Education and Community Engagement

The very nature of opera, as an integrally multidisciplinary art form, has allowed opera companies and schools to develop ways to incorporate opera into the curriculum. Over the years, Florida Grand Opera has been providing students with various ways to experience and engage with the art form, while supporting substantive classroom conceptual connection. Opera encompasses all fine arts disciplines and deals with subject matter drawn from literature, history and myriad cultural contexts. The creation and study of opera is essentially collaborative and complex. Opera performance is characterized by artistic excellence, which stems from historical traditions, and continues to be reinvented using modern technologies.

 

The art form‘s multifaceted environment inherently allows for connections across educational discipline, and intent to provide: sources of aesthetic experience, sources of human understanding, means of developing creative and flexible forms of thinking. Students are taught what high-quality work is and how to evaluate their work and others, it helps students in their cognitive, social, and emotional development, perfect opportunity to engage and prepare them for and into the 21st Century competitive world.

 

The combination of dramatic narrative, stagecraft, and music, and especially the range and vulnerability of the human voice, make Opera the art form that comes closest to expressing pure emotion. Narrative skills allow us to understand and tell stories. We learn and communicate using stories many times a day. All of the stagecraft demands give students tremendous life lessons about teamwork and the rewards of hard work. Music triggers engagement in social functions, hence musical activity is directly related to the fulfillment of basic human needs, such as communication, cooperation and social attachment. Music influences, and interacts with, the processing of visual information (whether visual information is real or imagined).

 

FGO’s Education and Community Engagement is integral to arts education in South Florida, committed to creating curriculum-based programs to educate the new generations about the opera art form. Education and community initiatives for young people and adults encompass the culturally diverse population of South Florida and introduce them to the operatic art form, creative thinking, and gauging understanding of content standards through multidisciplinary, hands-on educational activities. These include in-school classroom connections that focus on both vocal and technological aspects of opera, dress rehearsals (with study guides) for school groups, community performances, FGO Family Festivals, and more.

 

* You can partner with FGO to help ensure the future of arts education and encourage a community of opera lovers with your generous FGO Education contribution. For more information on our Education programs or to make your gift, click here, or call our Department of Education and Community Engagement at (305) 403-3308.

Programs Available

CURRICULUM BASED PROGRAMS

    • HOPE (Having an Opera Performance Experience) – Florida Grand Opera understands the impact music and arts generate for a community and its residents. Three decades of research confirm that well-implemented immersion in heritage language and culture improves language acquisition, enhances test performance, increases school retention and graduation rates, college entry, and increases parent involvement and cultural pride. This FGO education program for high scholars’ students 9-12 grades provides low-cost or free tickets and transportation to over 5,000 Miami-Dade and Broward County students to experience the thrill of live opera for each of the four final mainstage dress rehearsals. As part of this renewed program, FGO offers participating schools the opportunity of having an opera preview before the dress rehearsals. During this unique presentation, the Director of Education, Luis Valenzuela, visits each site and engages students and teachers in an opera overview. Each visit is tailored to the students’ needs and ages and includes a synopsis of the opera, theater and opera etiquette, historical relevance, production elements, vocal categories, and composition style.
    • ISOLDE (In-School Opera Learning During Experiences) – In-School Opera is an interdisciplinary introduction to opera program, empowering students to engage with and enjoy opera while meeting state academic standards; the program is developed for school group’s grades 5 to 8. The program focuses on various Opera aspects surrounding the idea of ensuring the next generation of opera lovers.
    • IN-SCHOOL INFORMANCE – offers schools flexible, educational experiences through concert performances, mentoring, and talkback sessions with the company’s Studio Artists (SAs). Through these Informances, FGO’s SAs have the opportunity to connect with students by sharing their talents and their artistic journeys. The flexibility of the Informances program is tailored to the needs of each school, making it a unique opportunity that extends far beyond music and choral programming. Language, English, History, and Social Studies departments greatly benefit from Informance presentations, since many operas are composed in foreign languages and have a particular historical context. During Informances, SAs will introduce the musical pieces they are presenting, offering a brief background, description, and translation. Following the performances, SAs, as well as the artistic and education department staff will hold talkback sessions with students and faculty. Informances are customized to the needs of the individual teachers and schools.Participating schools receive a curriculum-based Study Guide for each opera. Study Guides contain a complete overview of the opera, including information on its history, composer, librettist, background material, composition style, production elements, and more. Study Guides are available on the FGO website for download.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM

    • COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS – informal lectures around the city that introduces these operas and discusses their relevance to modern life. The series strives to alleviate the widely held fallacy of opera as an inscrutable, arcane art form and provide access to opera for the uninitiated.