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  • 'Do you think I could be in an opera one day?': Schoolchildren quiz soprano Ermonela Jaho

'Do you think I could be in an opera one day?': Schoolchildren quiz soprano Ermonela Jaho

As booking opens for the new Season's Schools' Matinees, soprano Ermonela Jaho answers schoolchildren's questions about opera.

By Lizzi Easterbrook (Former Content Producer (Learning and Participation))

2 May 2017 at 5.44pm | 3 Comments

Every year, we invite thousands of primary and secondary schoolchildren to experience opera and ballet for the first time. The schools take over the Royal Opera House: we’re awash with uniforms and packed lunches and the reaction is astounding. From pantomime booing, or laughter to tears, the kids are captivated, and return home bright-eyed and bubbling with questions.

We captured a selection of these queries and put them to soprano Ermonela Jaho, who sang the part of Madama Butterfly in the Schools’ Matinee performance.

'Do you think I could be in an opera one day?' asks an 11-year-old student from a primary school in Harlesden. 'Do opera singers have to eat special food to look after their voices?', asks another.

Ermonela answered them all with grace, humour and compassion – even when she was asked whether she minded 'kissing boys on stage'! – allowing a younger audience to find out about the realities of life as an opera singer.

We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience the intensity and excitement of a performance at Covent Garden and that's why every year we free up the entire auditorium for Schools' Matinee performances exclusively for children. These performances are special, not only because of the low-cost tickets, but because of the incredible atmosphere created by the children – as anyone who has heard their pop concert-esque screaming at a curtain call will attest!

Register for the Schools' Matinee performances here.

Schools' Matinee performances are generously supported by The Taylor Family Foundation.

By Lizzi Easterbrook (Former Content Producer (Learning and Participation))

2 May 2017 at 5.44pm

This article has been categorised Learning, Opera and tagged Arts Education, children, Ermonela Jaho, Learning & Participation, Madama Butterfly, Royal Ballet, Royal Opera, Schools and Colleges, Schools' matinees, The Royal Opera

This article has 3 comments

  1. David Allen responded on 6 July 2017 at 6:32pm Reply

    When I was teaching I took over the legacy of this yearly trip. Ages ranged from 8 to 11 so quite young. If I can give any teachers out there some advice, just make sure your students are REALLY prepared so they can completely enjoy the experience. Over the years I was lucky enough to take children (and some other awestruck members of staff) to La Boheme, Butterfly, Macbeth, Carmen, Turandot (twice), Tosca, Les Hugenots (God help us !!) Hansel and Gretel to name just a few. My favourite moment was when at the of La Boheme, the captain of the boys football team turned to me, tears streaming down his face and said ' that was really good but why did she have to die at the end because she was so nice'. As my local inspector said to me ( I insisted he came along to see the day), the children cant remember what they did in maths yesterday, but this experience will live on forever. It doesn't say much for the maths teaching though !!!!!!!! I seriously urge any schools to get involved in this wonderful scheme and a thoroughly unique experience.

  2. Heather responded on 23 January 2018 at 10:50am Reply

    Love this article...wonderful questions, wonderful answers!

  3. Rodolfo Rios responded on 1 January 2019 at 4:13pm Reply

    Beautiful questions, beautiful answers. How we love art!
    Yes, we have to begin with the children. It is important they know and practice art. Freedom is what they get!

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