Monday, April 14, 2014

All That Jazz…

Caryn Ott Hillman, Opera for All Choreographer
 
6 very different CPS grade schools, 12 classes filled with a wide range of abilities, 3 different dance - all to honor the genre of JAZZ!

  With Duke Ellington in our COT season, it was really exciting to offer the opportunity to teach jazz in the classroom!  What a “cool” way to grab their ears but with the blaring brass of Goodman’s SING SING SING, the off beats of Gershwin’s FASCINATING RHYTHM or Tito Puente’s Latin soul in  OYE COMO VA.  (And I gotta say – choreographing all three was a BLAST…A dancer’s dream!)  I had the chance to introduce Tap Dance into the curriculum with the first two because jazz invites you to move your feet to same rhythm as the song’s.  Then, the Latin beat easily translated into moving your hips and cha-cha-ing to the phrases. 

   A lot of the kids totally embodied the COOLNESS of their jazz by adding their own onomatopoeia sound effects to the crash of the cymbal drum, vocal grunts to their more aggressive poses or their drastic volume contrasts between their foot stumps and their toe hops.  Truly,  the proof of them subliminally sensing the complexity of jazz comes alive when they have the opportunity to use their bodies and voices to imitate what they hear!  This is solely why we are here.  To enrich their minds with the creativity that music has to offer.  

     Sadly, as the Guest Artist Choreographer, I only had 2 hours with each class.  It was a quick introduction, throw a whole lot of physical exercise through dance at them, make them do it over and over (they hated me for that part!) and then I had to say good bye.  However, I did experience the characteristics of each classroom, all with very different dynamics. Believe it or not, some of the children that stood out as the most misbehaved became my Dance Captains because of their stellar “dance off” auditions to see who knew the combinations the best. It’s truly mind blowing how the physicality of movement-to-music can ignite the brains to those that appear to be unattached.  Having a daughter that has been diagnosed as ADHD, I know this first hand.  The language I speak best with my own daughter is MOVEMENT.

     I would have loved to have gotten to know each child more intimately, but my job does not allow for as much.  Alas, I received many hugs to know that I gave a gift – the love of dance through the awesomeness of JAZZ!
 
Students follow Ms. Ott's lead while learning the choreography
 

Learning Stage Directions


Heather Keith, Opera for All Teaching Artist Intern
 
After months of brainstorming, writing, and composing our operas are finally taking shape and the blocking process has started! This is probably my favorite part of any production and I think it’s becoming the student’s favorite part as well! It’s amazing to see the transformation that happens to a show once it’s “on it’s feet” and these operas are no different. One major change I have noticed in the early stages of blocking is how none of the students want to sit on the sidelines. Now that there are dances to be danced and fight chorography to be performed no one wants to miss out! 

Reilly students adding in some Taek won do moves to enhance the script
 
Before blocking was able to begin we took a moment to explain stage directions and the importance of not closing yourself off from the audience.  During a class at Chase, Dr. D'Agostino played a stage direction game, which was really effective in getting the students to understand not only which way to move, but why we move that way.  The students really loved this game and it made blocking later on much smoother.


During this process we have implored the help of the student assistant stage managers and I think this extra responsibility is something the students are really taking pride in.  One of the students I work with at Reilly is on the shy side, but now that she has the ability to be the go-to person for blocking questions, I can see she is coming out of her shell.  As for the rest of the students, it’s great to see what physical attributes they are assigning to their characters.  Each character is starting to have a distinct personality and the more individualized these characters are, the more confident the students become. All the students are pretty invested at the point and that I think is the key to great theater. These operas are going to be amazing and I’m so happy that I get to be a part of this process. 

 
Student at Reilly Elementary striking a confident pose in the middle of their class composed song


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Guiding Student Creativity into a Piece of Art

Stephen Carmody - COT Opera for All Guest Artist

My role in the program was to introduce the topic and profession of a designer, focusing on sets, costumes, and props for the theatre.  We also had to construct  these elements for each school's physical production.  Given less than 2 hours for each class, I was slightly intimidated.  But after reading the scripts developed by the young students of the program, it was clear I did not need to introduce imagination or creativity; these kids had it. 

