Florida Grand Opera opens its doors for family day

Arts / Article

By Stephanie Necuze, Florida Grand Opera

Opera – a mysterious and at times intimidating world of big voices, extravagant makeup and glass-breaking high notes that many find puzzling. To a child at least, these common misconceptions can create a distorted image of what opera really is–a glamorous, complex and culture-rich realm of true artistry. This is why Florida Grand Opera (FGO) has pulled back to the curtain once again in an effort to educate the children of South Florida and their families about opera through its annual Family Day series.

On April 30th and May 14th, families flocked to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade and the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, respectively, for a behind the scenes, up close and personal look at what goes into making of opera. Each event – free and open to the public – attracted nearly 150 participants consisting of parents as well as children of all ages.

Split into age-appropriate sessions to better engage the young audience, the events started with a short recital by members of FGO’s Young Artist Studio. Performers in their early 20s and 30s sang selections from various well-known operas as well as familiar musical theater pieces, impressing onlookers with the power of their voices. A Q&A session followed, allowing guests to interact with the artists and learn more about the career of an opera singer, asking a wide range of questions from “how can you sing so loud without a microphone?” to “do you understand what your singing when it’s in a another language?” Children also got to meet some of FGO’s talented “super fighters”, supernumeraries (or extras) tasked specifically with sword fighting roles. The supers talked a bit about their training, engaged in fencing exercises with the kids and even performed a full fight demonstration choreographed especially for the occasion.

The highlight of the day was a make-up demonstration by FGO’s lead make-up artist, where she applied the prosthetic nose used in the current production of Cyrano to a young volunteer. The audience was able to see the entire process up-close and ask questions as it happened. As a thank you to our brave volunteer for her participation, she got to take the silicone nose home with her as a souvenir – with instructions on how to remove it, of course.

Guests also enjoyed other activities such as: an “Instrument Petting Zoo” with professional musicians and hands-on access to various instruments; a production demonstration featuring a load-in video as well as live scenery changes on the stage; and arts and crafts projects to make a take-home memento.

FGO is proud to have very rich education and community outreach programs, creating free events for opera new comers to experience and explore the world of opera. For more information on upcoming events with Florida Grand Opera, check out our website at www.fgo.org or follow us on Facebook.