About Our Show
Opera the Great! combines music excerpts and plots from classic operas in an interactive, fun show designed to appeal to elementary-aged children. The five singers appear to be improvising the story as they go along, pulling hats and other props out of a big chest and accompanied by a one-woman “orchestra.”
The story hinges on the plight of the Soprano and Tenor, young lovers who are hopelessly smitten but can't get married without the approval of her reluctant Papa. The basso Villain offers to help them with a magic potion—if they can afford the price. Carmen, the mezzo, arrives to distract all the men, and the baritone Buffo provides comic relief.
The show includes a brief history of opera and its various vocal parts and languages. Audience members learn valuable skills like an opera handshake and a villainous laugh. One boy is chosen to play Papa and one girl to play the maid who saves the day, and several children come onstage to help the villain mix his potion. At the end, there’s time for a Q&A with the performers.
Students have lots of fun—but the benefits go deeper, too. They experience the beauty of live classical music, often for the first time. And studies show that music participation helps children excel academically.
See some excerpts from Opera the Great! while our performers describe the benefits of opera in this video created by WSU-Vancouver media students.
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