 
My goal was to create a class that would allow the students to be in control and express themselves to design their show.  I merely provided the art supplies and helped with the hot glue gun.   Because every production took place in Chicago, the students were excited to recreate a Chicago skyline for their backdrop.  I came to the first class with a variety of craft materials, research images, and cardboard cut-out skyscrapers. Students quickly cleared the center of their classroom and began to cut, glue, and collage.  Each student created their own building.  Some buildings were representative of real architecture, ("I'm going to make the Willis Tower!") others were fictional versions of the city, ("I'm going to put my name on this building!"). 


It was messy.  Glue dripped, and glitter was poured, but in the end, each student's uniquely creative building was attached together and formed one giant skyline.  The students stepped back and smiled at the work they created together.  Shorty after that initial shock one girl proclaimed, "It's beautiful!". 

I very much agreed.



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Queenie Pie Visits Opera for All Students!

Linden Christ - Manager of Education and Outreach

On Thursday, March 13th, our very own Queen Pie visited five of our schools and spoke with 300 of our Opera for All students!   Karen Marie Richardson is passionate about sharing her experiences with children. All of our OFA students attended the dress rehearsal of Queenie Pie at the Harris Theater, but that was on February 11th, so she began each classroom visit by having the students retell the story.   The students asked wonderful questions throughout the day.


How do you scat?
What inspired you to become an actress?
Do you get nervous?
How long did it take you to memorize Queenie Pie?
How do you feel on stage?
What was your audition like for Queenie Pie?



The students loved meeting with Karen Marie Richardson and everyone wanted her autograph!   It was a great day for these young students!    All of our Opera for All schools received a signed poster from the cast.




 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Composing Music with Elementary Students


Justin Callis, OFA Teaching Artist and Composer

Composing at Chase, Sabin, and Courtenay was a wonderful experience.  It is so nice to get to work with the Opera for All classes I do not normally get to see, and to meet new students.  It was also so much fun to be back at Chase, were so many of the students recognized me and remembered me from last year.  At Sabin, we were able to work in small groups on their music, and each student had an opportunity to contribute to their song.  In fact, we worked so quickly, that by the time we had our second class, I was able to work group by group on singing our whole song, and we left our second class day with the students completely memorized, singing their song loud and proud.  While the Assistant Principal at the school was gracious enough to allow us to utilize her office for that session, I don’t think she quite realized how much noise enthusiastically singing elementary school students can make in a tiny room!  I hope we didn’t disrupt her work too much with their beautiful singing.

Courtenay was an interesting and rewarding challenge.  Each class had written three songs!  Our first class, we worked with the individuals responsible for each song in small groups, picking their brains for interesting melodic ideas to go with their lyrical material.  Our second class, we worked with the whole class, so every participant would feel ownership over the completed material.  It was an incredibly successful endeavor, and I left with a wealth of songs to polish and complete.  Plus, with the guidance of their school music teacher, Courtenay classes will accompany their operas on Orff instruments, so I am hard at work orchestrating!

Working at Chase is always a delight.  The students are enthusiastic, the staff is supportive, and the operas are unique.  We had a ton of fun exploring the Blues scale in our work at Chase, as it really added a nice jazzy touch to their songs.  While the beginning of class could be a bit sleepy so early in the morning, we were always able to wake them up into an excited, energized classroom by the end of the session.  I’m sure their opera will be interesting and exciting in its final form, and I feel very fortunate to have been involved in its creation.  I can’t wait to see the final performance!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Kids CAN Compose

Julie B. Nichols - Composer Guest Artist at Hampton, Reilly, and Armstrong Elementary Schools

Being a guest artist for OFA was so amazing and rewarding. I must admit I was a little skeptical at first, going into classes where the kids are learning about jazz and opera - two things that are not necessarily at the top of the ‘hip radar.’ But these kids have taken to these art forms like nothing I have ever seen. With incredible guidance from the teaching artists, they have found ways to make these seemingly far away art forms very close to their lives and their musical experiences.




We started off our sessions by listening to all different types of jazz - soul jazz, latin jazz, smooth jazz, funk, etc. I wanted to show the kids that there are no stylistic limits to what they can compose under the umbrella of jazz. Throughout Jazz’s history, it has been influenced and modified by all sorts of different genres and world sounds, which makes it one of the most malleable and fun genres to compose within. Anything is possible! And the kids definitely got that. In one of the Reilly classes,  a student actually asked if our composition could be more like the Cannonball Adderly tune we listened to (Inside Straight, our example of Soul Jazz) I said of course we could! It was thrilling to see the kids listening to the examples and wanting to integrate them into their own writing.

