Connecting kids with the Magic of Opera
This year and throughout 2019, Proper Opera, as part of the Rossini 150 celebrations, in an international collaboration with the Associazione Musicale Tito Gobbi in Italy, the Silesian Opera Opava in the Czech Republic and the Eesti Kontsert Society in Estonia, are embarking on a interactive and engaging education project based on Rossini’s opera Il Turco in Italia.
La Magia Dell'Opera © has been introducing children to the wonder of opera for 15 years. Developed by Cecilia Gobbi and the Associazione Musicale Tito Gobbi, this is the first time their work will be performed outside of Italy. We are enormously privileged to work with such experienced partners to bring a project of exceptional quality to children in Croydon and Kent.
Sounds great! What's the plan?
Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia (A Turk in Italy) is the perfect introduction to opera for children: it has fabulous music and a comic love story in which only those who are honest are rewarded. It's a sparkling and witty opera, striking on a number of very contemporary themes including cross-cultural integration, and the role of creativity. We will offer an immersive experience incorporating many aspects of the music syllabus and across the wider curriculum. This will include: learning about the opera, its music, social & historical context and the characters; exploring stagecraft; learning selections from the opera and performing alongside professional singers; and learning about the backstage elements of theatre.
Each school will have weekly workshops to explore the show and learn elements of it. This will be followed by a live performance of the opera (reduced to 75 mins) in which they will participate and interact with the performers including singing several of the numbers from the show.
Who is going to lead it?
Led by director Fiona Williams, conductor Andrea Tarantino and producer Janet Fischer, our team have worked with the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, British Youth Opera, Opera Holland Park, Opera de Liege, the Etna Opera Festival, The BBC, Manchester International Festival and Opera North amongst others. We are working with Croydon Music and Arts and the Griffin Schools Trust, and all of our workshop leaders are experienced animateurs who have worked in schools across London and the UK.
How can I help?
We want the kids to have the best possible experience, and this means we need to provide them with additional resources and fantastic workshop leaders.
Your support will mean that each class of children will have the resources they need to get the most out of the project. We will put the money towards paying our workshop leaders a living wage and developing school resource packs to give the pupils and their classroom teachers additional activities to explore, and connections into the National Curriculum. They will be encouraged to think about opera as a complete art-form and will be guided in learning about the social, economic and political contexts of Rossini and Il Turco in Italia.
Our stretch goal will help us to create learning videos to strip away the barriers for children who have no previous musical experience, or whose families are not engaged in their learning. Those children who take longer to learn will be able to practice at home, and their parents will be better equipped to assist them.
Why do you need me?
Opera is the sum of all of the arts, and that means putting on excellent shows comes at a cost. We think ALL kids deserve to have access to excellent art, and so we don't have expensive participation fees that would exclude people who live in deprived areas. We even subsidise tickets for their parents and guardians so that they can share their joy with their families.
It's important to us that our artists and workshop leaders are paid a fair wage too. The starving-artist ideal might seem romantic, but in reality it doesn't produce great art.
Using opera as the vehicle with which to engage, develop, and include children, young people and the socially excluded, is something that we passionately believe in. We want to show that it is not an exclusive or elitist art form, but rather the culmination of all of the performing arts: something for everyone.