1969 Mantra

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The News American, Baltimore, MD, 8/24/1969:
"Many young people tend to relegate opera to the 'old fogey' department. But not in Seattle. Here, the opera house is one of the hippest scenes in town.

The new look of the Seattle Opera includes rear projection light shows, kinetic sculpture, modern dance, and far-out music. It's all part of a plan by director Glynn Ross to make older Seattleites take notice of the new art forms and let youngsters know classical forms can be relevant and exciting.

Ross's guidance and enthusiasm brought together a sculptress, a modern dance director, a psychedelic light show group and a classical composer with a modern bent to produce and perform Mantra, a blending of the separate media.

Mantra, loosely based on the chants of Buddhist monks, was shown to 118,000 Puget Sound area school children and funded by a grant under Title 3 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. One public performance was given."

In 1966, Washington’s legislature created the Washington State Cultural Enrichment Program, described (by The Seattle Times in 1970) as “by far the busiest impresario in the state.” The CEP funded performances by groups from Seattle to Spokane, and made possible such Seattle Opera programs as a new touring opera (Penelope, with music by Herschel Burke Gilbert and starring Marni Nixon), and The Magical Marriage, a commedia dell’arte show complete with masks and puppets, crafted by Norm Durkee, Arne Zaslove, and Seattle theater legends John Aylward and Kurt Beattie. By 1990, the CEP was still bringing top-quality touring productions to every corner of the state, but in 1993, the budget shrank to less than one-third of its earlier size. The program was discontinued in 1999, according to the Washington State Arts Commission’s Cathy Cochrane, “as our arts education strategies shifted to other efforts, including community consortia grants.”