First Operatic Experience!

John Davies’ Pinocchio, an opera for children, was first staged in our 11th Season in conjunction with the Elevate A.R.T.S. program to support arts teachers in high-poverty Pinellas County Schools. The show tells the classic tale of the little wooden boy learning the value of telling the truth, utilizing popular operatic music set to English lyrics. Due to the success of last year’s program, we took on the Pinocchio project again this season with great gusto.  In the weeks leading up to the performances, select singers and our new SPO Asst. Conductor/ Chorus Master, David Štech visited third-grade students at eight Pinellas Co. schools to prepare them for their exciting Opera Central field trip. In the prep sessions, kids experienced live opera singing, learned about the orchestra, participated in a conducting lesson with the Pinocchio “Maestro,” and practiced “The Policeman’s Chorus,” an interactive number that the audience members perform along with the cast during the show. To the children’s delight, they were also presented with a beautiful educational Pinocchio booklet, prepared by members of our wonderful volunteer education committee.
 
Over 600 of these third-graders were then bussed to Opera Central for Pinocchio performances. Leaving the theater, kids were overwhelmingly positive about their experience. “I want to go on every field trip to the opera,” one young man said. “That was a whole hour? That went so fast!” exclaimed another.

 Maestro Sforzini asks kids to raise hands if this is their very first opera. 95% say yes!

Maestro Sforzini asks kids to raise hands if this is their very first opera. 95% say yes!