Opera in HD in NYC schools

Seen This Wednesday Morning
January 15, 2008 9:00:00 PM PST
They're learning about opera at the Grand Street Campus High Schools in Williamsburg. But they're not just reading and writing about it. They're also going to the opera, at school!

Last Saturday, they took part in a world-class production of Shakespeare's Macbeth.

It's the Metropolitan Opera's HD in Schools program, produced by the Met, along with New York City's Department of Education.

The live performances are simulcast on Saturdays to a number of schools in the five boroughs, for free.

"It just bought everything to live," said student, Rachel St. Pierre. "The acting, songs and lyrics just go perfect with the opera."

The students have also seen Romeo and Juliet and Hansel and Gretel. Future productions include Manon Lescaut and La Boheme.

"Our concern is, during intermission, to see if they are going to come back," said Kenneth McLaughlin at Grand Street High Schools Campus. "And we are happy to report, yes, they are coming back from intermission for entire opera."

"I thought opera was just about singing and, you know, boring but it was really good," said student Katrina Surja. "It had a lot of action and a lot of drama."

"I actually liked it," said student Lincoln Jacobs.

Opera is also being woven into the curriculum of classes like music, English, social studies and even history.

"MacBeth is one of books we cover in English classes," said Juan Mendez at Grand Street High Schools Campus. "Members who attended opera also take music or become a member of the chorus."

The idea is to make this kind of cultural experience something kids will want to do for the rest of their lives.

"Hopefully later on the future, they feel more comfortable in this type of professional settings," said Kenneth McLaughlin

Each borough has a school where the opera is simulcast. And it's open not just to students, but also to people in the community.

The next simulcast is Saturday, February 16. For more information, visit MetOperaFamily.org/metopera and click on "Live in HD NYC Schools."