Photo: Jonny Walton

Opera event hits right note for Armley and Burley pupils

27 March 2017

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Pupils at two West Leeds primary schools have been given the chance to write and stage their own operatic works.

After attending Opera North’s recent schools’ matinee performance of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel at Leeds Grand Theatre, Year 5 pupils at Burley St Matthias CE Primary School and Armley Primary School were encouraged to respond creatively to the opera’s characters, themes and music.

This included writing their own mini-operas under the guidance of professional composer Michael Betteridge and director Jonathan Ainscough.

Opera North Education Director, Jacqui Cameron said:

“The children have responded really well to Humperdinck’s opera and have devised some excellent mini versions.

“We are delighted to have had this opportunity to introduce opera in an enjoyable, accessible way to so many young people and are very grateful to Children & the Arts for enabling us to bring music into the lives of the pupils at the four chosen schools.

“We very much hope that the project will have inspired some of the students to take up music or performance longer term – and perhaps even to consider becoming opera singers in the future.”

The resulting works will be performed before an invited audience in the Howard Assembly Room in Leeds on Monday 27 March, when pupils from all the schools will see each other’s creations for the very first time. The children will also perform excerpts from Hansel and Gretel, including the popular Evening Prayer.

The other schools involved were White Laith Primary School in Whinmoor and Green Lane Primary Academy in Garforth.


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