Opera initiative opens up primary classrooms

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Published: 16th May, 2018

A trip to the opera is a treat that’s not always equally available to young schoolchildren. Until now, that is. What’s more, this new Victorian Opera initiative will surely be welcomed by teachers, freeing many of them from the less enjoyable aspects of a big excursion, like money to collect, keeping control of the children walking in a crocodile, bathroom visits before leaving – and all those shoe-laces to tie!

How will they do it? Simple. Live streaming is the answer.  Launching on Friday 18 May, students and teachers will join the company for a series of four forty-five-minute interactive live-streamed workshops surrounding Victorian Opera’s production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. The program culminates in students watching the production live at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Playhouse on 7 and 8 June or streamed direct to their classroom; dependent on their proximity to the venue.

Access All Areas: Hansel and Gretel Livestream Program is Victorian Opera’s new digital Education series which will give Primary school students from all corners of Victoria unparalleled access to the vibrant world of opera.  From the rehearsal room to orchestra preparations and behind the scenes before the curtain goes up, students will be comprehensively guided through every aspect of bringing an opera to the stage.

Hosted by music educator Angus Grant, students will learn about: what makes opera unique; hear the difference between various voice types; gain a deeper understanding of Hansel and Gretelby getting to know the characters, director and creative team; identify various musical instruments that make up an orchestra and witness how a set is constructed on stage.

Access All Areas: Hansel and Gretel Livestream Program is supported by curriculum-aligned classroom resources and activities. Each workshop will also be available on-demand, thanks to funding from the Victorian Government Department of Education and Training through the Strategic Partnerships Program.

Victorian Opera is no stranger to the concept of live streaming. Access All Areas: Hansel and Gretel Livestream Program marks Victorian Opera’s fifth streamed project in the past two years. It follows on from Three Talesin October 2017, where viewers previewed three new works currently in development; a free and on-demand concert of Bellini’s La Sonnambula via online performance database OperaVision; exclusive subscriber concert The Darkest Night; and the company’s Season 2017 launch.

Elizabeth Hill, the director of Hansel and Gretel and Victorian Opera’s Executive Producer and Artistic Associate, says: “Victorian Opera has explored the possibilities of live streaming across many years and now embarks on our biggest and most ambitious project yet. Access All Areas: Hansel and Gretel Livestream Program gives students from across Victoria an opportunity to build their awareness and understanding of opera; learning about what makes it unique and what makes it wonderful.

“Victorian Opera is proud to expand our Education Program in such an exciting way. Music and performance bring so much joy and we’re thrilled to share an in-depth look at our work with primary school students from across the state.”

Classic Melbourne agrees. We actually think it’s worth the time for all those excursion arrangements if your kids are among the group to see the program first-hand. But the Livestream Program brings the joy of opera within so many more children’s reach. You’ve got to love that!

 Information supplied to Classic Melbourne by Opera Victoria. 

Further information about Access All Areas: Hansel and Gretel Livestream Program