Hands-On-Opera

Since 2013, Opera Parallèle’s Hands-On-Opera program has created opportunities for students to have a complete operatic experience. This program gives students from various age groups the opportunity to participate in producing and performing an opera. The program also provides opportunities for emerging composers, librettists and creatives through the commission of new works specifically for younger performers and family audiences. 

Participants in Hands-on-Opera experience the following:

  • Learning and preparing music, with professional guidance accompanied by orchestral instruments
  • Telling a story and developing a character with singing and movement
  • Designing costumes and make-up alongside professional designers
  • Working with a conductor and a stage director
  • Performing on stage in front of a live audience with professional singers

Stay tuned for more information on future Hands-On-Opera productions.

 

Past Hands-On-Opera Productions 

XOCHITL AND THE FLOWERS – May, 2019 

A new children’s opera by Christopher Pratorius based on the book of the same name by Jorge Argueta, with libretto by Roma Olvera 

Reprised in 2019 in collaboration with the Community Music Center 

Music/Música: Chris Pratorius Gómez
Libretto/Libreto: Roma Olvera
Stage Director/Director de Escena: Beth Wilmurt
Conductor/Directora: Martha Rodríguez-Salazar
Based on the book by Jorge Argueta

Set & Costume Design: Rachael Heiman

Xochitl: Sabrina Romero-Wilson, soprano
Mami: Yemonja Stanley, soprano
Papi: Sergio Gonzalez, tenor
Don Roberto: Jorge Ruvalcaba, baritone
Abuelo: Lauro Lara, baritone

Featuring the Coro de Camàra & Children’s Chorus ensembles from the Community Music Center.

Based on real-life events in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood, this quintessentially American immigration story tells the moving tale of a family’s determination to put down roots in a new country, while still preserving the heritage on their homeland. Originally created in 2016 with the Alvarado Elementary School, Xochitl and the Flowers/Xochitl, la niña de las flores (pronounced “so-cheel“) is part of OP’s acclaimed annual ‘Hands-on-Opera’ program, which features children center stage as full project participants and performers. This is the third commissioned work for Opera Parallèle by composer Christopher Pratorius. Performed in Spanish and English. 

Performed at the Community Music Center, Mission Branch.

 

HARRIET’S SPIRIT – January, 2017

In Hands-On-Opera featured a world premiere production with an original score by Bay Area jazz great Marcus Shelby and a libretto by Roma Olvera based on the story of a middle school girl who triumphs over the challenges of adolescence with Civil War-era legend Harriet Tubman as her role model and spirit guide. Students of Rooftop Alternative School in San Francisco will share the stage with professional singers and Jazz Ensemble in creating the production. OP’s Hands-On-Opera production annually draws capacity crowds.

Composer: Marcus Shelby

Librettist: Roma Olvera

Conductor: Lucik Aprahamian

Director: Erin Neff

Harriet Tubman: Tiffany Austin

Modesty: Christabel Nunoo

General Montgomery: Torlef Borsting

Students of Rooftop Alternative School

Performed at the Buriel Clay Theater, African American Arts & Culture Complex

XOCHITL AND THE FLOWERS – November, 2016

Created in partnership with Alvarado Elementary School’s 3rd grade Spanish immersion program, Xochitl and the Flowers will be composer Christopher Pratorius’ third commissioned work for Opera Parallèle. Based on real-life events in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood, this quintessentially American immigration story tells the moving tale of a family’s determination to put down roots in a new country, while still preserving the heritage of their homeland.

Music/Música: Chris Pratorius Gómez
Libretto/Libreto: Roma Olvera
Stage Director/Director de Escena: Brendan Hartnett
Conductor/Directora: Lucik Aprahamian
Based on the book by Jorge Argueta

Set & Costume Design: Rachael Heiman

Xochitl: Sabrina Romero-Wilson, soprano
Mami: Yemonja Stanley, soprano
Papi: Andres Ramirez, tenor
Don Roberto/Abuelo: Bradley Kynard, baritone

Performed at Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts 

AMAZING GRACE – November, 2015

Continuing our tradition of developing new works for all ages, Chris Pratorius, OP’S Composer-in-residence, composed a children’s opera based on Mary Hoffman’s book, Amazing Grace. The libretto is by OP’s Education Director, Roma Olvera, and Creative Director, Brian Staufenbiel.

Grace loves stories. She loves listening to them, she loves reading them, and she loves making them up.  Most of all, Grace loves to act them out – and she has always given herself the most exciting role.

So when her class decides to put on a play of Peter Pan, Grace knows exactly which part she wants. But her classmates don’t understand – how can a girl be Peter Pan? When her Nana tells her a true story of her Aunt Janet, based on the life of Janet Collins, the first African American to be a principal ballerina for the Metropolitan Opera, Grace’s confidence is restored and she sets out to prove she can do anything she puts her mind to… and the results are amazing indeed!

YEMONJA STANLEY (SOPRANO): GRACE

JASMINE JOHNSON (MEZZO-SOPRANO): NANA

J. RAYMOND MEYERS (TENOR): PAW PAW

Children’s Chorus: 4th and 5th Grade Students of St. Martin de Porres

 

 

SpiderCollage

THE SPIDERS’ REVENGE – November, 2013

In 2013, Hands-on-Opera produced Peter Maxwell-Davies’ opera The Spiders’ Revenge. Educational Programs Director Roma Olvera worked with a group of 60 students from Daniel Webster Elementary School to prepare for a performance in the Forum Theater at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. The cast was entirely made up of fourth and fifth graders, over 50 young musicians in all, and conducted by Opera Parallèle intern William Long to a standing-room only crowd.