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Music! Words! Opera!

October 05, 2006

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    October 05, 2006
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    Opera Carolina News

Music! Words! Opera!

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Music! Words! Opera! is the integrated arts education program that is raising curtains and voices in some Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools. Teamed with Opera Carolina, the Children's Community School, McAlpine Elementary, Mountain Island, and Smith Academy aim to enhance students' understanding and appreciation of the fine arts and expand their development in writing, team building, and creativity. Over the course of a school year, students will study the basic elements of great opera, culminating with the production of their own original masterpiece.

MWO is a two-part program led in partnership by local teachers and Opera Carolina. Opera Carolina provides training sessions for participating teachers and equips schools with materials, supplies, and artist visits. This year, students will study Puccini's celebrated work, Madama Butterfly, exploring the basic elements of opera, ranging from set design to on-stage performance. Students and teachers will attend the final dress rehearsal of Opera Carolina's mainstage production of Madama Butterfly and take a backstage tour of the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

In the second segment of MWO, music and classroom teachers will guide students in the creation of an original production to be performed for their schools. As students write their operas, they develop story writing and reading skills; through the creation of music and live performance, they discover a new level of creativity and individuality. Teachers are able to integrate the program into their daily lesson plans and support the CMS academic achievement goals for reading and writing.

The MWO program began at Opera Carolina in 1994, and has been successful in spreading the "opera bug" to younger generations. A new addition to the program is the installment of a two-year time frame for MWO in which students study multiple operas, including Madama Butterfly, Carmen, and The Pirates of Penzance (another Opera Carolina 2006-2007 mainstage production), and incorporate the richness of their extensive learning into unique and innovative productions. Opera Carolina and CMS teachers hope that this extended time period will further enrich the opera experience for students and parents and instill an appreciation for the art form many years beyond their MWO experience.

Additionally, Opera Carolina's statewide education touring company, Opera Express, will visit Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools to perform Enrique Gonzalez-Medina's delightful children's opera, How Nanita Learned to Make Flan. Featuring four Artists-in-Residence, Opera Express provides early exposure to opera for North Carolina youth while providing the young professional artists with touring and performing experience. Opera Express encourages teachers to incorporate elements of opera into their curriculum, emphasizing music appreciation and language arts.

MWO is a program funded by ArtsTeach, a partnership of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the Arts & Science Council, and Wachovia. Opera Express is a program funded by Arts Teach, a partnership of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the Arts & Science Council, and Bank of America.

Founded in 1948 as the Charlotte Opera Association by a small group of volunteers, Opera Carolina today is the largest professional opera company in the Carolinas with an operating budget of over $3.5 million. The mission of Opera Carolina is to inspire and entertain the region's diverse community through the presentation of excellent Opera, Operetta, Music Theater, and Education & Outreach programs that elevate the quality of life in the Carolinas.
Opera Carolina is a community resource with a commitment to artistic excellence and community service.

Opera Carolina is supported by the Arts & Science Council-Charlotte/Mecklenburg, Inc. The North Carolina Arts Council, an agency funded by the state of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts, also supports Opera Carolina. Opera Carolina is a member of OPERA America.

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