The Dallas Opera Education Program recently presented The Billy Goats Gruff at Trinity Christian Academy in Addison as part of its touring compone
nt. Almost five hundred students in grades Kindergarten through Fourth experienced the magic of opera at TCA’s Upper School Performing Arts Center and likely learned some valuable lessons.
The Billy Goats Gruff is an adaptation by John Davies of the popular folk tale based on scenes from operas by well-known composers W.A. Mozart, G. Donizetti and G. Rossini. It is performed in English and reinforces messages of anti-bullying, the importance of kindness and attending school regularly. Telling the story through the magic of opera with professionally trained talented, animated performers singing and acting, delightful music, costumes, a set and piano accompaniment captivates the children and holds their attention as important messages are conveyed through exciting, live entertainment.
The story centers on three friends, Lucy, Dandini, and Ernesto, who are bullied as they walk home from school. Lucy’s doll is stolen by the bully, Osmin, who also prevents the students from crossing a bridge to get home. The students work together to handle the situation and ultimately teach Osmin about the importance of kindness. At one point, toward the end of the opera, the three friends hold up chalk boards with the words “Kindness is Contagious.”
Rod Morris, Head of the Lower School at TCA learned of the production opportunity through one the school’s constituents who is a big opera fan. He said Mrs. Moore is both a current TCA grandparent and also the parent of two students he taught many years ago.
“I expect the program will be an ongoing part of our fine arts enrichment at TCA for years to come. Kids are already quoting the key message of ‘Kindness is contagious’ and the teachers are very positive about the opportunity to continue the conversation about bullying in a way that really makes sense to kids. (The opera) not only clearly presented the problem in an easily understood fashion but also gave them the solution. Everyone was completely impressed with the entire operation from beginning to end,” said Mr. Morris.
Mr. Morris has been with TCA for 38 years and Head of the Lower School for the past 32 years. He is retiring in July after decades of dedicated service.
The Dallas Opera’s Education Programs are part of The Perot Foundation Education and Community Outreach Programs and are generously supported by The Betty and Steve Suellentrop Educational Outreach Fund.
The Dallas Opera’s Family Programs series will present The Billy Goats Gruff at the Winspear Opera House on Saturday, April 11, 2015 at 2:00 p.m., with fun children’s activities beginning in the lobby at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 and available through its website www.dallasopera.org/family or by calling 214-443-1000. The Family Programs are presented by Texas Instruments, with additional support by Lockheed Martin and are also part of The Perot Foundation Education and Community Outreach Programs.
The opera was performed by four of the artists in The Dallas Opera’s Education Program: Christian Teague, baritone, (Osmin); Agostina Migoni, soprano, (Lucy); Laura Gastinel, mezzo-soprano, (Ernesto); and Christopher Leach, tenor, (Dandini). Keyboard accompaniment was by Mary Dibbern, Music Director of Education and Family Programs. The Touring Production Supervisor is Ryan Lescalleet, a Trinity Christian Academy alum. The Education Program Senior Manager is Kristian Roberts.
The Dallas Opera is committed to bringing quality arts educational programs to the students of North Texas. To maximize the learning opportunity for students, the programs include comprehensive teaching training and TEKS-aligned classroom materials covering language arts, math, music, social studies, visual arts and more! To book a touring show please contact Kristian Roberts at 214-443-1020 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Celeste Hart, Communications Manager, The Dallas Opera