Storybook Opera for the Holidays

This week's blog is written by Sandy Campbell, one of HGOco's Storybook Opera performers.

I love storytelling. That’s why Storybook Opera is a great fit for me. It just seems natural to use something familiar such as a book, to introduce something unfamiliar like opera. I love the way the children gather around to listen.

I try to create a warm, cozy environment, just as a wonderful librarian would.

We first talk about what opera is and what opera singing is like. Most realize it isn’t the kind of singing you typically hear on the radio. Most do not know that opera is a story, and that opera singers must train to perform just as athletes train for their careers. During these initial moments, I’m working to win their interest. Once I’ve connected with the children, the real fun begins. With the help of well written and “performable” books, I tell and sing a story. At the end of the performance, I take a few questions. They usually want to know how I sing like that, and can I break glass.

I always save the best for last: getting the children involved. After a 10 second voice lesson (HILARIOUS), we play the opera talk game. I “sing” them a question, and they must “sing” back their answer. In November, we “sang” about Thanksgiving dinner. We had a blast, making each other hungry. What will I be asking in December? Of course the most important thing on their minds is what Santa will be leaving under their tree. Wouldn’t you like to be a little fly on the wall for that one? As our time comes to a close and they must go back to their classes, the room is still buzzing with questions and demonstrations of their vocal abilities. I’m all aglow, realizing I’ve played a part in building opera audiences of the future and I am honored.