By Emily Murdock
“How thrilling it was to watch Central City Opera and to see and hear the engagement and exicitement in our kids and staff. I can’t imagine a better way to bring live music back into our school and communities!”
- Angela Howard, music teacher, Independence Elementary, Aurora, CO.
Independence Elementary students and teachers cheered enthusiastically for Central City Opera Touring Artists after a performance of Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World. The singers reacted to the audience, bringing an energy that is electrifying. This performance was the first time this new addition to CCO’s Education repertoire was in front of a school audience. Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World tells the true story of a young Mexican girl overcoming her fears and befriending the famous painter.
Colorado’s Hispanic/Latinx community makes up 21 percent of the state’s population, and that number is even higher in the Denver metro area. This production, created and performed by a diverse group of people, including Hispanic/Latinx artists, gives kids a chance to see themselves reflected on stage shows that they too can find a place in the performing arts. Students of all backgrounds have had passionate responses to the new production which has been affirming and incredibly meaningful to everyone involved.
“I loved the opera…I like how loud their singing was!”
- a third grader from Independence Elementary, Aurora, CO.
Another in-person school program debuted by Central City Opera this year was “Shakespeare into Music: Romeo and Juliet.” Students learned how composers, librettists and lyricists transformed the play into opera and musical theater by watching live excerpts from Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette, Bernstein’s West Side Story and Bellini’s I Capuleti e I Montecchi. CCO’s Touring Artists performed the program for two Denver middle schools and the nearly 700 students were rowdy and rambunctious—but totally engaged.
After two years of primarily digital programming, Central City Opera’s Education & Community Engagement artists are thrilled to be back in schools and community venues, giving children and families the chance to experience the magic and wonder of opera – sometimes for the first time. Young audiences respond to live performance honestly, purely and immediately. If kids react to opera in a positive way, the performers know they’ve hit a home run. ¡Viva la opera!
To learn more about our Education and Community Engagement, go to centralcityopera.org/education.