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
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 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…