National Opera Week, organized by OPERA America and the NEA, continues through November 22. In honor of this inaugural event, Glimmerglass Opera worked with second graders in the area to create opera quilts that are hanging in nearby grocery stores.
June Dzialo, Marketing & Public Relations Manager, and I joined second grade classes at Cooperstown, Richfield Springs and Milford Central Schools and The Brookwood School to give a multi-media presentation of opera. We started by asking the children their definitions of opera, and we got some great answers and even demonstrations.
“Opera is when they sing really loud.”
“They sing on stage.”
“People sing really high in opera.”
“Don’t they wear those hats with horns?”
We continued by showing (very short) video clips of The Consul, La Traviata and La Cenerentola. Could the students tell what is going on? “She’s happy,” they said of Mary Dunleavy’s “Sempre Libera.” “The mean sisters don’t want Cinderella to go to the ball,” they said of La Cenerentola. We showed pictures of the process of building scenery and costumes, and we showed a video of a changeover. We were really impressed that, for the most part, the students were engaged throughout the entire presentation. By the end, the children were able to list what it takes to create an opera.
After the presentation, the students drew their impressions of opera on pieces of fabric we provided. We saw pictures of singers on stage, conductors, orchestra members, the building of scenery, and one student even said he illustrated his own opera – about aliens. Creativity abounded. June and I took these fabric pieces and combined them into opera quilts, which are now hanging in groceries stores in the area. Here are some pictures: