On Tuesday, November 1st, the fifth-grade students attended a matinee performance of Verdi’s Aida. As we entered the lobby students were excited to see the beautiful Swarovski crystal chandeliers, a gift from the Austrian government. Their excitement continued as we entered the house, where students saw the beautiful theater, the stage, the gold leaf ceiling and all the other grandeur that makes the experience so special.
We were very fortunate this year to be given seats in the orchestra level. Usually, students are only permitted to sit in the balcony or family circle. It was mentioned to me by the director of education that because our school has a reputation for being so well prepared and appreciative of what goes into creating an opera, we were granted this privilege.
Students spent several classes preparing for the opera by engaging in activities such as listening to the arias, acting out parts of the story, and talking about the connections between their opera jobs and the jobs in the professional opera world.
At the second intermission, concertmaster for the Metropolitan Opera orchestra and D-E parent, David Chan, came to the lobby to speak to us about the production and to answer any questions. We learned a great deal and truly appreciated Mr. Chan taking time to speak with us.
Here are some reflections from students in 5th grade:
Leah F: It was good – I liked that it was dramatic – the scenes, the backgrounds, the singing, the drama…
David L: I don’t speak any Italian – most operas are in different languages, they are rarely seen in English. Even though I didn’t understand the language, it was a great opera. Descending down the death scene was showing you that they were underground and people above them were on ground level. What I really enjoyed was how the scenery looked so real. I liked that they were brought out of a real place. It was cool how the set moved up and how another set took its place underneath!
Demir: I liked the deep, loud voices to show the dramatic scenes.
Arhan: ….it shows us if we want to go far, you can. If you choose the job of performer, or electrician… you can see how your job takes a lot of work.
Uma: I was surprised – I thought they would speak in some parts, but they sang the whole time. I didn’t know that people could sing so high.
Kayla: I thought it was very interesting. Some parts of the story I didn’t remember exactly, so I looked at the monitor that showed the words that they were singing. It was beautiful, relaxing, very entertaining. I can’t believe they had real horses on stage!
David L: I noticed when they marched back from the war, the lights were bright; when the father talked to Aida, they were dark…
Sierra: The lighting for nighttime was really good – it was bluish black…
Christina: When it was night and Aida was talking to her father, the costumes were dark and weren’t vey bright – when it was daytime, they were wearing light colored costumes.
Jackson: I was looking to see where the light was coming from, and they were way up high in the air.
John: It made me want to go to Egypt.
Alex F: My grandmother said that when she saw Aida they had elephants on stage.
*(This is true. Many years ago when I first saw Aida they did have elephants on stage).
It was a wonderful day at the opera. The opera house, the music, the scenery, the costumes, the singing, and all of the elements that go into making an opera is an experience one is likely to remember for a lifetime.