‘The Fox and The Cookie’ lights up the world of opera


Jasmin Campoya

“The Fox and The Cookie” opera premiere took place at the Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall.

Avery Escamilla-Wendell, Staff Reporter

The Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall was lit with joy March 27, from children and their families coming to see the world premiere of “The Fox and The Cookie.” The interactive opera involved audience participation and incorporated artists from UTEP. 

Director of Opera, Cherry Duke, collaborated with pianist Esequiel Meza and musical composer Maria Thompson Corley. This production came to be when Corley and Duke were both at a conference when a large storm passed by. After seeking shelter, Corley crossed paths with Duke which led to the idea of the opera. The opera was broadly based on “Aesop’s Fables” which is a children’s book full of short stories where animals act “human-like.” 

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  • Opera UTEP presented their world premiere of an opera for children March 27 and 28.

  • “The Fox and The Cookie” opera was directed by Cherry Duke with Esequiel Meza Jr., Ph.D.

  • “The Fox and The Cookie” opera was composed by Maria Thompson Corley and was loosely based on “Aesop’s Fables.”

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“I had this idea,” Corley said. “Someone gave me an idea based on some songs I’d written about these fables that had to do with the fox making that into an opera.” 

Audience member Katrinia Wright was invited by her husband who was cast as the “Fox” on opening night. She hoped to see a comedy or something funny. 

Before the performance, many of its contributors were recognized and asked to give a few words. Miguel Escondria, a theatre education major, was the costume designer for the opera. 

“It was very interesting to introduce aspects of animals into this performance, what’s called anthropomorphic, which means animals with human qualities, standing up, having them talk, and what we’re going to see soon, singing,” Escondria said. 

UTEP’s Children Choir was invited, and three members taught the audience a song to sing along to during the opera. 

There was a total of seven acts within the play. Throughout the performance, there was a screen that projected the background scenes that UTEP graphic design students got to showcase with captions in English and Spanish at the bottom.

Each scene was very wholesome and felt like a picture capture of the book projected on stage. The costumes and sets were incredible and showcased the right amount of a children’s book theme. 

Senior graphic design student Dania De La Hoya was one of the many chosen students to have her art displayed on the projected screen. She explains her process of creating her design. 

“It’s a lot of going back and forth,” De La Hoya said. “You have your sketches, you can send them to the professor, and then they need to approve them as well, they give you some feedback and you need to go and sometimes re-edit.” 

Jessica Broaddus, a senior majoring in music education, played the “Pelican.” 

“It’s super exciting being a world premiere,” Broaddus said. “It’s also really engaging with getting to sing for children, and it’s something that inspires me as a future music educator.” 

The heartwarming moral of the story was well expressed to the audience. The overall production was amazing and very creative. 

“Each of us at some point in our lives has a responsibility to decide who we want to be,” Corley said. “Not jumping to condemning each other because of the mistakes we make, but each of us making a choice and decide that we don’t have to do certain things because we’ve always done them or because other people do them.” 

 “The Fox and the Cookie” will have their next performance from 2:30 p.m. to 3:20 p.m., April 1, at the El Paso Museum of Art. Find more information on the event at epma.art. More information on Maria Thompson Corley is at mariacorley.com. 

Avery Escamilla-Wendell is the staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected] or on Instagram @by_avery_escamilla