Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bringing New Opera to Schools - The INside Opera Real Time Project

Over the past week I've been at Tapestry New Opera Works in rehearsal for Opera Briefs (more in a few days). But a fascinating project that Tapestry recently launched this summer is worth a mention here: the INside Opera Real Time Project, an initiative to bring contemporary opera to inner-city schools, with the remarkable process of having students both create and participate in the final product. Amber Ebert, Outreach and Education Director at Tapestry, sends along the following information on the program's pilot project at City Hope in St. Jamestown:
From July 27 to Aug 7 2009, Tapestry new opera works delivered the INside Opera- Real Time Project for 23 children from the City Hope summer program is St. Jamestown neighbourhood in Toronto. INside Opera is a youth arts education programme in which a professional librettist and composer work with children to help them create and perform an original short opera. This year, led by Librettist Dave Deveau and Composer Glenn James and Tapestry’s Outreach & Education Director Amber Ebert, the children begin to brainstorm on the topic of communication. The children were led through discussions about the different issues, methods and styles of modern communication and asked the youth to evaluate how they communicate with their own friends and family.

From the initial brainstorming session, the youth worked together to develop Communication Investigation or The Day the Earth Lost Service, an original 10min opera about what would happen if all of worlds satellites disappeared. Throughout the 27 hour programme the youth where fully involved in the process of collaboratively creating the libretto (script), score, staging and performance of this new opera. The final performance of the pieces was held for family and friends at the Cabbagetown Youth Council studio.

The support of the Telus Community Board Foundation allowed us to engage Juan Baquaro, a professional documentary film artist to capture the 2 week creation process. It is our goal to create video and photo documentation of the children’s experience from the initial seminar through the creation process to the final performance. We also engaged 3 City Hope youth leaders to help in this documentation process. The 3 youth participants worked with the Juan over the 2 week programme to learn how to create a short documentary film about their own community and the impact of the INside Opera programme on their peers.
The video below is a trailer for an upcoming documentary on the project:

If you're interested in more of what Tapestry is up to these days, be sure to join their mailing list or check out their blog.

(Thanks, Amber!)

1 comment:

  1. Kate Mayer4:12 PM

    I recently saw an amazing performance by the Lithuanian Pianist, Rudolph Budginas. He is currently touring the US, and is playing at many local high schools to bring musical awareness and interest to the students. He incorporates his classical training, his own jazz arrangements and sense of humor to connect with the audience. To see video clips and a complete tour schedule for interested readers, you can go to