Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Winter Scenes Performance

Laura Koroski, Education Intern at Chicago Opera Theater

As the Education Intern, most of my work is behind-the-scenes. I have a number of times gotten into the three schools that host the Opera For All program, to observe and help in the classroom, on field trips, and with the Cinderhood performances. But as COT for Teens is a much smaller program that operates on a simpler platform, there's been no reason for me to be a support system.

So it wasn't until their Winter Scenes performance on November 30 at the Museum of Contemporary Art that I got to see what they'd been up to all fall. And they have achieved quite a lot. From being a bunch of teens brought together from all over the city, they've become one group, in social interactions as well as in performance. Though I don't have previous standards to compare to, I can only imagine the progress they've made in their singing and acting.

Their first piece, from Luisa Miller, proved that they weren't intimidated by foreign languages, even the complexities of singing in Italian. The Bell Chorus from Pagliacci was a sweet piece with wonderfully staged and executed crowd choreography. The girls performed a very amusing rendition of "It Can't be Possible" from Donizetti's Elixir of Love, and the boys followed with "Women, Women, Women" from The Merry Widow.

There were three songs from South Pacific, in preparation for the students' spring production. "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair" was belted out with much sass, and followed by "There is Nothing Like a Dame," much to the amusement of the audience. The performance finished with a choral version of "Some Enchanted Evening," sung with such feeling that you had to have a heart of stone not to be moved by it. It was a fantastic performance, brilliantly directed by Chris Richard and Marta Johnson. I'm excited for what the students will give us in April with the full production of South Pacific!

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