An Introduction to Opera at Die Schneekönigin

An Introduction to Opera at Die Schneekönigin
David Smith, Music Teacher

In collaboration with the Luzerner Theater and the Fund for Excellence, ISZL students are treated to a beautiful German-language production of this classic tale. 

The actors on stage. Photo Luzerner Theater / Ingo Hoehn

Photo courtesy of Luzerner Theater / Ingo Hoehn

 


ISZL’s Grade 4 and 5 trip to see Die Schneekönigin (the Snow Queen) gave students a memorable introduction to opera music in a mesmerising, creative and colourful performance. 

It was a wonderful example of collaborative teaching in our Primary School. The International Baccalaureate programme works across traditional class disciplines, and this method of teaching came into full effect to ensure our students made the very best of this opportunity. 

The production included contemporary music written for the opera by the Australian composer, Sam Penderbayne, and so the Music department discussed the concept of opera and what a contemporary opera might sound like. They also examined some excerpts from the production, looking at the different voice types involved. This ensured the students were prepared for the style of music they would hear.

Actors on stage. Photo Luzerner Theater / Ingo Hoehn

Photo courtesy of Luzerner Theater / Ingo Hoehn

As the opera was in German, the German teachers helped ISZL students who did not have German as a first language to understand the text, by working with students to translate some key parts of the opera so that the story would be clear. As part of this preparation, German mother tongue students acted out some short sections of the opera in class.

Meanwhile, the English as an Additional Language department helped their students by outlining the story within their classes.

Once we were there, the experience in the theatre was super. The students were engaged for a great deal of the 75-minute performance. It was an interactive piece, which added to the fun. Afterwards, their enthusiasm and excitement were wonderful to see. 

The cast visits the school

Two days later, ISZL was visited by several members of the cast, including the singer Vladyslav Tlushch, musicians, the artistic director Johanna Mangold and the leader of the Luzerner Youth Theater, Teresa Rotemberg. 

The students had written a great deal of questions for their guests, very many of which we were able to discuss during an hour-long question and answer session. Our visitors were very impressed with the quality of questions, to the point where some small changes were going to be made to the production after some student comments! 

The whole experience was a fascinating insight for students and staff into how an opera is put on stage, and the children were fully engaged with the guests. To have Vladyslav Tlushch the Ukrainian Baritone sing a short folk song live for ISZL students was a wonderful experience.

We are very much looking forward to our next collaboration with the Luzerner Theater and are grateful to the Fund for Excellence for this memorable event in our school curriculum.

  • FFE

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