Utah Opera will give local elementary school students a chance to take the spotlight to perform original operas in a professional theatre. The twelfth annual Children's Opera Showcase will take place Wednesday, March 21 at 6:30 PM in the Jeanné Wagner Theatre located in the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center (138 West 300 South).
Participating classes will present an original opera created, produced and performed by students and their teachers with the assistance of a local composer provided by Utah Opera. Teachers attended a summer training program with Utah Opera to help guide them in the development of these year-long class projects. Now, the children will become the stars of the show, singing their own operas with their own sets and costumes.
The evening of March 21 will include three pint-sized operas: first, Mary Williams' kindergarten class from St. Vincent School will perform their opera titled "Rose's Garden." Local composer and school music specialist Scott Larrabee helped the children create their own melodies for this opera. Their story is about a Rose who decides to put down roots and weathers through winter certain that her garden will eventually grow.
The Showcase's second opera, which will begin at approximately 7:15 PM, comes from the second grade classes of Murray School District's Parkside Elementary School, under the direction of teacher Janet Anderson, with mentor composer help from Marc Madsen and Amber Masterson. Their opera, titled "The Lesson: Bullies to Friends," was created by the students to address the challenge of bullies at school. With the use of a little magic from pixie friends, bullies learn a lesson about how it feels to be picked on.
The final opera of the evening, beginning at approximately 8:10 PM, will star Kathy Travers' third grade class from Salt Lake City School District's Wasatch Elementary School, with musical help from composer David Naylor. The students who worked on this opera explored the idea of the rainbow throughout their curriculum: studies in poetry, dance, drama and science were involved in creating this opera. Their dance specialist, Jean Gardner, explained:
The finale dance was created by the dancers based on their study of colors. Each dancer chose a colored paint chip and then individually generated a web of words relating that color to the senses - how the color looks, sounds, smells, feels and tastes. Next, they explored possible movement and energy qualities of their color, and then collaborated with other students with the same color to write a color poem which they developed into a color dance. The finale dance begins with the idea of light passing through a prism-separating the light into the color spectrum. The "Rainbow Children" dance around and through the prism, then each color group dances its color poem, and they end the dance in a celebration rainbow.
In addition to these three operas featured in the official evening Showcase, Utah Opera is also taking the opportunity at Rose Wagner to allow the third grade classes at Salt Lake City School District's Bonneville Elementary to perform their "Gardens of the Mind Opera Extravaganza." Teacher Cindy Norton organized the projects with her team of 3rd grade teachers, and composer Masa Fukuda assisted. Their performance begins at 4:30 PM. The public is also invited to attend this event.
Utah Opera's summer teacher training and the Children's Opera Showcase have received financial assistance from the Art Works for Kids Foundation, the McCarthey Family Foundation, the Salt Lake City Arts Council and the member of the Salt Lake City Council.
Admission to this event is free, but seating is limited. The Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center is located at 138 West 300 South in Salt Lake City.
Press photos for this event are available by contacting Hilarie Ashton.