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University of Iowa News Release

March 22, 2004

Friends Of UI Libraries Event To Explore World Of Opera

Explore the world with University of Iowa Opera Director Gary Race at this year's Friends of the UI Libraries Annual Event, "From Stacks to Stage: A Lyrical Look at an Opera Director's Love Affair with the Library."

The presentation will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 1, in the Richey Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union. The reception will begin at 6:30 p.m., with the main program beginning at 7 p.m. Unique items from the Libraries collections will be on display, as well as photographs from Race's previous operas. Admission is free, although registration is requested by Friday, March 26. To register, call the Friends of the Libraries at 319-335-6093 or e-mail to

"Building on President Skorton's theme this year, we are pleased to highlight the Libraries' contribution to the arts and humanities at Iowa," notes Nancy L. Baker, university librarian. "This event also gives us an opportunity to introduce UI's new opera director."

Race, opera director and associate professor in the School of Music, part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Division of Performing Arts, will give an illustrated lecture about how he prepares for a new production and how the library is the foundation for his research.

"To bring an opera to the stage, I do significant background research. I can be exploring the historical time periods or settings and locales. There are all kinds of interesting directions to take," explains Race. "For example in an opera like Carmen, I've learned how to play the castanets so I could direct our singers."

Race's 30-plus years of experience include the direction of more than 100 productions. In 1994, he made his European debut directing Madame Butterfly for the Stadtheater Lueneburg in Germany. Race has written and had performed four opera translations and created several music theater works for performance by young people. He was the director of Angels' Voices at the Kennedy Center, a multi-cultural opera about coping with death. He researched and wrote the libretto for this work, which was commissioned by the Kennedy Center.

Jeff Disterhoft, chair of the Libraries' development advisory board, will recognize board members and thank donors.

Food and refreshments will be available.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,