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Children’s Opera Series Returns for Sixth Year

May 18, 2015

Thousands of area children will attend performances of “Who Stole B-Flat?” on the UC Merced campus this week as part of an effort to expose Merced County youth to opera and theater. 

In addition to the free performances being offered to schools all week, a performance for the community is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, May 23, in the Dr. Lakireddy Auditorium. Suggested donations for the public performance are $5 for adults and $3 for children. 

This is the sixth year in which a children’s opera is being offered at UC Merced. Previous productions include “Little Red Riding Hood” in 2009 and 2010, “Ugh the Duck” in 2012 and 2013, and “The Sky is Falling and I’m Not Even Kidding” in 2014.  

Who Stole B-Flat?” is written by Nancy Steele Brokaw and uses music by Mozart, Giacomo Puccini and Arthur Sullivan. This week marks the opera’s West Coast premier, following an initial production in Illinois in the spring.  

I think ‘Who Stole B-Flat?’ brought our most engaged audiences yet,” Brokaw said. “We played to over 8,000 kids, and they were uniformly engaged in the telling of the story and excited to help unravel the mystery. I think most kids like mysteries, and this one is a doozy — with gorgeous music, to boot.”

The project is sponsored by the Merced County Office of Education, Arts UC Merced Presents, the Betty Scalice Foundation and private donations. Jenni Samuelson, a lecturer in UC Merced’s global arts studies program, directs and co-produces the show with UC Merced Professor Katherine Steele Brokaw and Arts UC Merced Presents director Gail Benedict. Philip J. Smallwood is the music director.

For information, contact Jenni Samuelson at