Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in Education / comments (0) / permalink
By Katherine Semcesen, Associate Director, Education and Outreach
ASOP participants learning about baroque dancing for Theseus and the Minotaur
It's hard to believe, but the Canadian Opera Company's After School Opera Program (ASOP) is already in its 15thyear! In celebration of this milestone, we're looking back at the past 15 years and highlighting some of ASOP's most notable achievements.
In 1997, the COC embarked on an ambitious project to start an after-school program that focused on introducing children to opera. Dean Burry, an enthusiastic young composer from Gander, Newfoundland, who was working in the COC’s Ticket Services at the time, leapt at the opportunity to share his love of opera with young people. His proposal won over the COC’s education and outreach staff and, under Dean’s direction, ASOP has engaged and introduced 4,876 children and their families to opera over the last 15 years. In addition to Dean, 45 guest artists including designers, mimes, choreographers, baroque movement specialists, stage combat instructors, make-up artists, Peking opera artists and North Indian Kathak dancers and other musicians have collaborated with the young participants to produce a total of 48 brand new operas.
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Meet Omega Menkir! Pictured above in a 2007 production of Theseus and the Minotaur, Omega is a past participant of the Canadian Opera Company’s After School Opera Program (ASOP) and the third individual featured in the special blog series commemorating ASOP’s 15th anniversary celebration on June 13, 2013 in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.
Omega joined the program when she was only eight during the 2005/2006 season. From 2005 to 2007, Omega participated in seven ASOP productions with her twin brother, Alpha (who, as you can probably tell by his name, was born first). Aside from spending time with her sibling, Omega’s fondest memory of ASOP was the opera Gold of the Elements, a prelude to Das Rheingold which was written by ASOP lead artist and composer, Dean Burry, to coincide with the monumental performance of Wagner’s complete Ring Cycle by the Canadian Opera Company for the opening of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001