Kids get to master opera thanks to Leeds teacher’s fund

Opera North will be hosting a special matinee performance of Donizetti's comic opera L'elisir d'amore at Leeds Grand Theatre for local schoolchildren who might not otherwise get the chance to experience live opera at first hand. This one-off special performance follows on from the success of The Bartered Bride school matinee held in 2014. Picture: Tom Arber
Opera North will be hosting a special matinee performance of Donizetti's comic opera L'elisir d'amore at Leeds Grand Theatre for local schoolchildren who might not otherwise get the chance to experience live opera at first hand. This one-off special performance follows on from the success of The Bartered Bride school matinee held in 2014. Picture: Tom Arber
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LEEDS school children will get the chance to work with professional singers to devise their own opera thanks to the arts fund set up to remember murdered teacher Ann Maguire.

Opera North has been given £10,000 from the Ann Maguire Arts Education Fund to run workshops at New Bewerley and Cookridge Holy Trinity primary schools, and at Rodillian Academy and Wetherby High School, which will culminate in a performance at the city’s Howard Assembly Rooms.

The workshops, based on the company’s winter production of Donizetti’s comic opera L’elisir d’amore, will see youngsters work with experienced actors to explore the music, characters and plot before devising their own operatic scenes.

The sessions will include a trip to Leeds Grand Theatre in February to see a special performance of the opera for 700 schoolchildren.

Sung in Italian, L’elisir d’amore tells the tale of Nemornio, and his love for the confident and self-assured Adina. The 1950s-style production features Vespas, a hot-air balloon and is the “perfect introduction” to opera. The show follows a similar event last year of The Bartered Bride.

Opera North education director, Jacqui Cameron said: “It was fascinating to watch the children’s responses as they were far less inhibited than the adults - booing the villains, cheering the heroes and giggling at the romantic parts.”

Graham Pearce of KPMG

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