Arts & Culture

UK’s SOOP Brings Opera to Kentucky’s Children

photo of "Little Red's Most Unusual Day" flier
After the rehearsal of "Little Red's Most Unusual Day" on UK's campus Sept. 22, the SOOP cast will take the show to 23 other performances in seven Kentucky counties.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 21, 2018) Schmidt Opera Outreach Program (SOOP) and the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre will bring the magic of opera to children across Kentucky again this year with the show "Little Red's Most Unusual Day." Before heading on tour, local audiences can check out the production’s final dress rehearsal 2 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday), Sept. 22, in the second floor rehearsal room of the Schmidt Vocal Arts Center. This performance is free and open to the public.

The classic fairytale, “Little Red Riding Hood,” is transformed into a children's opera with music by Jacques Offenbach and Gioachino Rossini and words and story adaptation by John Davies. Throughout the production, elementary school students will learn about the issue of strangers and the importance of heeding teachers' and parents' warnings. The SOOP tour of “Little Red’s Most Unusual Day” will run Sept. 24-Dec. 7 at multiple Kentucky schools.

SOOP’s talented cast of UK alumni includes Gabrielle Barker, of Lexington, portraying Little Red Riding Hood; Jaclyn Randazzo, of Nesconset, New York, as Mom and Granny; Tanner Hoertz, of Lexington, as Dudley the Forest Ranger; and Michael Pandolfo, of Fort Worth, Texas, as Mr. Big Bad. The cast is accompanied by Tina Wagoner, of Lexington.

Currently, SOOP has 23 performances scheduled in seven counties including Fayette, Franklin, Woodford, Edmonson, Jefferson, Knox and Owsley. A second public performance of "Little Red's Most Unusual Day" will be performed in Lexington 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, during the Little Goblins Galore event. The following month, the cast will perform at all the elementary schools in Knox County the week of Nov. 12-16.

To maximize the students' experience, SOOP created a study guide with lesson plans and activities that teachers can give students to complete before and after the performance. It also satisfies certain areas of the Kentucky state core content. Schools interested in hosting a performance of "Little Red's Most Unusual Day" can contact Jaclyn Randazzo by phone at 859-402-6946 or email for more information.

The mission of UK Opera Theatre’s SOOP is to make the arts accessible to children and to cultivate an understanding for and an appreciation of opera. SOOP has introduced over 290,000 Kentucky students in more than 270 schools and 77 counties to the fundamental components, basic terminology and the glorious melodies of opera.

UK Opera Theatre is housed at the School of Music at UK’s College of Fine Arts. The school, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, music therapy, composition, and theory and music history.

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue