Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Second Annual Festival of Classroom Operas

This Friday, Boston Lyric Opera hosts its second Music! Words! Opera! Festival of Classroom Operas at Wheelock Family Theatre. In this culminating, celebratory event, classrooms join theatre workshops, share their opera knowledge, and demonstrate selections from their original classroom operas.

So what is Music! Words! Opera! exactly? This interactive, multi-disciplinary curriculum from OPERA America is currently BLO’s principal youth program. It is designed by a team of opera professionals, composers, curriculum specialists and classroom teachers to bring opera right into school classrooms. 

The curriculum has two components: first, students are introduced to the world of opera, learning its language, history and structure while studying opera and music-theater masterpieces. For the second half of the curriculum, students work with their teachers and BLO teaching artists to create a libretto and music to produce and perform their very own opera. M!W!O! reflects the highly interdisciplinary nature of opera as it uses the art form to aid students and teachers in their explorations of history, language, literature and music. Furthermore, with the Create Your Own component, M!W!O! also encourages students to find new creative means of self-expression.

During the summer, BLO offers a free one-week-long Teacher Training Workshop (PDP’s available) to any educator who is interested in bringing the arts into their classrooms. The workshop is led by skilled facilitators from OPERA America who provide all the tools and resources educators need, not only to teach students about opera, but also to guide them through the creative process of writing an original music-theater work. While learning invaluable classroom arts education skills and earning professional development points, teachers also create and perform their own original opera at the end of the summer workshop.

Classrooms participating in M!W!O! also receive many other opera enrichment opportunities with BLO. This past year, participating classrooms were invited to visit a rehearsal of BLO productions of Madama Butterfly and The Flying Dutchman. Nearly 250 students came to the Shubert Theatre and experienced a full-length professional opera production.

In the spring, BLO also arranges Classroom Visits by teaching artists for participating classrooms. During these visits, a BLO singer and pianist demonstrate live opera performances but also talk about their personal experience, sharing the details of life as a performer of opera. Students also have the opportunity to share their works-in-progress and receive professional feedback as they prepare to perform their own original works at the M!W!O! Festival in May.

As BLO wraps up the year with the M!W!O! Festival as its grand finale, it is also preparing to greet new teachers and participants for the 2013/14 season. Registration for the free summer workshop is now open! (Click HERE to register) You can also watch and listen for more about this exciting opportunity by viewing these videos: Introduction to M!W!O! and Teacher's Workshop Performance.

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