More than 1,200 children from about 80 public, private, and home schools in Oklahoma invited to attend the mainstage performances of The Little Prince filled Tulsa Opera with renewed excitement as they experienced the magic of opera for the very first time.
“Oh, my goodness, the energy the kids bring is so different than any other energy!” says Aaron Beck, Artistic Administrator & Director of Education. “Kids don’t have filters, so when they like something they just scream, yell, and clap really loud. The performers love it because it gives new energy to a show.”
Thanks to Tulsa Opera donors, the children and their chaperones were invited to attend the Friday night and Sunday matinee performances of The Little Prince for free last month, with many wearing pajamas and coming to listen to a “special bedtime story.” Beck says the show generated the biggest response to a student performance the opera has seen in 10 years. Many of the children attend Title I schools, where 90 percent of the students qualify for free lunch programs.
“Several people stopped me after the show to tell me how much fun it was to have all of the kids in the audience,” Beck says. “Even longtime opera patrons loved seeing the excitement in a new generation of operagoers.”
With a full-scale replica of the show’s airplane and backdrop staged in the lobby, the children created lasting memories by taking photos with the artists before and after the show. Looking for the photos you took with the cast of The Little Prince before or after the show? Look no further! Download your photos here.
Teacher Elizabeth Keener of Westside Elementary in Claremore shared her students’ reactions to the opera:
- “I like how the people are in costumes and how they sing.”
- “I wonder what the plane is made of.”
- “I like the instruments down below.”
- “We got to see them in person instead of on television.”
- “It was amazing. It was the first opera I’ve ever seen. I like how they had no microphones, and their voices were beautiful and amazing.”
- “I wish that one day I would be up on that same stage.”
- “It was fun! It was perfect! I liked it all!”
Look for new opportunities with children featured in mainstage opera productions as Tulsa Opera gears up for its 2019-2020 season.