Premiere Performance of Māra: A Chamber Opera on Good and Evil

The premiere performance of Māra: A Chamber Opera on Good and Evil will be presented at the Black Box Theatre of the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center, Florence, South Carolina on October 28 and 29, 2016 (7:30pm). With music by Sherry Woods and libretto by Stephen Batchelor, the 75-minute opera, to be directed by Ronn Smith, with musical director Benjamin Woods, dramatizes the fundamental questions of how to lead a good life. Tickets are $30 (includes VIP seating and post-performance reception) and $15. Both performances will be followed by a “talk back” with the composer, librettist, and stage director.

Based on canonical accounts of the life of Gotama, the historical Buddha, this chamber opera presents his life-long struggle to come to terms with Māra, the personification of evil and suffering. The first act recounts the youthful Gotama’s renunciation, temptation by Taṇhā (Māra’s daughter), and conquest of Māra. The second act tells of his final journey as an old man that begins with sickness and ends with his poisoning and death. Written for three voices and seven instruments, Māra: A Chamber Opera on Good and Evil goes beyond its ancient Indian origins to address the concerns of all, asking questions that resonate across centuries and traditions.

Gotama and Tanha will be sung, respectively, by Christopher Woods and Lauren Smith-Woods. Well-known to South Carolina audiences, both individuals currently reside in Los Angeles. Paul Thompson, voice professor at Francis Marion University, will sing the role of Māra.


Tickets go on sale September 16, 2016 at the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center. Tickets are available online and seating is limited. Go to or call the box office at 843 661-4444 to reserve a seat.