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Volume 68, Issue 82, January 27, 2003

Arts & Entertainment

Fairy-tale 'Clocks' at Moores Opera House

By Brandon Moeller
The Daily Cougar

Ten minutes to five, fate frozen in time. Itis the basic theme of The 13 Clocks, an opera that had its world premiere Friday night at the UH Edythe Bates Old Moores Opera Center.

The opera was written by Peter Webster with music composed by Christopher Theofanidis, and was based on a fairy-tale novel of the same name by James Thurber, who was a widely-acclaimed cartoonist and writer for The New Yorker magazine for more than 30 years.


Elizabeth Hansen plays the beautiful princess Saralinda in Peter Websteris opera, The 13 Clocks.

Photo courtesy of Moores Opera House

A talented orchestra, which seemingly didnit miss a beat or make an error, backs the opera.

The story follows the main character, a witty prince who disguises himself as a vagabond minstrel whois searching for you guessed it his true love. John Weinel, a talented singer and performer, played the prince.

After charming the locals in a foreign land, the prince is told to avoid Coffin Castle and the sinister duke who resides there. In the performance, the Duke was played by Carlos Monzon.

But after hearing of the most beautiful woman in the land, named Saralinda, the prince realizes his destiny is to save the girl from the trappings of the evil duke. Saralinda was played by the beautiful, red-headed Elizabeth Hansen, whose voice warmed the audience on the cold night.

Along the way, the prince meets the Golux, a magical protecting character, and they immediately become friends -- but not, of course, without singing about it first. The Golux nearly steals the show. The Golux was played by Christian Guajardo in the performance, and after the performance Guajardo received more applause from the audience than any other actor.

The entertaining two-hour performance is fun for all, and the luxurious opera house has great acoustics, so every seat in the house is a good one.

The lines of the opera are displayed on a screen above the stage and are out of the way so as not to intrude on the production. Those new to listening to opera singing wonit walk away feeling ripped off and upset that they didnit know the foreign language. And itis a good thing the subtitles are there, because sometimes the orchestra drowns out the on-stage performers. Perhaps the microphones werenit placed right, or perhaps the actors need to speak up a little.

Websteris adopted tale is full of chuckles, usually for its fine use of language, but rarely ever is there a joke or gag that induces a fit of side-splitting hysterics. The laughter certainly wonit "slit you from your guggle to your zatch," which is something the locals warned the prince the evil duke might do if the prince were to try to rescue the princess.

The operais last performance is tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Moores Opera House. For information, call 713-743-3009 or visit www.uh.edu/music.

The 13 Clocks

Edythe Bates Old Moores Opera House

The verdict: Though all the technical details of the production were great, The 13 Clocks may be best suited for the page and not the stage.

 Send comments to dcshobiz@mail.uh.edu

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