There is probably nothing more important in music education than introducing school-age persons to the vast and exciting world of classical music and opera. Right in the thick of such programs is Knoxville Opera, which for the fourth year is touring an opera production to local elementary, middle, and high schools in the Knoxville area.
This year’s production is Bizet’s Carmen in a specially prepared, sung-in-English version complete with costumes and scenery, and accompanied and narrated by Brian Salesky, executive director of Knoxville Opera.
“The overwhelming response from the past three seasons of in-school performances of Romeo & Juliette, Cinderella, and The Elixir of Love has inspired us to continue to share the music and cultural elements of operas with our local students,” said Salesky. “It’s a wonderful way to transport these young people to another place and time, to educate them in arts and culture, and to inspire their own creativity.”
Sarasota Opera mezzo soprano Briana Hunter portrays the captivating Spanish gypsy girl Carmen, UT School of Music alumnus Peter Johnson performs the role of the Toreador Escamillo, and Texas tenor Sergio Cepeda plays Don Jose, the Spanish soldier whose life is inspired and then destroyed by Carmen.
The school tour through January 16 includes performances at Carter, Austin-East, Hardin Valley, and L&N STEM high schools; Holston, Farragut, Gresham, Jefferson, Carter, Northwest, and Robertsville middle schools; and Brickey-McCloud, New Hopewell, West Haven, West Hills, and Maynard elementary schools.
All students from the East Tennessee region are also invited to attend the “Student Dress Rehearsal” of the complete and fully-staged production of Carmen on Wednesday, February 11, at 6:30p.m. at the Tennessee Theatre. This performance is free to students of all ages. Doors open at 5:30p.m. with open seating.