Gotham Chamber Opera’s intimate approach to opera guides our arts-in-education program. The primary goal of the program is to stimulate and enrich youth artistic engagement and development through an in-depth education of opera and direct interaction with our productions and resident artists. Ultimately, we aim to instill a lifelong artistic curiosity in teenage students, many of whom might not otherwise pursue advanced training at mainstream collegiate arts institutions.
Gotham Chamber Opera’s Arts-in-Education program is based on the method of Scenic Interpretation, which was developed and pioneered in Europe in conjunction with State Opera Stuttgart, State Opera Berlin, and in academic collaboration with the University of Oldenburg. Principally, scenic interpretation involves helping students to create and experience the ‘reality’ of the drama themselves, rather than the more common lecture-based approach of communicating details of the plot from a purely historical perspective. The lesson begins with a very short overview of the composer and the Opera, whereupon the students create and present an individual position, movement, and description that embody an assigned character. The real characters are thereafter introduced, and the students combine their original ideas with the libretto and score. The synthesis of the libretto with the students’ interpretation yields a unique synthesis that forms a necessarily engaged understanding of the work at hand. After a trip to the performance, the students then compare their own interpretations to the composer’s operatic choices, and thus come to a deeper appreciation of the opera.
The reaction of students to this program has been positive and receptive. Students who saw a performance conveyed a genuine and lasting relationship with the opera on a personal and musical level. The faculty was similarly pleased to see their students immersed in a new musical genre, and was appreciative of the personal and artistic growth of their students. Given further funding, our primary goal is to increase the program’s reach by expanding into more high schools. Eventually, we hope that our education program will become a vibrant mainstay in many arts and charter school districts throughout New York City.
Gotham Chamber Opera's Arts-in-Education program has served students from:
The Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts
Seward Park High School
High School of Economics and Finance
University Neighborhood High School
High School of Art and Design
Martin Luther King, Jr. High School
Norman Thomas High School
If you would like Gotham Chamber Opera to visit your school, contact us at (212) 868-4460.