In her fourth year with Tulsa Youth Opera (TYO), Claremore High School junior Mariah Robinson will take the stage as “Princess of the Night,” a lead role in the mainstage production of “Little Nemo in Slumberland.”

Robinson said she has been singing in front of an audience most of her life, either at school or at church. She has participated in numerous theatrical performances in drama club at CHS as well as supporting roles for TYO.

“I’ve never really gotten the lead role, so this is something very exciting for me,” she said. “I felt confident with my audition. I knew that the director was fond of me and I knew that since my role in the previous season hadn’t been huge, there was a possibility I would get a lead role.”

“Little Nemo in Slumberland,” described as a magic opera in two acts, was written by well-known American composer Daron Hagen. The opera is based on Winsor McCay’s early 20th century comic “Little Nemo,” and follows the adventures of a boy as he fights to save Slumberland from the evil Emperor Sol who seeks a world of eternal sunshine.

“My role in the performance is to take ‘Little Nemo’ to the kingdom of Slumberland through the world of dreams. Along the way he discovers a variety of characters and in the end Nemo and I get to know each other and become friends,” said Robinson.

The production features 42 TYO members, and includes members of the Tulsa Opera Studio Artist Program as well as a student orchestra composed of children throughout Tulsa and the surrounding areas.

Robinson said Tulsa Youth Opera is her main source of practice and that her passion for the art is growing.

“(Mariah) is driven. She concentrates on what the directors want done and does it without any fuss,” said Mariah’s mother Terri.

The Tulsa Youth Opera is part of the Tulsa Opera’s tuition-free training program for singers in grades 3-12. Interested students are invited to audition in June for the next season.

Robinson said she loves every minute of it and plans to one day become a professional opera singer.

“Opera is a different style, a different genre entirely and I like the challenge of that,” she said.

“Little Nemo in Slumberland” performances are at 2 p.m. (sold out) and 6:30 p.m. tonight at the John H Williams Theatre at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. For ticket information, call the PAC ticket office at (918) 596-7109 or visit For more information on the Tulsa Youth Opera, visit


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