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Great Falls Student to Peform in Opera

Washington National Opera's children's camp will perform new opera this weekend.

Sarah Glaser, 14, of Great Falls, is one of 28 students chosen by audition to participate in a four-week opera camp at the Washington National Opera. The program will end with the production of, a new opera, "The Enchantment of Dreams," this weekend.

"I was really excited because it is really fun when you audition for something. It makes you feel good to know that you did a good job out of all the people that auditioned," Sarah said.

In addition to playing a dream weaver in the opera, she has been in community theater and the World Children's Choir. "The choir has performed at the Kennedy Center, for President Clinton, and toured in Canada and Ireland. I really enjoyed it," said Sarah .

A dream weaver is a mysterious person who weaves the dream around a sleeping person. A "noosha" stick is placed under the dreamer's pillow to call up his ancestors or family tree.

According to Suzanne Stephens, public relations director for the Washington National Opera's 10th Annual Opera Camp for Kids, the new work for the opera camp, co-commissioned with the St. Louis Opera Company, was created by composer Cary John Franklin and librettist Michael Patrick Albano, known for the popular children's opera "The Thunder of Horses." "It is not common to see the words ‘children’ and ‘opera’ in the same sentence," said Stephens, in an e-mail.

As for Sarah s favorite thing about the opera, "I really like singing a show. Opera is its own thing. Singing the whole show, and the people are really nice. They help you. I like making the crafts, staging classes. My part in the theater is the dream weaver, and we have streamers and brightly colored umbrellas, and it's really fun working with these things," said Sarah

"My parents have really helped me. My dad looks for shows I can be in. My parents drive me and keep my spirits up.

"We did a project for the opera. We put together a family tree that helped you artistically, that inspired you. I don't have immediate family that are musical. Some of my distant relations in the past have done music, like my grandpa and great-grandfather. I have a great-aunt who was an opera singer," said Sarah .

"My family has lived for two years in Great Falls. I have a sister, a brother, a step-sister and two cats." said Sarah . "She has just graduated from Herndon Middle School and is planning to go to Madeira in the fall," Howard Glaser, her father said .

When asked about Sarah, Meaghan Tarquino, 13, a friend also in the show, said, "Sarah has a beautiful voice. It is amazing. This is my second year knowing her. Her voice reminds me of a young Andrea McArdle, known on Broadway as Belle in 'Beauty and the Beast.'"

Sarah's favorite subject in school is civics, and she is thinking about becoming a lawyer if she doesn't become a singer. "At the new school, Madeira, every Wednesday you can intern somewhere, and I am considering the WNO (Washington National Opera) in my junior year. It’s a great professional opportunity. Also in school I took drama and photography, which was really fun," she said.

"The Enchantment of Dreams" will be performed on Saturday, Aug. 14, and Sunday, Aug. 15, at 12 and 2 p.m. at the Round House Theater in Bethesda, Md. The Round House Theater is located at the corner of East-West Highway and Waverly Street. Admission is free, but reservations are required. To reserve seats, call 202-448-3465 or e-mail education@dc-opera.org. Directions to the Round House Theater can be obtained at www.round-house.com.

At 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. before performances, there will be a 30-minute talk by the composer and the librettist about the creative process of conceiving, composing and collaborating on the world premiere of "The Enchantment of Dreams."

For more information on the Washington National Opera Camp, call 202-448-3465 or e-mail education@dc-opera.org.