Opera – for children – is coming to Charlotte.
“Noah’s Flood” is a one-act, one-hour performance about the biblical character of Noah and the flood that overtook the earth. It will feature singers from Opera Carolina and The Choir School at St. Peter’s.
The younger choir school members, some as young as 7, will portray Noah’s many animals, while some older members will play members of Noah’s family and “gossips” who talk with Noah’s wife.
The result will be a full stage and a one-of-a-kind opportunity for young singers.
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“This piece is designed for kids of all ages to be a part of,” said Ben Outen, artistic director of The Choir School. “As far as our program goes, it’s a unique opportunity for all of our kids to witness what it takes to put on an opera and to work alongside professional opera singers.”
We look for every opportunity to bring professional musicians to play when we perform and for our choristers to be out in the community performing with professional artists as well.
Allison Elrod, The Choir School director
“Noah’s Flood,” written by British composer Benjamin Britten, was first performed in 1958 and has since been staged worldwide.
Outen described the music as “tuneful melodies you will walk out whistling.”
The opera was designed to be performed in venues such as churches and large halls rather than theaters.
The Charlotte performances of “Noah’s Flood” will be in the sanctuary of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on West 7th Street. Opera Carolina is supplying the set and the costumes along with three professional opera singers, including Dan Boye, who will play Noah.
Allison Elrod, The Choir School’s director of development and communications, said the school gives choristers access to Charlotte’s thriving arts community. The Choir School has 92 members from first to 12th grade.
“We look for every opportunity to bring professional musicians to play when we perform and for our choristers to be out in the community performing with professional artists as well,” Elrod said. “Beyond the artistic value, it instills confidence.”
Ryan Deal, vice president of cultural and community investment for the Arts & Science Council (ASC), said that programs that connect arts education with professional artists and arts organizations can be transformative for all.
“ASC celebrates not only the unique nature of this collaborative effort, but also the commitment by partners to making the production accessible to children and adults who may not be traditionally engaged in performances of this kind,” he said.
Because “Noah’s Flood” was written for children, including the orchestral parts, members of the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra and the CPCC Early Music Ensemble will accompany the production. The percussion section will be the largest and will feature unusual instruments.
Aurally, it is a huge palette of sounds.
Ben Outen, The Choir School artistic director
To create the sound of rain, for example, percussionists will use varying sizes of coffee mugs, Outen said.
Student performers are now in rehearsal weekly, learning and memorizing music and preparing to stage the opera. Children playing animals will do a “wonderful parade of animals into the ark,” and, at the end of the opera when the ark is unloaded, they will become the rainbow, Outen said.
“It’s a very moving moment,” he said.
Families are encouraged to attend.
“Aurally, it is a huge palette of sounds,” Outen said. “Visually, it will be a lot of fun to watch. For a family who’s interested in their children experiencing a fully sung opera, you can’t find a better choice.”
Marty Minchin is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Noah’s Flood” will be performed Oct. 29-31 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 115 W. 7th St. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children, and they can be purchased at http://carolinatix.org/events/detail/noahs-flood.
For more information about The Choir School at St. Peter’s, visit http://www.thechoirschool.org.