Opera North brings classical music theatre to school groups and local theaters. Its summer festival has a wide following, and its outreach program brings free live opera to school groups. Lindsey Anderson sang the role of the Julia Child in Bon Appetit! which the company brought to Upper Valley schools.
The opera is about cooking a chocolate cake, Anderson explains, “so I got a little messy with the ingredients. I’d throw flour everywhere, and the kids would just go crazy over it.” And she points out that opera is not as staid and static as its reputation suggests, “at the end of the productions, one of the lines is ‘and it goes nice with coffee.’ Most of the time you’d hear “eeeewww” in the audience from the kids. So I’d change it to Mountain Dew.”
Over the course of her residence with Opera North, Anderson says they brought the 30-minute to schools all over the upper Valley, she estimated between 1500-2000 kids saw the production. “The things Opera North does as a company not only the educational outreach, but bringing world class opera to this corner of the country, it’s really remarkable.”
She stresses the importance of exposing children to live musical performances. “You can press a button on your iPhone and you can have any type of music from any part of the world in your ear by the touch of a button and it takes away the humanity of it.” She concedes that these devices have increased all our exposure to many different kinds of music, “but at the same time, we don’t see the effort that comes together to create the beauty of the sound, to create the art.”
But when you attend a concert or performance, “You see this human giving this gift of art to you in that moment, it’s something that can’t be manufactured.”