I tried to encourage the kids to reach to the furthest of their imagination in how to build melodies and bring energy to the songs we were writing, while still trying to teach good melodic structure. We assigned the notes of a scale (1-8) to the words of the lyrics they wrote.  Five different kids would give a suggestion then we would all vote on which was the strongest. We would then talk about WHY it was the strongest -- was it easy to sing? Did it end on a one or an eight? Why does that make it sound good? They quickly began to figure out what makes strong, singable, stable melodies and started creating their own.

I’m telling you, these 3rd, 4th and 5th graders ended up writing some pretty darn catchy songs. I was incredibly impressed. They seemed to enjoy hearing what their melodies sounded like, and it made them more excited to put them all together. They loved to get up and dance to their songs, too, which I of course loved! Very often they naturally wanted to start talking about choreography and other aesthetic elements of their operas as we were building the music. I found that very exciting and inspiring, as it was clear the music was helping them visualize their overall creative vision.

I can’t say enough great words about these kids and their teachers, and OFA in general. It’s inspiring to see these kids so hungry to learn about these incredible forms of art and music - both opera and jazz. It gives me hope that those genres will continue to thrive for generations, and maybe one of these talented kids will be the next big star! 

Monday, March 3, 2014

COT for Teens attend Duke Ellington's Jazz Opera!

Dr. Jennifer D'Agostino - COT for Teens, Director at Solorio Academy High School

I have been lucky to have the opportunity to watch the students in Chicago Opera Theater for Teens at Solorio Academy experience new things. Recently, we attended Chicago Opera Theater's Thursday evening dress rehearsal of Duke Ellington's "Queenie Pie."




For many students, it was their first opera. For some, it was their first time downtown. The excitement was evident from the first seconds of our time together. We ordered some pizzas, and took a bus to the event. We had our COT for Teens from 3:30-10pm! As soon as the students came to our program they were buzzing with questions about the day. They all wanted to change from their regular school uniforms into their purple After School Matters t-shirts. It was really fun to see some of them make their t-shirt outfit fancy by curling or straightening their hair, wearing nice pants or skirts, and adding other items of personal style. Our games, song rehearsals, and acting exercises for the day were over-the-top, as all students participated and were having fun, leaving their inhibitions at the door. Mr. Roemer and I had a lot of fun too, because we remembered what it was like to have a new experience, and since we had already seen the first act of "Queenie Pie," we knew they would like it.

We had already discussed and acted out the plot, so the students knew a little of what to expect. We showed them a couple videos that COT was using to advertise the event and we went over concert etiquette. One boy asked me "If I introduce myself to someone, do I shake their hand?" This event was great for them because they had the opportunity to take ownership of their roles as ambassadors of Solorio, Chicago Opera Theater for Teens, and After School Matters. I was so pleased to see them introducing themselves, shaking hands with new people, laughing at funny parts, and reacting to some of the uncomfortable moments.

Unfortunately, we didn't get to stay to the end of the performance, but we did sneak out in enough time to take a couple fancy pictures on the steps of the Harris Theater. Since Mr. Roemer had to take off for a rehearsal for another gig, we were accompanied by our ASM liaison/Solorio teacher: Laura Vaca, Solorio's choir teacher: Andrew Sons, and Solorio's band teacher: Madeleine Mollinedo. I can't wait for our next field trip to Autumn Green Retirement Center on Monday, March 31st, where the kids will put on their own performance! 

350 Opera for All students attended Queenie Pie Opera!

Sara Litchfield - Assistant Teaching Artist

On Tuesday, February 11th, all six CPS schools participating in the Opera for All program hopped on 12 busses and came to the Harris Theater to watch a dress rehearsal of COT’s production of Duke Ellington’s jazz opera Queenie Pie.  For many, if not most students present, it was their first experience going to the opera and I was thrilled to see that some students even came dressed up.  Before entering the theater, our classes set up camp on the various levels of the lobby for an indoor picnic and played acting games with the teaching artists.  Many of them were mesmerized by the neon lights and massive production posters displayed throughout the lobby.  Upon seeing a particular picture of an elaborately costumed ballerina, a young lady from Armstrong Elementary asked me, “Is that Queenie Pie?”



