Out of the Shadows

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Snapping back to live performances: Mahogany Opera's year of Snappy Operas

A Snappy Opera is a ten-minute opera for primary aged children (7-11) which introduces all the essential elements of opera – singing, acting and making – in fun, colourful and bite-size chunks. The Snappy Opera programme was created by Mahogany Opera and working with partners & schools across the UK they have collaborated with over 2,500 primary school children.

Now, in partnership with Edinburgh International Festival, Hull Music Service, Leicester-Shire Schools Music Service, North Tyneside Music Education Hub and Villages Music Festival, Mahogany Opera has announced a Year of Snappy Operas, bringing the programme to schools up and down the country from East Sussex to Edinburgh, from June 2021 until July 2022. Around 750 children, aged 7-11, from 21 different schools will join Mahogany Opera in a magical year of singing, making and theatre.

The programme is delivered using Mahogany Opera’s twelve commissioned Snappy Operas with a specially trained team of delivery artists – director, music director and repetiteur – working alongside the children and teachers in their schools. The Year of Snappy Operas will include Snappy Operas written by Errollyn Wallen [whose new opera, Dido's Ghost is a Mahogany Opera co-commission, see my review] and two new Snappy Operas developed remotely with children in schools over the last year by composer/writer teams Raymond Yiu & Russell Plows and Pippa Murphy & Karine Polwart. Each opera is designed to be performed by a class sized group of children, divided into groups and accompanied by professional musicians.

Frederic Wake-Walker, artistic director of Mahogany Opera, explained the ethos behind the programme, "Our dream at Mahogany is for every child to experience opera before they leave school; not just to foster a life-long love of music and theatre but because of the incalculably positive effect creative expression can have on young people’s lives.  Within opera lie the fundamental building blocks of human development and Snappy Operas are the most wonderful learning tools to access this."

Further information from the Mahogany Opera website.

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