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Opera Camp

Opera Camp is now a three-week intensive for campers ages 9-17 who rehearse, perform and participate in a variety of movement and technical workshops.

The White Bird of Poston and The Prospector
Saturday, August 11 at 1:00pm and 4:00pm
Stern Grand Hall
The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion


Tickets are currently sold out but more tickets will be released
closer to the performance date.

For Opera Camp 2018, LA Opera will present two operas:

The White Bird of Poston by Eli Villanueva and Leslie Stevens.
Appropriately timed for the 75th Anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the White Bird of Poston is set during World War II in the Japanese internment camp at Poston which was located on the Mojave Reservation in Arizona. The opera tells the story of a Japanese-American teenage girl who takes a stand against prejudice and unfair treatment of the internees. Running from the camp to escape a stern sergeant, she meets and forms a bond with a Mojave boy. Through their friendship, they help each other rediscover their cultural traditions and find the courage and confidence to move forward as leaders in an uncertain world. The opera explores issues of cultural difference, prejudice, stereotypes, and personal responsibility.

The Prospector by Lee Holdridge and Richard Sparks
The Prospector is inspired by Puccini’s opera, The Girl of the Golden West (La fanciulla del West) A lonely Gold Rush prospector is making his way across the desert toward the California gold fields when a pack of coyotes appears, ready to eat the prospector and his mule. The prospector distracts the coyotes by telling them a story and we are transported to a Wild West town. There we learn about the power of love and forgiveness with the help of Minnie, the outlaw Ramirez and Sherriff Rance.



Through this unique program, LA Opera has revived historical and commissioned original productions that illustrate topics of social injustice from an array of stories rooted in history.

Each year, Opera Camp seeks to elicit in campers the understanding that as young artists, they have great power and responsibility: the power of storytelling, which can be used for good. As artists, their responsibility is to prepare to their utmost and be worthy of the stories.

  • Opera Camp connects campers to the past and to social issues.
  • It brings context to headlines and shows them their impact on the world.
  • They’re asked to listen and learn about the stories and the people impacted by the events they tell.
  • They learn from subject matter experts and community leaders as they explore the story told by the opera and its historical context.
  • In addition to rehearsals, campers explore the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, with backstage tours and craft workshops led by the LA Opera staff.

Throughout the program’s history, our campers have tackled a vast array of stories that address social injustice. Through opera, they have explored the Holocaust, the Japanese-American Internment and gang violence in our own city. Most recently in 2016, we explored the stories of young people involved in the Civil Rights Movement with the premiere of Then I Stood Up.

With each piece we commission and stage, we partner with experts and community organizations to ensure the production and its messages are historically accurate, relevant and impactful. In the summer of 2016, we partnered with the Watts Labor Community Action Committee, California African American Museum, the Watts Village Theatre Company and Facing History and Ourselves.  


Through the lens of a legend 

In July 2015, Academy Award-winning cinematographer and social activist, Haskell Wexler, discovered LA Opera's Opera Camp when it produced Then I Stood Up - A Civil Rights Cycle and produced a documentary about the program. Mr. Wexler passed away in December 2015 and gave us the gift of his beautiful work. Below is a sneak peek at the documentary, coming summer 2016. To read more about Mr. Wexler's work, click here.

For a look at our 2015 production of Then I Stood Up: A Civil Rights Cycle, CLICK HERE.


For more information and to receive updates about future Opera Camps as well as all our programs, please join our Education and Community Engagement email list by CLICKING HERE.

Generous support for Opera Camp is provided by the Opera League of Los Angeles.