Once everyone found their seats in the balcony, Linden Christ, talked a bit about the composer, the plot and reviewed proper audience etiquette.   Due to the CPS school day release time, we were only able to see Act I.  I personally felt that the music, the dancing, the costumes, set and in particular the fantastic singing of this incredible cast perfectly embodied jazz and the vibrant life of the Harlem Renaissance.  This was a very unique operatic experience for me because there was spoken dialogue throughout and the usual coloratura or soaring legato phrases were replaced with scat and crooning.  It might have been a perfect introduction to the art form for our students because the operas they are writing also include dialogue and songs that are much more reminiscent of popular music than traditional opera. As is the case in many operatic tales, Queenie Pie dealt with some mature subject matter, especially dealing with race.  One particular character advocated the use of skin whitening or bleaching products so that African American girls would not have to be so “dark”, which I could see made a few girls in my area of the balcony uncomfortable.  I was pretty relieved that this character was then quickly established as the antagonist.  There were also a few, as the kids described them, “gross, mushy scenes” with kissing and light sexual innuendo.  But to be perfectly honest, the raciest material in the opera is mundane next to certain ads during the Super Bowl or subject matter of many network TV shows that air after 7pm.  We encouraged our partner teachers to have the students write about the opera in their journals and the class period following their visit to the theater, we prompted a class wide discussion about the opera where kids were encouraged to share their opinions in a safe, artistic environment.  I found that overall the students came away with really broad perspectives of the opera both appreciating the talented performances and exciting music while still intelligently considering any content that prompted emotional responses, whether good or bad.  Isn’t that what art is truly about?  Something that makes you think, that takes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to consider the world from a different perspective.  I can only hope that this experience will inspire our students to continue to seek out art with open ears, eyes and minds.

COT for Teens at Gallery 37

Caryn Ott Hillman - COT for Teens, Director at Gallery 37


I don’t know how this happens, but every semester I feel we have THEE BEST TEENS EVER!!!  Once again, this new collection of teens from different schools, backgrounds and talent levels come together and create an amazing ensemble. 
I was a bit apprehensive about not doing a full show like Guys and Dolls which we did last semester.  It’s true, the teens usually like knowing the show in advance so they can dream up which character they want to audition for.   However, this semester we chose songs from a wide range of musicals and operas so we could offer more variety of styles, genres, and solos to out teens.  This can be a hit or miss because they do not typically recognize the pieces and this can deter some teens from returning or even joining our class.  Thankfully, we once again acquired some fun loving, hard working individuals. 
We started off with Sondheim’s “Weekend in the Country” from A Little Night Music which is extremely fast and extremely wordy.  And like most challenges, the teens love how tricky it is!
Next, we came at them with a surprising twist – “Cell Black Tango” from Chicago.  Yes, a risqué dance number to show our audiences that we are not just a stand-and-sing type of group.  As you can imagine, they love this number the best.  It allows them to be their rebellious selves on stage.  I incorporated the Fosse dance style which was a bit strange at first for the teens to grasp but they are now totally owning it!
The Finale to Act One of Into the Woods is the big animated group number that we wanted to show off if we are chosen to perform at the After School Matters’ City Wide performance.  Again, Sondheim offers up a mouthful of descriptive words in an up tempo piece that is just so much fun to perform.  They learned all the music and choreography in 3 classes! Astounding!!!

This is a diagram of movement formations that the students had to learn in "Into the Woods".   The teens love the choreography!  (Looks a bit like a football play)

We just recently introduced a beautiful ballad that has become our “anthem” for the semester – “Love me As I Am” from Side Show.  This is a musical about Siamese twins that are a part of a circus side show.  Along with their other fellow performers, they want to be accepted for their uniqueness, not shunned.  Isn’t this true for ALL teenagers?!
And last but not least, “Va Pensiero” from Verdi’s Nabucco.  Yep, they are singing in Italian again.  How could they not fall in love with the richness and the heart & soul of this piece?  Not gonna lie, it is a challenge for them with words they cannot understand and sounds they are not use to making.  Never the less, they really get into the musicality of it all.

