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“An opera is a story and all of the words are sung.”
Preschoolers learn holistically, using all of their senses. The art form of opera combines story, drama, singing and moving to music, and the visual elements of scenery and props. Could classical operas, with the brilliant music of Mozart, Rossini, Bizet or Gilbert & Sullivan be adapted in an age-appropriate way to engage young children while helping them develop skills needed for Kindergarten?
Each year, Toledo Opera brings to town An Opera Is a Story creator and master teaching artist Christina Farrell. She and Toledo-based teaching artist Ebone Waweru lead a series of four sequential workshops in preschool classrooms where students learn to sing the ‘opera is a story… “refrain, warm up vocally, and embody a story through engaging musical, dramatic and movement experiences. This year, in the adapted version of The Pirates of Penzance, children discover that the Pirate King’s favorite treasure is the alphabet! The Major General also loves words and letters. Will they be safe from the Pirate King?
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Reflections from TPS Head Start teachers after An Opera Is a Story: Hansel and Gretel
“I just love their [students’] little imaginations…… I think that’s why they love the opera, they got to imagine it and be a part of it. They really wanted to be a part of it.”
“Children were singing the songs when we were walking, transitioning, at recess, and in the hallway going to the gym.”
“Music really does work with them – it’s a different way of talking to them in their everyday lives.”
“Loved how they could remember it and they had to sing and do the movements at the same time.”