Opera reaches Tahoe pupils | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Opera reaches Tahoe pupils

Jill Darby

There is more to opera than the stereotypical image of large women in vikings’ helmets, and the Nevada Opera Education and Outreach Studio visited Zephyr Cove Elementary School Monday to prove it.

“Opera is a wonderful experience, a wonderful art form,” Nevada Opera Education Outreach Director Kathleen Kimmel said. “It involves theater, dancing, beautiful music. We want kids to know opera is cool.”

The opera group performed “The Barber of Seville” for a captivated crowd of Zephyr Cove Elementary students.

Keith Harris, Valerie Nicolosi, Kurt Alakulppi and Daniel Eifert starred as Figaro, Rosina, Count Almaviva and Dr. Bartalo, respectively. Nevada Opera Artistic Director Robin Stamper provided accompaniment on piano.

Some of the kids also had the opportunity to try out their acting skills.

“We have 10 children perform from each school we go to,” Kimmel said. “They love it.”

But the most applause that afternoon went to Zephyr Cove Elementary School music teacher Mitch Jones, who was pulled on stage for a cameo appearance. Portraying Rosina for a moment, he fanned his face, while hiding it beneath a black, lace shawl. The performance propelled numerous young bellies to shake with laughter.

Student interaction was also a big part of the show. From boos and bravos to gasps and giggles, the children gave their full attention to the program.

Stamper explained why it is important to introduce opera to children at a young age.

“It opens up minds and hearts to something different,” Stamper said. “It gives the kids a new experience. It’s a really transformative experience for them to see this kind of culture and we feel very strongly about participation.”

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