All in all, these teens are soaking up all this knowledge like sponges!  We are only half way through our 10 weeks and we have accomplished so much already.  Mr. Richard and I have one more show stopping number to throw at them if they are up for it…

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Opera for All at Armstrong Elementary School

Sara Litchfield - COT Teaching Artist

Teaching Artist, Justin Callis and myself have had the privilege of working with two exceptional classes (Ms. Kolb’s 4th grade class and Mrs. Dayer’s 3rd grade class) at George B. Armstrong International Studies Elementary School.  For having started almost a month later than the other schools participating in OFA, we have been able to cover quite a bit of material with them to lay the groundwork for the creation of our spring operas.  


For our Winter Showcase, the students began by teaching their parents one of our favorite theater games, Zip Zap Zop.  We then performed the following jazz songs for our audience of students and parents: I’ve Got Rhythm by Gershwin, Moon River by Henry Mancini, It Don’t Mean A Thing and Take the A Train, both written by Duke Ellington.   Each song was introduced by a pair of students who were also asked to include an interesting fact about the piece or composer that they had researched on their own.   Justin and I even learned a few things from these informative introductions, in particular that Duke Ellington’s last words were, “Music is how I live, why I live and how I will be remembered.”  



In between songs, the students shared poems they had written in preparation for the songs we will be writing this semester.  We had poems ranging in topic from Duke Ellington, who was described as a “Swellington” to Justin Bieber, who tends to pop up a lot, much to my chagrin.  Justin Bieber aside, these students are always eager to participate, share and learn and very often approach Justin and I with really thoughtful questions or facts about jazz or opera that they have discovered on their own time. 



In one of our final classes, a young man asked me if he could use some free time to sketch set and costumes ideas in his opera journal and then explained how his mom recently bought him his very own opera journal so that he could start composing his own opera at home.  Talk about a, “cup runneth over” moment.  From the creativity and originality that I have already seen from these two classes, I could not be more excited to observe the opera creation that will unfold in the months ahead. 

Opera for All at Sabin


Michael Orlinsky - COT Teaching Artist             
               We have been having a wonderful time at Sabin this semester.  I started the semester in Mrs. Loerzel’s class assisting Bryna Berezowska.  The students were very energetic and excited.  We had been putting together some music to be performed with Chicago Opera Playhouse’s production of Hansel and Gretel and for our Winter Showcase.  There are many standouts in this class with good voices and an interest in performing.  Before I transferred to another class I had a conversation with one of the students about magic tricks.  He showed me some of the tricks that he could do, and I came back for the last class to show him some of the card tricks that I had learned when I was younger. 

                The field trip was a ton of fun as well!  We started the trip with a visit to the park, and we spent some time playing at the Lincoln Statue behind the museum while another school was finishing their introduction to the museum.  We received our introduction from the director of the tour.  I ended up leading the classes, and organizing the field trip so we could efficiently fulfill our goals for the day.  Much thanks to our parents and chaperones that lead some of the groups that day.  Once the day was organized we split up in to small groups and toured the museum.  We had lots of fun in the Jazz and Blues section, and especially so pretending to be a hot dog in the kids section of the museum.  We had also spent a good portion of time enjoying the train and the Chicago Fire exhibit.

                After the museum trip I moved over to Mr. Cerda’s class.  We started right in to our projects for the Winter Showcase.  There were a couple of different exercises we started for our Winter Showcase including the “Tableau”.  This was a series of physicalizations of a storyline in which we froze and formed a stage picture together of the moment.  We came up with a scenario together in which we fled the Chicago Fire.  We stopped for Chicago Dogs, but they were so hot we kept dropping them!  Then we all got on a boat and successfully fled from the Chicago Fire!  It was a very energetic portrayal of this story done at the Winter Showcase. 

                Following our tableau game we read the lyrics that we had come up with together that we will be using in our opera next semester.  Some of the students read the lyrics out loud for the showcase, and some of the kids even shared some of the character bios that they came up with for their roles in the opera.  After these exercises we sang through our Jazz song that we have been practicing in our classrooms “I Got Rhythm”.  In preparation for the holidays we had a sing-a-long of “Jingle Bells” as well.

                Our last class of the semester I came in and took over the classes for the students to do Evaluations.  We got through our evaluations, and moved on to some games.  I showed the kids some magic tricks and we played some games incorporating the cards.  We all seemed to be enjoying ourselves very much.  I’m very much looking forward to next semester when we start seriously delving in to the creation of this opera!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

COT for Teens a Hit at Solorio!

