Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Opera For All Takes a Trip to the Opera House!

Sara Litchfield, Opera for All Teaching Artist

After an exciting and hectic first two weeks of Opera for All, I am starting to slowly watch the unique personalities of each class emerge. At this stage in the process, I think it's so important for us as teaching artist to establish a safe environment within our class time so that students can feel comfortable taking risks and expressing themselves creatively.  Our first class period was primarily focused on introducing ourselves, the program and what the students will be creating over the course of the year.  We also had an opportunity to perform for them.  I encouraged my students to think about how I communicated my emotions and they observed that much can be expressed through facial expressions and movement.  

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Our second class session was spent prepping the students for their field trip to the Harris Theater to see Act I of Mozart's Lucio Silla.  We talked about what we might hear and see at the opera like an orchestra, arias, an overture, ensembles, sets and costumes. For many this trip was their first experience in a theater!  I was truly impressed with what a great audience all of our students were and what thoughtful observations they had to share after the performance.  My co-teacher, Matt McNabb, brought in a couple of scenes from the opera translated into English and asked for brave volunteers to read these scenes in front of the class. This was such a beneficial activity to first introduce the students to reading scripts and second, as an opportunity for their peers to see which performances best communicated the content of each scene. Already some stars are beginning to emerge! I constantly think to myself as I watch our students experience Opera for All, "Man, I wish I would've had access to something like this when I was their age!"  I am really looking forward to working with these awesome kids and am even more excited to see how they continue to grow through the program.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Back to School!

Daniel Grambow, Education Assistant for Chicago Opera Theater

We're Back!!! Opera for All is proud to announce the return of all our sensational students and teachers for our new 2015-2016 productions. We are excited to announce our new theme for the year; Chicago: Once Upon a Windy City. We are welcoming back Chase Elementary School, Reilly Elementary School, McAuliffe Elementary School, Disney II Magnet School and Eugene Field Elementary School! We are also thrilled to welcome our NEW school, Healy Elementary School, to our Opera for All family and look forward to making this year a phenomenal beginning to our relationship with them and the Bridgeport community.

We already are back in the classroom this week and are starting to get our students ready to see Chicago Opera Theater's production of Lucio Silla by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. We invited over 600 Opera for All students to the Harris Theater along with parents, teachers, CPS staff and our industry community partners. We are thrilled that our students are going to have a chance to see this opera and cannot wait to hear how they enjoyed it! Here is a teaser from inside the rehearsal room. I hope to see you all there!