5 Moments We Loved From Then I Stood Up

The Opera Camp 2016 team with Carlotta Walls LaNier

The Opera Camp 2016 team with Carlotta Walls LaNier

Opera Camp is one of our favorite parts about summer at LA Opera. Watching more than 50 talented kids rehearse and perform opera in just two weeks never ceases to astound us. But, this year’s camp was extra special, because we premiered Eli Villanueva and Leslie Stevens’ Then I Stood Up, a youth opera honoring the contributions of young people to the Civil Rights Movement. From day one, kids not only engaged with opera, but also with civil rights history, in a way that connects past with the present, and brings people together through the power of opera.

While we loved everything about this year’s Opera Camp, here are some moments that really made this year’s program the best yet.

THAT TIME OPERA CAMPERS BROKE OUT INTO HAMILTON DURING BREAK

Our campers love to sing, so it was no surprise when the kids started playing piano and singing “Guns and Ships” from Hamilton: An American Musical. We think Lin-Manuel Miranda would be proud.

THAT TIME CAMPERS GOT A PEEK BEHIND LA OPERA’S GOLD CURTAIN

Opera Campers on an LA Opera backstage tour

Opera Campers on an LA Opera backstage tour

Rupert Hemmings, Senior Director, Production took campers on a backstage tour sharing behind-the-scenes tidbits about why opera is so great to produce. The best part? It was all documented on SnapChat.

THE TWO AWESOME FIELD TRIPS

Opera Camp is not only about singing, but also about learning history. This year, campers visited the Watts Labor Action Committee and the California African American Museum. When these campers sing about the Civil Rights Movement, they’ve done their homework and really studied what it was like for their characters to stand up for their rights during that time.

THAT MOMENT WHEN CARLOTTA WALLS LANIER MET CHAYA FORMAN

Carlotta Walls LaNier, the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine (center) with Chaka Forman (left) and his daughter Chaya Forman (right), who portrayed Carlotta in "Then I Stood Up."

Carlotta Walls LaNier, the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine (center) with Chaka Forman right) and his daughter Chaya Forman (leftt), who portrayed Carlotta in “Then I Stood Up.”

Carlotta Walls LaNier was the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African-American students who, in 1957, became the first black students ever to attend Little Rock Central High School. Ms. LaNier’s story is included in Then I Stood Up and she is played by Chaya Forman. Talk about holding hands across time!

THAT MOMENT WHEN KIDS STOOD UP AND PERFORMED OPERA

Speaking of holding hands across time…it was very emotional to watch these kids joining together in song and standing up for what they believe in.

These moments were so wonderful that we can’t wait to create with a new crop of kids and teenagers next summer. We are already planning…

To learn more Opera Camp, click here. For more information about all of LA Opera’s education and community engagement programming, click here.

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5 Responses to 5 Moments We Loved From Then I Stood Up

  1. Pat Feinstein says:

    Is there a way I could purchase a DVD of THEN I STOOD UP 2016 ?
    Thank you very much,
    Pat Feinstein ( Chaya’s Grandmother in RI )

  2. Alana says:

    I love Opera Camp so much! I did it quite a few years back and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Eli Villanueva and Leslie Stevens always choose and create thought-provoking Operas dealing with social issues that enlighten both the young performers and even audience members. During Opera camp, not only did we study up and take field trips to further our comprehension of the social issues we presented through the operas, but we had to actually put ourselves in the shoes of, say, the Jewish children in the concentration camps or the Japanese internment camps (when we did “Freidl” and White Bird of Poston”). In a sense, we lived through these experiences by developing the characters we played. Opera camp left me with nothing but amazing memories and some of the most valuable training and techniques I’ve ever received to add to my performer “tool-belt”. Everyone should do Opera Camp! If anything, for the education and memories of a lifetime that no one can ever take away. 🙂

  3. Tammy Steiner says:

    Bravo La Opera! I am still excited about the wonderful performance for “Then I stood Up.” I cannot sing it enough praises. I am so impressed about how much you accomplished in two weeks, the caliber of the children’s performance was impressive. I could watch it again and again!

    Thank you LA Opera,

    Tammy Bersing-Steiner

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