We could create an entire new blog about the wonderful first semester we had at Solorio Academy High School, but instead we think it sounds better coming from our very own Jennifer D'Agostino, Teaching Artist for both COT for Teens and Opera For All.  Enjoy her blog entry:

http://soloriocot4t.blogspot.com/2013/12/guys-dolls-solorio-academy.html

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ready for the Show

Jessica Weber, Education Assistant

Our COT for Teens are dressed and ready for their shows this weekend and next!  Through an amazing partnership with ASM's Hats, Headbands, and Beyond, our Hot Box Girls have an addition to their costumes that we could not be happier with.

Hot Box Girls from Gallery 37


All of the boys look so dapper in their suits.  We just cannot wait to see them perform!

COT for Teens with Andy Sons (center), music teacher at Solorio Academy HS

The Performances take place in two locations:

Fine Arts Building
COT for Teens at Gallery 37
410 S. Michigan Ave, Room 833
7pm on December 7th

Solorio Academy High School
5400 S. St. Louis Street
Chicago, IL 60632
7pm on December 13
1:30pm on December 14

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Video Blog from Solorio Teens

Jennifer D'Agostino, COT for Teens Stage Director

Aside from the excitement of being part of Chicago Opera Theater’s “Opera for All” program, I have the honor of stage directing the After-School Matters/Chicago Opera Theater for Teens program and Solorio Academy. It has been great fun to work with the teens at Solorio who many, if you read Michael Roemer’s blog post, are experiencing the world of opera and music theater for the first time. Together, Mr. Roemer, our school liaison Laura Vaca and I, work hard to figure out what will create the best experience for our teens. The program is 2 1/2 hours, three times a week, and we have many dedicated participants and a supportive staff! The best part of working with the teens is being able to tap into their skills and use their gifts to make the program as strong as possible. We are surrounded by fantastic young dancers, artists, actors, and writers! I can’t wait to see what next semester brings and how we will continue to grow.

Mr. Michael Roemer and I make sure to check in with the kids once and a while to see what they like best about the program. I’m happy to see that (without prompting) these teens mention so many positive aspects of working in the arts and arts integration! I hope you enjoy the mini video blog I put together highlighting some of our wonderful students!

Monday, November 11, 2013

New Program! COT for Teens at Solorio

Michael Roemer, COT for Teens Teaching Artist
 
My name is Michael Roemer, and I’m new to Chicagoland and Chicago Opera Theater for Teens. My collaborator, Dr. Jennifer D’Agostino and I are leading a new branch of COT for Teens at the Eric Solorio Academy High School. The school is new and fresh, but as the semester has progressed, new artwork and student activity has embellished the halls. We take our activities to the choir room where we’re putting together Guys and Dolls. Both Dr. D’Agostino and I are thrilled to help the Solorio students explore acting and singing!

Each day before we start our sessions, we usually wait outside the band and choir rooms. The sounds heard are certainly not similar to my high school band experience where most students had been playing their instruments since grade 5. No, here, some of these students are encountering these instruments for the very first time. As we selected our teens for the program, we found they were also encountering opera and musical theater for the very first time. We’re fortunate to have the support from Solorio’s choral instructor, Andrew Sons, and band instructor, Madeline Molinedo. They have provided us with great insight in the recruitment and interview process.

 


It has been a challenge and pleasure to work with these students who are afraid to make noise at times, but that doesn’t mean they lack enthusiasm. We have a few stand-out stars who show considerable dedication, talent, and energy even after a full day of school. One of the teachers, Leah Velez, leads a ballroom dance club, and we’re excited to collaborate with her for our “Havana” scene. In addition, we’re bringing Whitney Hershberger for a stage combat session in a couple weeks.

 
COT for Teens got to experience a rehearsal of Orpheus and Euridice

Another highlight of our program was the field trip to the Eckhart Park Natatorium for a dress rehearsal of Chicago Opera Theater’s production of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice. The students loved this trip, and only complained about not seeing the entire production! It was a great way to expose them to what opera can be in contrast to the stereotypes they may have floating around in their heads. One student commented on a particular scene being “so beautiful, I cried.” The students met with Jerry Tietz and Andreas Mitisek for an introduction and Q&A session after the dress rehearsal. 
Teens at the pool

 
We’re excited to see how the students progress towards the end of the semester and performance, and we can’t wait to see them put on a show for the first time!