Burg residents learn the wonders of opera

Anakaren Garcia, Staff Reporter

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“Opera is for Everyone One Acts: Something for Everyone” showcased four acts the weekend of April 6, two of which were children friendly stories: the story of Little Red Riding Hood and El Gato con Botas, a Spanish translation of Puss in Boots.

Over the weekend, Co-Directors Dr. Gayla Blaisdell and Tor Blaisdell, married CWU professors, put on an opera show at the Hertz Theater. The show consisted of four acts, The Fanciful Fairy Tales: Little Red Riding Hood & El Gato con Botas, The Heart-wrenching Drama: Riders to the Sea, and The Modern Condition: Strawberry Fields.

The acts were spread out across three days. Little Red Riding Hood, Riders to the Sea, and Strawberry Fields were performed April 6. El Gato con Botas, Riders to the Sea, and Strawberry Fields were performed April 8. Little Red Riding Hood and El Gato con Botas were performed April 9.  

El Gato con Botas was the only act this weekend to be performed entirely in Spanish. The Blaisdell’s plan to bring their rendition of Puss in Boots to several elementary schools in order to bridge language barriers for non-native English speakers.

Tor Blaisdell wanted to make sure that kids would be able to enjoy the opera in their native language,“If these kids laugh, we know we’re nailing it,” he said.

The Blaisdells decided to incorporate child-friendly stories into their opera show because “[they’re] all about busting opera myths,” Tor Blaisdell said. One of the opera myths being there’s no such thing as children’s opera and the other being whether or not children will be able to understand what is being sung.

“They are [relevant] as long as we care enough to educate the next generation [about fine arts],” Blaisdell said. “If we don’t say, ‘hey this is something that we want you to understand,’ you just put a little bit into it, and the rewards are going to be tremendous.”

Megan Schwark, a graduate student with a major in local performance,, said she enjoyed working in the children’s opera acts because the subject matter is lighter and funnier than typical dramas.

Schwark said she was especially excited for the show because this is the first opera she’s ever been a part of. “The amount of work that we’ve all put into it is immense, and to see that all come together, there’s something kind of exciting in that,” Schwark said.

Dalton Osborne, a third-year music student, said he was most excited to be able to perform El Gato con Botas at several elementary schools because the students, “will get to experience opera in their own language.”

Schwark hopes the children’s opera acts will help the kids at the elementary schools overcome vocabulary limitations, language barriers, and presentation stereotypes come to understand after.

“Getting kids connected to music and to opera, just in general, is how [opera] is going to continue to be a thing,” Schwark said.

 

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Burg residents learn the wonders of opera