CHICAGO OPERA THEATER’S OPERA FOR ALL CONCLUDES ITS 11th YEAR!
COT’s Educational Outreach Program in the Chicago Public Schools presents their final opera
performances of the 2010-11 School Year on May 10, 19, 24, June 2
CHICAGO, IL (April 28th, 2011)—Chicago Opera Theater’s (COT) Opera for All, an educational outreach program that brings opera to Chicago elementary students at four Chicago Public Schools (Lionel Hampton Fine & Performing Arts School, Dewitt Clinton Elementary, Reilly Elementary, and Calmeca Academy of Fine Arts & Dual Language), is concluding it’s 11th year with four fantastic 45-minute student performances, replete with acting, singing, dancing, and spectacular props! COT’s Opera For All works in conjunction with Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE).
This year’s curriculum began in the fall of 2010 and focused on the ideas of legacy and heritage – “who we are, where we come from, and what we will pass on” – through the lens of Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers, which was presented as part of Chicago Opera Theater’s 2011 Spring Festival Season and addressed similar themes. Over the course of the 2010-11 school year, participating students created a memorable opera entitled School Rules!
“I am very proud of the work done by Opera for All over the past eleven years,” said COT General Director Brian Dickie. “We believe the performing arts are essential to a well-rounded education; sharing opera with the children of Chicago in an interactive way is a vital aspect of Chicago Opera Theater’s mission.”
COT Education & Outreach Manager Linden Christ continued, “Our fourth and fifth graders loved the process of creating their own lyrics and composing their very own melodies. Several students from each class have even taken up the challenge of singing solos! They are excited to share their own opera creation with the public.”
As part of Chicago Opera Theater’s mission to make opera fresh, engaging, and accessible to the entire community, COT developed an educational outreach program in the spring of 2000. This outreach initiative, known as Opera for All, focuses on demystifying opera for kids through in-depth, participation based programs. COT brings opera to the schools and gives students a chance to experience it firsthand as both audience members and as performers. Working closely with classroom teachers in a year-long residency, six teaching artists from Opera for All and CAPE address the many elements of opera, leading the students in workshops focused on music composition, and writing creations. This curriculum has become a crucial supplement for elementary school students in the Chicago Public Schools and addresses specific Illinois Learning Standards while enhancing participation-based classroom activities with field trips and visits by members of COT’s Young Artists Program. Together, COT and CAPE are creating a cutting-edge model for music education that will have a profound effect on the lives of its participants and help sustain the art form for future generations.
This year, students created their own script with the help of Second City Writer, the late Mary Scruggs. The partnership at Reilly Elementary also offers group violin lessons for students who then serve as part of the Opera for All ensemble at the final performance.
Chicago Opera Theater’s Opera For All presents School Rules! on May 10th at 11 am in the Hampton Elementary School Auditorium, 3434 W. 77th St. Chicago, IL 60652; May 19th at 11am in the Clinton Elementary School Auditorium 6110 N. Fairfield Ave. Chicago, IL 60659; May 24th at 10am in the Calmeca Academy Auditorium 3456 W. 38th St. Chicago, IL 60632; June 2nd at 11:30 am in the Reilly Elementary School Auditorium 3650 W. School St. Chicago, IL 60618.
ABOUT CHICAGO OPERA THEATER
Founded in 1974 by Alan Stone, Chicago Opera Theater (COT) has carved a significant place for itself in the operatic life of Chicago and has reached an audience of hundreds of thousands through its mainstage performances, community engagement, education programs in Chicago Public Schools, as well as its renowned Young Artist Program.
Since Brian Dickie’s appointment as General Director in 1999, COT has evolved as an opera company that is young, fresh, and critically acclaimed. The Chicago Tribune says “Chicago Opera Theater is on a roll. The company’s splendid, adventuresome shows continue to prove that the spirit of operatic adventure is alive and well at the Harris Theater.” The Chicago Reader calls COT “Chicago’s most interesting opera company.”
(Republished courtesy of Chicago Opera Theater.)