UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed.
Down in the valley there were three farms. The owners of these farms had done well. They were rich men. They were also nasty men.
So begins Fastastic Mr. Fox, Roald Dahl’s tale of a truly cunning fox who rallies his family and friends to take on those nasty farmers. In 1998, Fantastic Mr. Fox debuted in Los Angeles as an opera with music by Tobias Picker, who is now the Artistic Director of OPERA San Antonio. Learn more about Picker: “Tobias Picker On His Family Opera, ‘Fantasic Mr. Fox'”, Nathan Cone, Texas Public Radio, September 16, 2014.
A new production of Fantastic Mr. Fox will open OPERA San Antonio’s 2014-15 season at the new Tobin Center. Performances will be September 23, 26, and 27 at 7:30 p.m. and September 28 at 2:00 p.m. in the Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater. Order tickets online, call the box office at 210-223-8624 (daily between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.), or walk up to the box office at 100 Auditorium Circle (map; open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday). As of this writing, the September 23 and 28 shows are already sold out.
On Saturday, September 27, at 7:30 p.m., the performance will also be simulcast on the River Walk Plaza, an outdoor space with a 30-foot-high video wall. The simulcast performance is a free event, but tickets are required. OPERA San Antonio gave me a set of tickets for my family to use, as well as a four-pack of tickets to give away to my readers. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below, telling us about your favorite Roald Dahl story (refresh your memory here), no later than Monday, September 22. I will randomly choose a winner, contact him or her by email, and send the tickets by first class mail.
Last weekend, a group of bloggers and our families toured the Tobin Center and learned more about this new production of Fantastic Mr. Fox.
The Tobin Center itself is glorious. The main attraction is the H-E-B Performance Hall, where high technology (a tilting floor, LED lighting, an adjustable acoustic shell, etc.) serves to deliver beautiful sound to the audience. Read more: “Tobin Center for the Performing Arts”, Denise Barkis Richter, San Antonio Tourist, September 15, 2014; “Amid Strings and Brass, Tobin Center Opens to Standing Ovation”, Tami Kegley, Rivard Report, September 5, 2014. The Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater is more compact, but can be reconfigured into many arrangements of seating and performance space.
The lobby, the staircases, the lounges, and the outdoor spaces combine modern design and materials with respect for the center’s origins as Municipal Auditorium, dedicated to World War I veterans—memorialized by monuments on the Veteran Memorial Plaza. “A Medal of Honor River Portal Worthy of its Heroes”, Robert Rivard, Rivard Report, July 4, 2014.
OPERA San Antonio’s new production of Fantastic Mr. Fox, directed by Erica Olden and designed by Emily Carew Woodard, features sets and costumes that bring the characters to life.
Last weekend, the bloggers and our families got to meet the cast of Fantastic Mr. Fox. The book describes the three farmers—Boggis, Bean, and Bunce—as “nasty men,” but the performers—Andrew Craig Brown, Gabriel Preisser, and Edwin Vega, respectively—were quite charming in person. Mezzo-soprano Renée Rapier (Mrs. Fox) spoke engagingly about opera as an art form. Baritone John Brancy brings a charisma that will surely be amplified when he appears on stage as Mr. Fox, wearing a fox tail and long ears designed by Woodard. Learn more about Brancy: “Baritone John Brancy, Fantastic as ‘Mr. Fox'”, Nathan Cone, Texas Public Radio, September 18, 2014.
We also got to meet Elizabeth Futral (Miss Hedgehog), Zachary Altman (Badger the Miner), Jonathan Blalock (Burrowing Mole), Tynan Davis (Rita the Rat), Theo Lebow (Mr. Porcupine), Andrey Nemzer (Agnes the Digger), and Gail Novak Mosites (Mavis the Tractor).
Andres Cladera, Resident Conductor for OPERA San Antonio, will lead members of the San Antonio Symphony. Members of the Children’s Chorus of San Antonio will play supporting roles (fox cubs, trees) and perform between acts. This sort of teamwork among the resident companies was one of the goals that led to the creation of the Tobin Center. “Home in the Tobin Center, Performing Arts Groups Strive to Collaborate”, Robert Rivard, Rivard Report, September 17, 2014.
Over the summer, OPERA San Antonio went out in the community to introduce more San Antonio children to the art form of opera and the Fantastic Mr. Fox story. For example, on a Tuesday afternoon at the Witte Museum, children got to play in the instrument petting zoo. (Also see this earlier post about the instrument petting zoo at a San Antonio Symphony family concert.) OPERA San Antonio visited community partners, including Boys and Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts, Boysville, and the Jewish Community Center, where children got to hear a reading of Fantastic Mr. Fox and pick up stickers, activity sheets, and paperback books. Now, these partner organizations will be able to invite families to attend the simulcast.
Save the dates—perhaps for a date night or girls’ night out—for two more OPERA San Antonio productions in the 2014-15 season:
- Salome by Richard Strauss on January 8 and 11, 2015
- A double program, Il segreto di Susanna by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari and La voix humaine by Francis Poulenc, on March 12 and 15, 2015
Here are some details about the simulcast event:
- Public parking is available throughout downtown.
- The printed tickets say “Adult”, but the event is family-friendly, and children are welcome. It’s one ticket per person, adult or child.
- Attendees may use the bathrooms located just inside the Tobin Center.
- Snacks and drinks will be available to purchase; no outside food or drink is allowed.
- Chairs will be set up on the plaza, but if you prefer, bring a picnic blanket to sit at Riverwalk level.
- This is a free event, but please remember to bring your tickets, and try to arrive early enough to get settled in before the show.
To enter the giveaway for a four-pack of tickets to OPERA San Antonio’s production of Fantastic Mr. Fox, simulcast on the Tobin Center’s River Walk Plaza at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 27, 2014, please leave a comment below, telling us about your favorite Roald Dahl story (list), no later than Monday, September 22. I will randomly choose a winner, contact him or her by email, and send the tickets by first class mail. Good luck!
Disclosure: OPERA San Antonio gave me a set of tickets for my family to attend the September 27 simulcast of Fantastic Mr. Fox, plus another set of tickets to give away. Also, at the preview on September 14, OPERA San Antonio gave me a paperpack copy of the book, Fantastic Mr. Fox.