Our outreach program, Opera is Epic, provides youth from diverse communities with access to opera. Students from Minneapolis public schools in grades 8 to 12 participate in a series of interactive, hands-on learning workshops that examine the essential components of opera and opera production, with the kids designing and performing their own opera. The workshops culminate with the opportunity for youth to attend a live opera dress rehearsal, with free tickets for themselves and their family members.
Opera is Epic workshops are led by members of our artistic team, giving youth a chance to learn about opera from highly accomplished directors, singers and conductors of operatic music. Youth participants range in age from 12 to 19. Workshops cover opera essentials, including:
- History, origins and significance of the genre and how it relates to other art forms
- Stage movement and combat, and how it can be done to be safe and effective
- Operatic-style vocal performance
- Design and construction of an opera
- Career opportunities that exist in an opera company, on-stage and behind-the-scenes
- Development of micro-operas under the guidance of a high caliber artistic team
- Examination of the music and story of the current Mill City Summer Opera production
EFFECTIVE PARTNERSHIPS AND BUILDING COMMUNITY
We partner with Cristo Rey Jesuit School, Lundstrum Center and Project Success to deliver our Opera is Epic program. Through the workshop series, these youth see themselves—usually for the first time—as part of a broader artistic community. This exposure has the potential to diversify future opera companies, and inspires participants to pursue careers as performers and crew members.
Students and their family members from all three of these incredible organizations are invited to attend a dress rehearsal performance and experience live opera. Sharing this cultural experience together serves as a starting point for rich conversations about how opera relates to their lives.
With these partnerships, our teaching artists help students from a variety of cultures and backgrounds make connections on how theatre and opera can help build empathy, foster self-confidence, and build vital skills in their daily lives. This approach allows us to go beyond the workshops and performances, and provide a basis for building community around arts.
These activities are made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant by the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.