FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CHICAGO OPERA THEATER’S OPERA FOR ALL
CONCLUDES ITS 10th YEAR!
Final Performances at
Von Humboldt Elementary School, Reilly Elementary
and Hampton Elementary
CHICAGO, IL (May 19, 2010)—Chicago Opera Theater’s (COT) Opera for All, concluding its 10th year, is an educational outreach program that works with Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE) to bring opera to Chicagoelementary students at five Chicago Public Schools: Clinton Elementary, Hampton Elementary, McKinley Park, Reilly Elementary and Von Humboldt.
This year’s curriculum began in the fall of 2009 concentrating on the ancient myth of “Jason and the Argonauts” and Cavalli’s Jason (Giasone), which was presented as part of Chicago Opera Theater’s 2010 Spring Festival Season. Students are currently performing their operatic adaptation titled: Cavalli’s Giasone: Jason and the Golden Fleece.
This year, 330 participating students have created an original performance by taking inspiration from the opera Jason, while also looking to the original mythological sources. In studying these stories the students explored the hero’s journey from the power of the gods to mapping the physical journey itself.
“I am very proud of the impact that we have made with Opera for All over the past ten years,” said COT General Director Brian Dickie. “Not only is arts education an important part of Chicago Opera Theater’s mission to bring opera to the next generation, but we also feel that it is crucial to a child’s well-rounded development.”
COT Education & Outreach Manager Linden Christ continued, “This year the students have collaborated with teaching artists to create an opera that is a unique take on classic mythology. They’ve come up with their own twist on gods and mortals that includes a panel of gods and goddesses debating about the fates of love versus war and incorporates audience participation.”
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, infuses it into student’s everyday lives, and gives them a chance to experience it firsthand as both audience members and as performers. Working closely with classroom teachers, teaching artists from Opera for All incorporate the many elements of opera allowing students to collaborate and make their very own opera. This curriculum has become a crucial supplement for elementary school students in the Chicago Public Schools and addresses specific Illinois Learning Standards while supplementing participation-based classroom activities with field trips and visits by members of COT’s Young Artists Program. At the end of the year, students perform an abridged version of an opera for classmates and family members. 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.
Beginning in the 2008-09 school year Opera for All partnered with CAPE to create an informational website for teachers, students, and donors. This year the partnership was increased and CAPE artists joined COT teaching artists to create a more in-depth and behind-the-scenes experience! CAPE artists worked with the students to focus on all the elements of opera including: composition, staging, props, set design and videography.
The final performances this year will be as follows: Von Humboldt Elementary School, 2620 West Hirsch Street, on May 25th at 9:30am & 11:30am; Reilly Elementary, 3650 West School Street, on June 2nd 9:30am & 11:30am; and Hampton Elementary, 3434 West 77th Street, June 9th at 10:30am and 11:30am.
ABOUT CHICAGO OPERA THEATER
Founded in 1974 by Alan Stone, Chicago Opera Theater has carved a significant place for itself in the operatic life of Chicago and has reached an audience of hundreds of thousands through its main stage performances, outreach, education and young artist programs.
Since Brian Dickie’s appointment as General Director in 1999, COT has evolved as an opera company that is young, fresh, and colorful – an image well suited to its surroundings at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park.
For more information visit ChicagoOperaTheater.org or call 312.704.8414.