Every summer, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion fills up with students ages 9-17 for LA Opera’s Opera Camp. This year, the program has expanded and we have over 70 campers learning everything there is to know about opera. Over the next three weeks, they will present TWO fully-staged operas for friends, family and the community.
Earlier this month, Classical KUSC’s Brian Lauritzen sat down for a conversation with Stacy Brightman, Vice President for Education and Community Engagement at LA Opera, Eli Villanueva, Resident Stage Director for LA Opera’s Education and Community Engagement and Erik Greenberg, Director of Education and Visitor Engagement at the Autry Museum of the American West. Here are three things from the podcast that you may not know about our annual Opera Camp.
Getting kids excited about opera is easier than you think
Each year, the campers are ready to dive in to the world of opera. The campers are excited for the challenge and rise to meet the high expectations we have for them.
“I’ll let you in on a secret — it’s so much easier than you think it’s going to be because they don’t know that they’re supposed to be scared of it,” said Brightman.
We mix opera and history together
Opera Camp is a fun but intense experience. The White Bird of Poston, one of the opera’s being staged this summer, has a scene with a riot in the internment camp and it’s the first thing the campers learn. The campers learn the music in the morning. By the end of the first day, the kids are up on their feet staging the riot scene.
“There is a technique to show this type of energy … so they understand at all times that they are in control of themselves,” said Villanueva.
Community partners go through an intense experience too!
We ask a lot of our community partners, and they deliver!
“All in 90 minutes, the campers visit our galleries and have some folks come in and put what they’re doing into historical context,” said Greenburg. The Autry Museum’s research and guidance was integral to the telling the stories of The Prospector and The White Bird of Poston accurately and with sensitivity towards the different cultures represented. They continue to help campers learn that as young artists their responsibility is to prepare to their utmost and be worthy of the stories they’re telling.
Want to learn more? Listen to the full podcast here.