At schools in North Gloucestershire, North Oxfordshire and South Warwickshire, over 350 students enjoyed workshops about three different operas, and work experience both on stage and behind the scenes.
“After the explosion of energy and talent from the Longborough team, my students are now raring for their next operatic adventure” – Director of Music, Chipping Campden School
“The children were transformed during the day, they loved every moment and their singing amazed us all” – Co-Headteacher, Great Rollright CE Primary School
“Having the opera on our doorstep is great and we are thrilled that they have opened their doors to the local opportunity” – Headteacher, Longborough CofE Primary School
300 students attended the dress rehearsal of The Magic Flute. The opera’s director, Thomas Guthrie, gave a rousing welcome to them all – and all but one school stayed for the entire three-hour opera.
Seven students were chosen to participate in the actual performances of The Magic Flute: three choristers from London took the part of the Spirits, and four local schoolchildren became part of the chorus. They were auditioned and coached by the Education team, and their full commitment to on-site rehearsals and all performances was required.
One school was invited to the Fidelio dress rehearsal, including a talk from director Orpha Phelan beforehand. Positioned as ‘Breaking Bad meets Beethoven’, the production was a great introduction for the older students.
ORFEO ED EURIDICE
Orfeo ed Euridice was Longborough’s 2017 Young Artist production. Longborough’s Education team invited a 16-year-old student keen on a stage management career, from Shottery grammar, to shadow the Director Maria Jagusz on site. This production took place during the summer holidays, but 19 local school students still managed to attend the dress rehearsal with their parents.
WELCOMBE HILLS SPECIAL NEEDS SCHOOL
This year the Education team was invited to Welcombe Hills Special Needs School, where sixth formers were introduced to The Magic Flute. As a group they had a wide variety of needs, and through close collaboration with the staff at the planning stage the workshop was adapted to involve all students. Their acting and improvisation skills were exceptional and they were utterly mesmerised by the entire performance.
“it was so relaxing and so mindfulness, I was drifted into the most powerful song ever. It was so beautiful I ever experience before” - Ryan, aged 18
What's opera? workshop
This introductory What's Opera? workshop was developed in response to schools requesting a more general guide to opera for younger children. The first workshop was piloted to 30 pupils aged 4/5, weaving movement, mime and music together and culminating in a performance of the Toreador chorus and scene from Bizet’s Carmen, led by a hugely powerful baritone.
the magic flute - workshops
Three opera singers and a pianist spent a day in each of the schools telling the story, introducing the characters, performing and teaching some of the arias and choruses. During the workshop they reassembled the opera, adding costumes and props, finally performing it at the end of the day to more pupils from the school, together with their parents.
The purpose of this inclusive workshop is to familiarise the students with the music and plot of the opera, preparing them for their visit to the live performance at Longborough Festival Opera.
This year, at Great Rollright school the visit coincided with an Ofsted Inspection:
“Pupils also benefit from the additional experiences you (the school) provide which successfully develop their creative and team-working skills. On the day of the inspection, Year 6 pupils were working with an opera company to create their own versions of Mozart’s opera ‘The Magic Flute’. Despite this kind of music being unfamiliar to most of them, the pupils responded rapturously to their new musical experience and dedicated themselves fully to the project."