Friday, January 29, 2010

Opera Goes to School at Lawton Elementary

This week the Young Artists headed to Lawton Elementary School in Seattle for the first week of Opera Goes to School. The students performing in Siegfried and the Ring of Fire spent a few days with teaching artists Vanessa Miller and RJ Tancioco—Miller directs the production and Tancioco plays the role of Father Rhine and leads the student orchestra—before the Young Artists arrived. The cast then spent the next day of rehearsal working together to put the finishing touches on their production before performing for students, teachers, and their families on Thursday afternoon.

Opera Goes to School had been to Lawton two years ago with Theft of the Gold, an adaptation of Das Rheingold. "Many of the 5th grade students remembered seeing Theft," said Justina Schwartz, Education Events Manager. "It was nice that they were now able to see the continuation of the story."

At a post-performance Q&A session yesterday, the children in the audience were full of questions. They were curious if Siegfried’s sword and Wotan’s spear were real (that must have been some excellent sword fighting by our Siegfried and Wotan, Michael Krzankowski and Erik Anstine!), expressed some concern about scary Wotan, and wanted to know if Siegfried and Brünnhilde actually kissed. The kissing, and the whole concept of "love" got a huge reaction from the audience, said Schwartz. Some were cheering and giving thumbs-ups, several kids were chatting, and there were many "eeewww!" reactions, as well.

"The week was great," Schwartz said "And it was a great way to start our five-week program."

Next week, Opera Goes to School heads up to Cottonwood Elementary School in Yakima for another fun-filled session.


  1. As one of the Lawton 5th grade teachers, I'd like to express how incredible Vanessa Miller and RJ Tancioco are at directing students. Not only were they patient and kind, they treated the students as true performers who were essential to the performance. The whole experience was fantastic for the student performers, the audience, and the parents. Thank you for exposing our school to the world of Opera!

  2. I appreciate the chance to educate our children with as many art forms as possible. Watching the children getting involved, on and off stage with the wonderful artists from Seattle Opera was truly enjoyable. I can not think of any better way to expose our children to this valuable art form. My son had the greatest time and a memory to cherish for the rest of his life.

  3. We had a wonderful time at Lawton. It's a terrific school, the students and teachers are great, and the performance was loads of fun. Speaking on behalf of Seattle Opera, I think we're fortunate to have such a strong partner in Lawton Elementary School.

    And yes, I completely agree: I wouldn't trade our amazing teaching artists, Vanessa Miller and RJ Tancioco, not even for golden statues and a magic ring!