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Music with a message

Opera brings anti-bullying ideas to Charlton Street School

Elaine Crane, left, and Erin Conley play sisters in the Worcester Opera Works production of “Diamonds and Toads” at the Charlton Street School on Friday, April 8. Adam T. Silva. (click for larger version)
April 11, 2011
SOUTHBRIDGE — The Worcester Opera Works presented "Diamonds and Toads" to the third-graders at Charlton Street School on Friday, April 8.

The opera was worked into a larger lesson of anti-bullying, a subject the school has recently spent much time on. The Opera Works go from school to school with operas with larger messages attached to them.

Charles Perrault wrote the 17th-century story, but the Opera Works added the music of Mozart, along with their own lyrics. The Mozart compositions used are from "The Marriage of Figaro," "Don Giovanni" and "The Magic Flute."

"The way to get kids interested in things is to teach them," explained founder Elaine Crane. "We like to have teenagers in our operas. We bring the operas to schools to expose kids to this kind of thing. The first show that we did was 'Little Red Riding Hood,' which was written by a contemporary composer and taught about the dangers of strangers. It's great to have a message and not just teach them about the music."

Sadly, the actor portraying the wolf moved to Florida, which caused them to chose another play to present to young students. According to Crane, a large problem they face is finding male actors who are able to take time off in the middle of the day to travel to schools to perform.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

Janines Frostee
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