The Opera Factory, Scottish Opera’s brand new interactive musical experience for Primary 3 pupils exploring how an opera is made, launches next month.

It combines advance classroom resources designed to reinforce key learning outcomes of A Curriculum for Excellence Level 1 with a live performance that features singers, actors and The Orchestra of Scottish Opera. The first performance of The Opera Factory takes place at University of Aberdeen on May 11, with further dates at Inverness Leisure Centre, Scottish Opera Production Studios in Glasgow, The Brunton in Musselburgh and Paisley Town Hall.

To prepare for the hour-long show, teachers use an online resource pack which includes short films and guide vocal tracks presented and sung by mezzo soprano Sarah Shorter, to teach a song adapted from the aria ‘Non piu andrai’ from Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro. Specially arranged by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music Derek Clark, who will also conduct the orchestra, it has new lyrics by Allan Dunn and is entitled ‘If you go to a show that’s an opera’.

Pupils are introduced to the characters Libby Retto and Compo Zerr, who guide them on a visit around Theatre Royal Glasgow. Libby and Compo meet the different people who work there, from costume and set designers to directors and conductors, learning about the different elements that take an opera from the earliest planning stages to rehearsals and opening night.

Jane Davidson, Scottish Opera’s Director of Outreach and Education said: ‘Scottish Opera is delighted to announce a new project for Level 1 primary pupils that has been designed to unlock the doors that lead straight onto the opera stage. In just 60 minutes, we plan to inspire hundreds of curious 7 and 8 years old to explore the many elements involved in making this amazing art form. From costumes to cakes (prop of course!); from baritones to bass drums and from scenery to stage managers, there are so many things to get involved with. Using a combination of advance learning materials and audience participation, this funny and fast-moving experience is the perfect start to life-long engagement with music and the performing arts.’

It was announced on 12 April that Scottish Opera’s Outreach and Education department had been shortlisted in the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards which take place in London on 9 May. BambinO, an opera for babies aged 6 to 18 months and Memory Spinners, a group for people living with dementia, are nominated in the Learning and Participation category.

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