Today's headlines are filled with stories of inequality, injustice and hate. Understanding our role in changing the world can be daunting. Through its annual Opera Camp program, LA Opera is teaching kids 9 - 17 how every action counts.
For the nearly 14 years, LA Opera has hosted Opera Camp, a two-week immersive program where campers learn about opera - the artistry, the production, the skills - and prepares them to perform one. This year 53 children and three college counselors will participate in the camp.
While most kids at camp are canoeing and crafting, kids at Opera Camp are learning. Students experience all aspects of opera production, guided by LA Opera artists. They are coached in singing, movement and learn about staging, set and costume design.
They also get to explore the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, with backstage tours and craft workshops led by the LA Opera staff.
But these kids are getting much more than that out of the experience. Opera Camp connects campers to the past and to today's toughest issues. It brings context to headlines and shows them their impact on the world. As part of the camp's program and in preparation for the opera, they'll meet with community leaders at Watts Labor Community Action Committee and visit the Japan-America National Museum.
To coincide with LA Opera's 30th Anniversary season, this year's Opera Camp production will weave together suites of music from three previous Opera Camp productions and a recently commissioned youth opera. Each is meant to provide campers with the historical significance of each story while helping them understand their role in today's issues.
During three free shows on August 8 and 9, campers will perform highlights from:
- Hans Krása's World War II era Brundibár, which was performed by children imprisoned in the Terezín concentration camp
- Friedl, an original work about a woman who secretly taught art to the children of the Terezín
- The White Bird of Poston, also original, set during World War II in a Japanese internment camp in Arizona.
- Then I Stood Up, reflecting on the Civil Rights Act of 1964
This summer's Opera Camp gets going on July 27.
Tickets for the free performances are available now.
We'll be covering Opera Camp as it takes place. Check back for updates.
The next batch of campers in the 2016 program will stage the full production of Then I Stood Up.