College of Fine Arts and Design

UCO To Stage Jack and the Beanstalk Children's Opera

Jan. 26, 2011jack and beanstalk poster

The University of Central Oklahoma's production of "Jack and the Beanstalk" will introduce young audiences to the joys of comic one-act opera with performances at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 7-8 at the Radke Fine Arts Theater, located in Central's Center for Transformative Learning.

"The story of 'Jack & the Beanstalk' possesses familiar, larger-than-life characters," said Nicholas Saverine, a full-time lecturer in Central's School of Music and director of the opera.

"In that way it's perfect for an opera because the characters have great big personalities which give the opera a nice energy."  

The 40-minute opera centers on the adventurous young boy Jack, whose mother sends him to town to sell the family cow. Jack meets a strange man and sells the cow for just a handful of beans. When he returns home, his mother is very angry and fears they will both die of starvation. Jack takes the beans and buries them behind the house in hopes they take root. Much to his delight, that night the beans grow into a magical stalk. Jack climbs the beanstalk and discovers a giant who has taken his father's golden hen.

"That's when the adventure begins," said Saverine. "Of course, in the end we find that the Giant has a tender heart and that Jack learns a lesson or two."
The lyrics to the opera are by John Davies set to the music of Sir Arthur Sullivan of Gilbert and Sullivan fame.  Davies wrote the narration and dialogue in rhyme, resulting in delightful fun for the whole family.
The Oklahoma Center for Arts Education (OCAE), a division of the UCO College of Fine Arts and Design, is taking the opera on the road to elementary schools in Enid, Moore and the Oklahoma City metro area following the UCO performances.    

"We are thrilled to show these students an art form that many wouldn't otherwise get the opportunity to see," said Ines Burnham, program manager of OCAE.

Admission to the opera is free, but a $3 donation is appreciated to support arts education.  There are no reservations required and the UCO performances are open seating.

For more information, contact Lesley Penton in the School of Music at (405) 974-3754 or email