SUNDRE – Students were attentively receptive to a rendition of Cinderella that was recently put on by members of the Calgary Opera, with many of the youth enthusiastically throwing their arms into the air eager to ask the cast and crew questions immediately following the performance.
Alongside a few dozen staff as well as some parents and members of the public, about 400 River Valley School from Kindergarten to Grade 6 filled up the gym on March 2 to watch the classic fairy tale, which is part of the 2022-23 Calgary Opera School Tour throughout southern Alberta that started Feb. 21 and ends March 17.
The roughly 45-minute long opera was an adaptation of two classic Cinderella operas – Rossini’s La Cenerentola and Massenet’s Cendrillon that was created by Canadian stage director and longtime Calgary Opera collaborator Rob Herriot.
All of the performers are members of the Calgary Opera’s McPhee Artist Development Program.
“We are so thrilled to be performing live, back in schools with students, after two years of virtual productions,” reads a portion of an introductory address in the opera’s program written by Patricia Kesler, Calgary Opera’s education and community engagement manager.
Many of the students in Sundre also seemed excited, with plenty of hands shooting right up into the air without a moment’s hesitation when given the opportunity to ask questions following the opera.
Among the questions asked were how long it took the cast and crew to prepare for the performance, how the actors are so quick to change between scenes, as well as how they manage to reach certain notes while singing.
The students heard it takes roughly two weeks for the cast and crew to prepare from scratch and that costumes are specially designed to quickly come off courtesy of a snap button up seam on the back that enables an actor to just pull it off and slip right into another. Reaching and sustaining those high and low soprano and baritone vocal ranges comes down to a matter of practice, time and dedication.
As there were far more questions than time allowed the cast and crew to answer on the spot, students who didn’t get a chance to satisfy their curiosity were encouraged to submit their queries to their teachers who could then forward them to the Calgary Opera for a response.
The performance in Sundre was arranged locally courtesy of the Sundre Municipal Library, the Friends of the Library, as well as the River Valley School Fundraising Society.