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.
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.