School Programs

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School Outreach

Angela Usobiaga, Coordinator

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Over the past 25 Years, Taconic Opera has reached out to as many as 6000 school children a year in their schools. In addition, since the year 2000, over 12,000 children have attended our mainstage operas (the same one's that our adults attend) at special Thursday morning performances set aside especially for schools. During these performance, our cast, orchestra, technical help all get off of work and donate their time so that children can be exposed to this art form.

Of all art forms, opera is a synthesis. It includes theater and acting, dance, music, languages, art, design, history and literature. It supports a complete curriculum. Exposure to the arts increases I.Q. and increases test scores while helping to develop the creative and problem solving parts of the brain.

How can your school participate in the morning mainstage operas for schools?

Currently, the company requests a very low fee of $10 per participant, but the fees are eligible for state aid via the Arts in Education Program administered by BOCES of Northern Westchester. Taconic Opera will assist your school in applying if needed. Additional funding is sometimes available as well. Ask us.

2. Do you have further funding issues with busses? Reach out to Angela Usobiaga, our coordinator, who will help you with a bus grant through Arts Westchester.

3. Contact Angela to reserve your seats (not time slot). Because these performances are so popular with school districts, seats are reserved in the order in which requests are received. They fill up quickly. Press the button above to reserve your spot.

4. Read some of our reviews below from schools that have attended.

What else will you receive?

Participating schools will receive free advance preparation materials for both students and teachers. Students receiving these materials have been shown to have the highest level of enjoyment and understanding at the performance.

Performances will have supertitles (simultaneous English translations) projected above the stage during the performance so your students get every nuance or joke from the libretto.

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Some reviews from our local schools

“Thank you for the wonderful opportunity offered to my students on April 22
[Dona Flor & Suor Angelica.] Both shows were very professional and the setting was so intimate that the kids could really understand the immense amount of work that goes into mounting something like this. Your opera program is a hidden treasure, and I'm very blessed to have 'discovered' the Taconic Opera through my principal, Dr. Moran. Thank you again and please let me know of any opportunities in the future. We will definitely be there!!”

- James Gedge, Eastchester Middle School

“Thank you so much for the incredible performance. The children were very impressed! It is RARE that our students are exposed to culture of this nature, and we are glad for the opportunity to broaden their horizon and experience. Hopefully, it will inspire them to attend future cultural performances. There was not a student who did not express their appreciation and amazement about how a human voice without microphones could project such strength and melody. We really appreciated the personalized introduction at the beginning of the opera which set the stage for the performance. We are looking forward to a continuing relationship with you in the years to come.”

- Carmela Cevetillo, Gorton High School, Yonkers

“I would like to thank you for the very positive experience we had at yesterday’s viewing of Tosca. The students were VERY WELL PREPARED, due to the wonderful pre-show materials you supplied us with. The YouTube links were especially helpful, giving them a glimpse of what is to come. Many of my students had never attended an opera before and most of them left the experience with comments of “thank you” and “that was great!” It was wonderful to see the students excited about opera. The woman playing the role of Tosca was appealing because of her beauty and most of all, her great talents both as a singer and actress. I believe this is what made the students really love the opera. Thank you for having us, and we hope to return annually.”

- Carol Arrucci, Blue Mountain Middle School

“Thank you for the opportunity that your organization provided to my students. By sending me the Booklet Opera Etiquette and All About Supertitles, the Synopsis, and the background information about the composers and the historical backdrop of the operas, the students were prepared for the experience. For all the students that I took, it was the first time they got a chance to enjoy an opera. The following day we debriefed and discussed the experience. The comments from these "teenagers" were great and very positive.”

- America Santiago-Vazquez, Gorton High School

“It {Nabucco] was great! The students enjoyed it very much as well. We were pleased to hear and see how excited they were about opera. You definitely changed the mind of those who easily would say “I do not like opera.” Thank you and good luck!”

- Josephine Circosta, Soundview Preparatory School Continued on page 2

“The performance [Nabucco] was outstanding! The cast was superb, and Abigail - what a voice! The Opera was powerful, the way it should be. The encore - my favorite - and the extra touch...the Italian super titles. I did sing along! I was at the MET on Sept. 27, no encore and the soprano was not at her best...the whole thing lacked power. Nabucco without the encore is inconceivable. My students enjoyed it very much and I thank you so much for the invitation.”

- Maria Battipaglia, Harrison High School

“We truly enjoyed the "Nabucco" performance. Our Mahopac H.S. Italian Club attends opera performances at the Met and I have to tell you that we were impressed with the quality of the singers and the orchestra. Our high school students truly enjoyed the experience. On behalf of us club co-advisors/teachers and our students, Yvonne Viebrock and I would like to thank you profoundly for this rewarding experience and your dedication to the performing arts. We are looking forward to attending again in the future. Grazie Mille!”

- Yvonne Viebrock & Luciano Racco, Mahopac High School