OperaFirst: The Creation
In June and July, 2016, our creative team of Karen Gillingham (Director), Suzi Zumpe (Music Director), Jonathan Williams (repetiteur), Peter Willcock (baritone) and Rob Gildon (baritone) delivered a high-quality musical experience for 176 primrary school children, including those with special educational needs.
The team worked with pupils from Millbrook Combined Primary, Lane End Primary, Heritage House special school, Stokenchurch Primary, Frieth CE School, Ibstone Primary and Chalgrove Primary School, delivering full-day workshops based on the musical and dramatic themes in Haydn's The Creation and Richard Taylor's Creation. Pupils debated issues around different creation stories, before learning different arias and choral pieces and putting together a large-scale acting, music and dance performance alongside Garsington Opera professionals.
The schools grouped together on two cluster days at Millbrook and Lane End schools to refine the devised work, before all joining together for a final performance day at Cressex School on 6 July. All participants were invited to watch the Stage and Orchestra rehearsal of Haydn's The Creation at Wormsley. For many children this was their first visit to the opera.
The children were completely blown away by the amazing performance yesterday and I think you have a few converts - they couldn't stop talking about it this morning.
Tim Williams, Lane End Primary School
Despite their young age, the children loved the experience and sat quite mesmerised during the performance. Their little faces positively lit up! It was wonderful to see! The whole project has been a fantastic experience for the children, affording them a unique opportunity to work with professional singers and musicians and enter the wonderful world of opera.
Helen Burns, Stokenchurch Primary School