Friday, May 6, 2016


Sara Litchfield, Opera for All Teaching Artist

Well it's the week after spring break and we are officially in the home stretch!  Our goal this past week has been to fine tune each of our individual performance elements, specifically our songs and dances, and then put all the pieces together with our blocking. Very often this means tediously working through transitions and trying to communicate to students who've never been on stage before how to emote and express their lines. Not an easy task! But it's truly impressive how much of their songs and dances our students remember, especially since we haven't practiced these for weeks while we focused on staging. 

We added some "choralography" or simple gestures to our songs and while a term like this often provokes the image of cheesy show choir jazz hands, adding movements to the music really helps with memorization and usually gives an extra boost of energy to their sound. The next step for our students is memorization because it's much easier to work on acting and expression without a script in your hand and in front of your face. As our class sessions begin to transition into dress rehearsals and consist primarily of running our operas, my hope is that our students will become more and more familiar with what comes next in their operas and all of these things we constantly nag them about like projecting and cheating out will become second nature.

Essentially, I feel like I've done my job when the students no longer need me to make it through their performance. Every year around this time I start to panic and think, "We only have HOW MANY classes before our performance? Will everything come together?" But every year like clockwork, it always does and the moment there is an audience present, suddenly these often quiet, hesitant students become young performers. A little healthy fear and adrenaline can go along way!

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