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A high note at Oaklawn

January 31, 2008

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    January 31, 2008
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    Opera Carolina News

A high note at Oaklawn

Although students at Oaklawn Language Academy have been studying Opera Carolina's production of "Aida" for months, they still had questions Jan. 29 for the producer, conductor and cast members.

"How are the costumes made?"

"How does the conductor communicate to the musicians?"

"How many people are in the opera?"

"What happens if someone makes a mistake?"

The guests visited the school to discuss what goes on behind the scenes of the opera. They talked about the meaning of the opera, how costumes are made and what it takes to direct the cast and orchestra. The students enjoyed the discussion, clapping, laughing and shouting "Bravo!" at the conclusion.

"This is a real-world experience for our students," said Oaklawn Principal Patricia Garcia. "It is important for them to learn how the opera works and what makes it successful."

Opera Carolina education director Teresa Robertson provided the school with background information and study questions. Teachers taught various components of the opera in their media, music and language classes. Most of the instruction was completed last quarter.

"When you make learning about opera exciting, kids will learn," said Oaklawn Media Specialist Cathy DuPre. "We studied the origins of opera and information specific to "Aida" before the winter break and they've retained the lessons."

Third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students got the chance to see what they learned in action. After the discussion, the students had dinner at the school with their teachers and family before attending a special live performance.

Opera Carolina and Oaklawn partnered last year when the company received a Front-Porch Grant from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Foundation to learn about the production of "How Nanita Learned to Make Flan."

Opera Carolina's production of "Aida" will run through Feb. 3.