Teens will perform Then I Stood Up: A Civil Rights Cycle twice on August 3

A diverse group of kids, from every part of Los Angeles, spends three weeks training to perform an opera that explores issues of social justice. Then I Stood Up: A Civil Rights Cycle is a special production that weaves together music from several operas that were specifically written for kids to perform: 

  • Hans Krása’s World War II-era Brundibár, performed by children imprisoned in the Terezín concentration camp;
  • Friedl, a contemporary companion piece to Brundibár about a woman who secretly taught art to the children of Terezín;
  • The White Bird of Poston, set during World War II in a Japanese-American internment camp;
  • Then I Stood Up, which focuses on young heroes of the civil rights movement.

What is Opera Camp? This summer, 73 kids have skipped out on their usual summer activities so that they can come together for LA Opera's annual three-week intensive program. As they train for the performances, they also learn about the real-life stories behind the opera, take field trips and hear directly from people who lived the history. Highlights include:

  • meeting Carlotta Walls LaNier, the youngest of the "Little Rock Nine"
  • civil rights workshops with Chaka Forman, son of civil rights pioneer James Forman
  • learning fundamentals of music with the reigning Miss America, Nia Franklin, a trained opera singer
  • visits to immersive exhibits on the African-American civil rights movement with the Watts Labor Community Action Committee, to see a life-size recreation of a wooden slave ship hold and a virtual walk down a 1960s-era street in the deep south, and to the LA Museum of the Holocaust where they heard from a Holocaust survivor, and to the Japanese American National Museum.

The cast is made up of a diverse group of young Angelenos, ages 9 to 17. The production is directed by Eli Villanueva, who is joined by several teaching artists working with the kids throughout the three weeks.

Opera Camp kicked off on July 15 and continues through the final performances on Sat., August 3 (1pm and 4pm).
Dress rehearsal (press only) on Fri., August 2 (1:50pm)

Eva and Marc Stern Grand Hall (second floor)Dorothy Chandler Pavilion135 N. Grand AvenueLos Angeles CA 90012.

(Public tickets for the event are sold out; only media tickets are available.) Admission is free, but advance tickets are required. Visit LAOpera.org/OperaCamp for info.

There are opportunities to watch the kids:

  • rehearse the music
  • learn staging and choreography
  • on stage performing in front of a live audience

Students, teaching artists, stage director Eli Villanueva, and Stacy Brightman (Vice President, LA Opera Connects).

Generous support for Opera Camp from:
The Opera League of Los Angeles
The California State Library, Civil Liberties Project
an Anonymous Donor
Media Contact
Vanessa Flores Waite
Director of Communications