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Sherry Woods’ chamber opera, Mara, to premiere here

on Tuesday, 25 October 2016. Posted in Good life, News, Arts & Culture, Local News

A musical event is about to take place in Florence that has never happened before. The premiere performance of “Mara – A Chamber Opera on Good and Evil,” written by Sherry Woods in collaboration with librettist Stephen Batchelor of Aquitaine, France, will be presented at the Black Box Theater of the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center for two performances on Oct. 28 and 29.

Benjamin Woods will serve as musical director, and Ronn Smith of Boston, Mass., will be the producer and stage director.

The singers for the opera will be Chris Woods, baritone, Lauren Smith-Woods, soprano, and new FMU music faculty member Paul Thompson, tenor. A small chamber orchestra will accompany the production.

As a composer, Sherry Woods has long accepted the fact that a composing career is a difficult way to make a living unless you happen to be John Williams or one of the lucky, very few who can compose without an extra job teaching music or having a university position. Even Beethoven, with all of his patrons, taught music lessons, and the brilliant Mozart, who often lacked patronage, died leaving financial indebtedness, and was buried in a pauper’s grave. Financial uncertainty is too often a way of life in the arts.

However, for this production, Sherry – composer, Stephen – librettist, Ronn – director, and Benjamin – music director, are donating their time and resources to make “Mara” happen, but they cannot ask the same of the performing musicians, singers and orchestra.

The costs of renting the Black Box Theater, props, technical expenses, and payment to the musicians will cost thousands of dollars that will not be covered by ticket sales to the opera. Financial help from businesses and individuals who recognize and support Florence as a vital center of the arts for our region is needed. They would appreciate it if you and some of your friends would consider supporting this exciting project.

General admission tickets are $15 and $30. The $30 ticket includes a post performance reception as noted below. Tickets are on sale now at the FMU PAC Box Office, 843-661-4444, or online http://www.fmupac.org. Less than 200 seats are available, so buy early to reserve your seat.

Donor categories are: $1,000 – Benefactor – listing in the program, public acknowledgement from the stage prior to the performance, eight reserved seating tickets and a private reception to meet the artists after the performance.

$500 – Sponsor – listing in the program, four reserved seating tickets, private reception to meet the artists after the performance.

$250 – Opera lover – listing in the program, 2 reserved seating tickets, private reception to meet the artists after the performance.

$100 – Music lover – listing in the program, one reserved seating ticket, private reception to meet the artists after the performance.

The reception for donors will be held at the composer’s home, 629 Park Avenue, after each performance.

This event is a 501(3)c non profit entity, so all donations above the general admission ticket price will serve as a tax deduction. Checks should be made out to Unfettered Minds with a designation Mara Opera in the lower left corner.

When sending a check, please list how you would like your name to appear in the program, and designate which night you wish to attend.

Checks or questions should be sent to: Sherry Woods, 629 Park Avenue, 843-669-1156, 843-617-7023 Florence, SC 29501 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This project is made possible through funding from the Florence Regional Arts Alliance’s Quarterly Grants Program, which is funded in part by a generous award from the South Carolina Arts Commission and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of SC and due to the local support of Honda of South Carolina.

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