew Fairy” from “Hansel and Gretel” and a beautifully embellished ball gown for Cinderella’s big reveal.  

“The best part about costume design is seeing the actors come alive on stage in costume,” Summers said. “It really brings gratification to start with fabric, cut it, mark all the details of the pattern, serge all the seams, sew it all together and then have a beautiful garment.”

“Once Upon an Opera” features the singing talents of SHSU students  Rachel Rodriguez, Bryanna Johnson, Nicole Wallace, Lindsey Fuson, Sarah Garcia, Shelby Murphy, Albert Donze, Nick Szoeke, John Jermain, Lindsay Chambers, Samantha Graham, Brianna Bonnette, CarolineObkirchner, Josaphat Contreras, Myah Lerch, Ardeen Pierre, Rachel Harston and Amanda Molinario.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $12 for senior citizens, and $5 for students and are available at or by phone at (936) 294-2339.

The program will last approximately an hour and a half.

The Gaertner Performing Arts Center Recital Hall is located at 815 17th St.

For more information on the Opera Workshop, contact Grimes at

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