Opera For All
One of Chicago Opera Theater's foremost missions is to introduce opera to young people who would otherwise not have the means or opportunity for exposure to opera or the cultural arts in general.
To achieve that end, the Opera For All program brings Teaching Artists into seven Chicago Public Elementary Schools/Centers to educate students about classical music, singing, and opera. Opera For All allows kids to understand the art by participating in it, both in production and in performance.
2012 Final Performance
Opera For All 2012
Each year, students in Opera for All participate in a 30 week program with the end goal of creating their very own unique opera. COT's team of teaching artists pair up and work with each school to develop their knowledge of opera and the performing arts. Guest artists are invited in to help with the lyrics, composition, set and costume design, and choreography of the opera. In the spring, students in the OFA program perform their opera for their parents and peers.
Chicago Opera Theater Performance
In fall 2012, many of the students were able to attend Chicago Opera Theater’s dress rehearsal of The Magic Flute. This performance was then used as the jumping off point for the space theme of the operas each school is writing. Since COT’s The Magic Flute was set in space, our students were able to see first-hand an example of the fantasy themes we wanted them to explore.
Chicago Opera Playhouse
Chicago Opera Play House, founded by Manager of Education Linden Christ, brought the musical, Knightly News, featuring the OFA Teaching Artists, to perform at each CPS partner school. Observing their own Teaching Artists in the production allowed the opera for all students to have a personal connection to the show, which they really enjoyed. Seeing and performing in a musical gave the students a real idea of what they are working towards their own performance in June.
To help students continue to work on their space-themed opera scores, each class took a field trip to the Adler Planetarium. Their Teaching Artists went with them to guide their thinking and everyone was able to see the show Deep Space Adventure: The Searcher. This show combined fantasy, reality, and music into an hour long adventure that the students loved and helped establish their class opera theme even further.
Classical Kids Live- Mozart Week
A collaboration between Chicago Opera Theater, Classical Kids Live, and the Oistrach Orchestra, Mozart Week has been to two of our Opera for All schools and there are plans for the others. Mozart week is a week long program that starts with an assembly to introduce the characters of Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage (a Classical Kids Live production) and ends with the entire school watching the Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage production with the Oistrach Orchestra. During the week guest teachers go into each classroom and help the students understand more in depth who Mozart was and his life as a musician.
"The classes have been going very well. The 2nd and 3rd graders really did not want me to leave. And one of the teachers asked for some of the Classical Kids lessons plans because her students wanted to learn more about Mozart. When I showed the students the music composed by Beethoven they were literally in shock as the entire class thought that he was a fictional person. One student was insightful in saying that she couldn't comprehend how Mozart could die in poverty when he inspired so many people of the future. A 2nd grader, Amy, sang part of the Queen of the Night aria for her class. And then two boys tried to top her!"
- Linden Christ, Manager of Education and Outreach for Chicago Opera Theater