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Opera is for Everyone!

The whole school from reception to Year 11 enjoyed a day of opera during the first week back to school this September. Led by Mark Llewelyn Evans, the creative director of the ABC of Opera, the children spent the day learning about 500 years of opera - where it all began, the major operatic composers and the rivalry that existed between them in addition to having a sing and dressing up.

Mark firmly believes that 'Opera is for Everyone' and after our second opera day I think Sark School agrees, including Freya who said " Opera was made fun because we were so involved. I loved how we watched a short film where we found out opera was in a lot of our faviourite TV programmes like Mr Bean and The Simpsons."


Mark was joined in school by the whole team of opera singers taking part in the Opera Sark Festival, including mezzo-soprano Yvonne Howard and tenor Dominic Natoli. As the story of opera was told they were able to perform snippets of famous arias as well as demonstrate the different operatic voices to the children. "I enjoyed hearing the different pitches of each voice. I'm not an opera fan but this was truly amazing! I could not think of anything I didn't enjoy." said Esmee.


The singers were joined by pianist Liz Rowe who also came last year with Mark. As Georgia said, "I was really impressed by Liz, the pianist."

As we learnt about the story of opera, including the sad, sad story of Lully who wrote the first opera but, as it is lost after he died due to an accident with his conducting stick on the opening night, no-one knows about him, we also learnt interesting facts about the composers such as how Bizet had to teach piano to make ends meet despite writing the now very popular opera, Carmen. Mark told us that he believes this is one of the operas that is performed somewhere in the world every single day!

The famous composers not only wrote amazing music, telling fantatsic stories but also said things that could help us with our learning in school. This is particularly so of Beethoven who said -

"It is better to hit the wrong note confidently than not to have tried at all. Never be afraid to be wrong or embarrass yourself, there is always something more to learn."

What an important message for us all to remember in our lessons!

The Opera Day in school was the first event of the second Opera Sark Festival which continued with gala concerts at the Island Hall and 'pop-up' concerts at Stocks Hotel and the Sablonnerie. Some pupils were lucky enough to go to these events, including Edouard who had a great surprise during the Monday evening Operetta Gala when he ended up on stage dancing with Mark and Dominic as part of their performance of the Gendarmes duet by Offenbach. He also had his photograph taken with all the singers after the show!


Everyone enjoyed our second experience of opera including Adam who said "I like opera because it is funny. I liked learning about the famous opera conductors like Lully and Monteverdi." If anything, everyone wanted to do even more singing and acting as part of their opera experience and so plans are already being made for our third opera day, hopefully in September 2017. Meanwhile many thanks to Mark and his super team of colleagues for making opera come alive in Sark School and giving our new school year such a great start.