BENEFITING: METROPOLITAN OPERA ASSOCIATION INC
ORGANIZER: Kids Opera Art Posse
EVENT DATE: Sep 18, 2016
Layla Felder wrote -
I hope that your summer is going well. I can’t believe that it’s time for the 4th annual Ring Cycle Endurance Walk! Last year we raised $5,140 and to date the Kids Opera and Art Posse has raised over $18,000 to support the Metropolitan Opera HD Live in Schools Program. Since its launch in 2007 the HD Live in Schools Program has benefitted nearly 100,000 students andteachers across the U.S including A TLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS! The HD Live in Schools Program is the country’s largest youth opera education program that uses the Met’s HD movie presentations to introduce opera to a new generation and provides educators with techniques and strategies to introduce opera into their classrooms. Many of these kids live in underserved schools with no music education programs. The Met Opera manager, Peter Gelb and his team are trying to make opera new, innovative, and relevant in the 21 century to new and younger audiences. Opera is not a oneanddone type of thing. It is a lifelong passion that grows and changes as you see more and more, I am 10 years and 90 operas in and I’m more passionate and devoted than ever! I am now attending a new school and I just completed 6th grade. I feel like I am really growing and learning, and the teachers are very supportive of extracurriculars and outside achievements. My love for opera has also been nourished at this school, unlike at my last school where neither teachers nor students understood my passion and I was unable to talk about it openly without feeling like an alien from another galaxy. At my new school everyone in the grade knows that I love opera and they don’t judge me, even though they don’t really understand.
I don’t think that many adults and operagoers think that young people should be introduced to opera, they think that they will talk and text the entire time which is not entirely true. Yes, many of the uninterested kids and teens out there might do that, but not all. If they can find the right opera to start out with and they are very engaged, they will not make a sound. If you went to an amazing movie you wouldn’t start texting and talking loudly would you? No, you wouldn’t. I think also that part of the reason kids have the wrong mindset about opera is that nobody tries to show them opera. I don’t know why, maybe they think it’s too hard or that it is too time consuming, and that it is for adults only but in actuality it is none of those things. Opera is awesome and without young people opera will die in about 30 years. I have introduced a couple of new 6th grade friends to opera. At school I was talking about how wonderful mezzosoprano Elina Garanca was which made my friend decide to look her up on the internet and listen to her now she is obsessed with her. I have introduced her to sopranos Anna Netrebko, Kristine Opolais, and tenor Rolando Villazon. It only takes a bit of talking and a few amazing soundbites before someone is hooked on opera.
So much can be learned from watching opera. It involves theater, dance, singing, music, foreign language, fashion, literature, and visual art. Take the Tudor Queen Trilogy (Maria Stuarda, Anna Bolena, and Roberto Devereux) for example, it could help children easily learn about the life of Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Stuart, and Robert Devereux in just a few hours. Some operas even have morals such as; a lways be kind, do to others as you would like done to you, do not commit suicide because your relationship didn’t work out, don’t lie, and other life lessons. Opera could help you pick up a few words in a different language or it could prompt you to learn a new one.
Americans For The Arts states that “young people who participate regularly in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math or science fair, or to win an award for writing and essay or poem than kids who don’t” . In a study written in 2007 written by Christopher Johnson, professor of music education and therapy at the University of Kansas revealed that “students in elementary schools with superior music education programs scored around 22% higher in English, and 20% higher in Math scores on standardized tests, compared to schools with low quality music programs regardless of socioeconomic disparities among the schools or school districts”. Studies have also shown that opera helps people to relax and has the same antianxiety benefits for heart patients as some medicines do. It conjures strong emotions which is why people listen to it over and over again, and transports the listener to other time periods.
In April we saw Roberto Devereux starring mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča as Sara, soprano Sondra Radvanovsky as Queen Elizabeth I, tenor Matthew Polenzani as Roberto Devereux, and baritone Mariusz Kwiecień as the Duke of Nottingham (Sara’s husband). The production was beautiful with gorgeous Elizabethan gowns that had golden embroidery, jewels, ruffles, and a set that resembled an ebony and gold palace, but the opera itself was very sad.
This year over spring break I was interviewed by a Gracie Bonds Staples from the Atlanta Journal Constitution to talk about my opera obsession. She was very nice. When the head of Middle School saw the article he put it up in the hallway by his office. When my friends saw it they said, “Congratulations on starting a singing club!”, “Why do you look so weird in that photo?”, and “I saw you in a photo with that Russian dude, that’s cool.”
I recently started a new blog called Randomness About Opera which is literally random facts about opera. I post facts for beginning opera lovers about what to see, opera reviews, my top ten favorite singers, and reviews on different singers. If you would like to check it out here is the link: https://randomnessaboutopera.com/. I also have a blog about my club events called https://kaopweb.com/. It is more of a calendar with pictures so you can see what we have been up to. I’m a little behind on text, but I hope to fix that this summer.
The 4th Annual Ring Cycle Endurance Walk is scheduled for Sunday, September 18, 2016. This year we hope to raise $10,000. Please feel free to share this appeal with anyone you know with a passion for the arts. Thank you so much for being so loyal and supportive over the past 3 years, and thank you in advance for helping me continue to share my passion with other kids across the country. I don’t know who I’d be without opera . Opera and art have created the best parts of me! Thank you so very much for donating to the Metropolitan Opera HD Live in Schools Program, and for helping to keep opera alive. I hope you have a wonderful year, have an awesome Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, Valentine's Day, and Easter! See you next year!
Layla Felder & The Kids Opera & Art Posse