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Shinn-Medoff opera, "Sara McKinnon," to premiere at New Mexico State University

A broad base of characters and a variety of musical styles will highlight the world premiere of a new opera, "Sara McKinnon," which takes us back to the American Southwest in the 1870s just after the American Civil War.



Juline Barol-Gilmore as Sara McKinnon and George Dyer as Felipe Quinones de Delarosa rehearse for the new opera, "Sara McKinnon," to premiere at New Mexico State University's Music Center Recital Hall July 27 through Aug. 5. (New Mexico State University p

ra by composer Randall Shinn and playwright Mark Medoff will be presented at New Mexico State University's Music Center Recital Hall July 27 through Aug. 5.

"Sara McKinnon" relates a classic tall tale about a female sheriff. "I knew I wanted to do something endemic to the Southwest, my home since 1966," said Medoff, resident playwright and theater arts professor emeritus at New Mexico State University. "I was in possession of a movie idea, a tall tale in the form of a newspaper article about a woman sheriff in the Old West. From that tale, over the course of some years, the libretto developed."

The music for the opera is composed by Shinn, professor of theory and composition at Arizona State University and composer-in-residence at New Mexico State since 2000.

"This will appeal to people who have never been to an opera before and people who are used to opera will feel right at home," Shinn said.

The Dona Ana Lyric Opera in cooperation with Matrix Capital Bank and Lou Sisbarro Dealerships will present five performances of "Sara McKinnon." The premiere also has been funded by grants from the McCune Foundation, the New Mexico Arts Division and Wells Fargo.

Tickets range in price from $12 to $21. Performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. July 27, Aug. 1 and Aug. 3 and 3 p.m. July 29 and Aug. 5. Students can attend the Aug. 1 performance for $5.

For tickets or more information, call the music center box office at (505) 646-1993.