Explore Opera! with Opera San Antonio at the San Antonio Public Library

Explore Opera! for Kids from OPERA San Antonio at the San Antonio Public Library | San Antonio Charter Moms

In anticipation of its 2017-18 season, OPERA San Antonio is bringing opera to young audiences at the San Antonio Public Library.

Last week, my children and I got to hear professional opera singers perform at an Explore Opera! for Kids event at the Las Palmas Branch Library. There will be an even bigger Explore Opera! for Kids event this weekend at the Central Library, on Saturday, August 19, 2017 at 12 p.m., featuring excerpts from OPERA San Antonio’s upcoming production of Verdi’s Macbeth.

Madeline Elizondo, mezzo soprano, singing at Explore Opera! for Kids at the San Antonio Public Library | San Antonio Charter Moms

The performers at the Las Palmas event were mezzo soprano Madeline Elizondo and baritone Rob Saldaña, accompanied on piano. Both Elizondo and Saldaña will perform again at Central Library, joined by more singers.

Rob Saldaña, baritone, singing at Explore Opera! for Kids at the San Antonio Public Library | San Antonio Charter Moms

The program at Las Palmas featured arias (songs) from several well-known operas, including The Barber of Seville, Carmen, and Die tote Stadt. Elizondo and Saldaña took time between each aria to introduce opera concepts to the all-ages audience. Some facts we learned:

  • The un-amplified voice—no microphones—is one of the things that distinguishes opera from other types of vocal performance, like musical theater or popular music.
  • The word “opera” is Italian and means “works.” The first operas were collections of songs performed together, which the singers began to act out; add costumes and more elaborate staging, and you have the opera we know today.
  • Opera music was the popular music of its time, from the 16th century to the early 20th century.
  • Operas are written (and sung) in many different languages. At Explore Opera!, we heard arias sung in Italian, French, and German.
  • Singers’ voices are in different ranges. Elizondo is a mezzo soprano, which means she often plays supporting roles—with a few exceptions, such as Carmen, a bad-girl leading lady.
  • Opera librettists (writers) and composers often make unexpected choices. The audience was surprised to learn that, in the soulful aria from Die tote Stadt, Saldaña was playing the role of a clown.

Elizondo and Saldaña also answered questions from the audience.

Mezzo soprano Madeline Elizondo and baritone Rob Saldaña at Explore Opera! for Kids at the San Antonio Public Library | San Antonio Charter Moms

 

On August 19, 2017 at 12 p.m., visit Central Library for another Explore Opera! for Kids event, with more guests, more of opera’s “Greatest Hits,” and excerpts from the upcoming production of Verdi’s Macbeth. Families are welcome. Explore Opera! for Kids is supported by the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Explore Opera! for Kids with OPERA San Antonio at the San Antonio Public Library | San Antonio Charter Moms

 

As the first production of its 2017-18 season, OPERA San Antonio is presenting Verdi’s Macbeth on Friday, September 8, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, September 10, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. in the H-E-B Performance Hall at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. To purchase tickets, go online or contact the box office.

OPERA San Antonio's production of Verdi's Macbeth coming to the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts on September 8 and 10, 2017 | San Antonio Charter Moms

OPERA San Antonio's production of Verdi's Macbeth coming to the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts on September 8 and 10, 2017 | San Antonio Charter Moms

These images, and the title image at the top of the post, are courtesy of the Glimmerglass Festival, from whom OPERA San Antonio is borrowing sets and costumes for Macbeth.

More about OPERA San Antonio:

sachartermoms

Parent-activist and education blogger in San Antonio, Texas, USA. Helping parents make informed school choices and explore cultural activities.

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