Opera With Class
Program Premiere: April 2016
Casual, Come as you Are
As part of its continuing Opera with Class outreach program, Opera Las Vegas is poised to offer Clark County Schools our annual Informance (information + performance) tour. Young professional singers will perform selections from opera, operetta and musical theatre. The Informance is designed to educate students in lyric theatre performance traditions, acquaint them with famous arias and duets, and to make the operatic art form accessible, with presentations in a style relevant to modern life.
Who's Afraid of Opera?
No one! At least not after experiencing OLV’s 30-minute introduction to opera’s rich and varied history, an art form that combines music, comedy, drama, dance, instrumental accompaniment, technical theatre arts, and most significantly, unamplified singing.
Who’s Afraid of Opera? is an instructional and entertaining Informance (Information + Performance), that teaches youth about opera, and demystifies how to appreciate the beauty of operatic singing in its many manifestations.
Two young professional singers perform selections from opera, operetta and musical theatre. The Informance is designed to educate students in lyric theatre performance traditions, acquaint them with famous arias and duets, and to make the opera performances accessible, with presentations in a style relevant to modern life.
Since the vast majority of students will be experiencing opera for the first time, a narrator explains the musical journey, which includes songs in English translation, as well as a classic aria in the original Italian “just for fun” - Quando m’en vo (Musetta’s Waltz Song) from Puccini’s masterpiece La Bohème.
Participants also learn about crossover talents, with these trained opera singers performing selections from classically inspired Broadway shows. The concise, fast-paced presentation is followed by a lively Q&A session with the artists, including many astute observations. Our favorite question to date was when one fourth grader asked: “How do you do the yelling?”
OLV “yells it” proudly, that we have reached over 20,000 students since the first schools tour in 2016. Plans for spring 2022, including virtual learning, are currently being coordinated.
Since many students likely will be experiencing opera for the first time, Jim Sohre, OLV General Director, will narrate and accompany a program that will include songs in English translation, as well as a classic aria in the original Italian - Quando m’en vo (Musetta’s Waltz Song) from Puccini’s masterpiece La Boheme. Students will be taught how to appreciate the emotion and beauty of the original text – and the use of projected Surtitles in today’s performance customs.
Two arias from Verdi’s Rigoletto will be sung in English, and will be explored to learn how they establish and develop the musical personalities of the characters of the nefarious Duke and the innocent maiden Gilda. Although opera was born in Italy, the French and Germans also soon claimed the compositional technique and will be represented by a sweet romantic duet from Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment and a flirtatious solo (My Dear Marquis) from Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus (The Bat).
Participants will learn about crossover talents, with trained opera singers performing On the Street Where You Live from the classically inspired Broadway show, My Fair Lady and Lonely House from a real hybrid classical-pop score, Kurt Weill’s Street Scene.
To introduce attendees to the composer Gioacchino Rossini, a duo will perform the charming Cat Duet, with its repeated “Meows” and a gentle send-up of operatic style.
The Informance will conclude with a rousing Addio (Farewell, then) from Rigoletto followed by a Q&A. Who’s Afraid of Opera? has a 35-45 minute running time, depending upon the length of the Q&A.