The end of a year is a time of gratitude and spreading joy and Opera for the Young is participating in a big way! Thanks to the good-humor and leadership of our creative staff and artists, and above-all to the support of generous friends and organizations, OFTY’s Hansel & Gretel: The Interactive Film Edition is coming to schools in January 2021.

“We are THRILLED!” messaged a music teacher in Oak Park, IL. “My students have asked many times this year.” And she’s not alone. Children have missed out on field trips, sporting events, and even singing together in the classroom, but Opera for the Young’s Hansel & Gretel: The Interactive Film Edition will ensure that students don’t miss the experience of OPERA this school year. Our quality virtual content will provide students with a valuable theatrical experience despite school closures and rules prohibiting visitors.

Hansel & Gretel is a flexible program to be used at home or in the classroom: schools can tailor the activities to match their current education format. OFTY’s professional artists interact with students through the camera – inviting them to perform motions and if possible, sing and speak their roles throughout the show. There are three components to this digital presentation: tutorial videos where our singers teach the music and motions for each of the children’s chorus pieces, costume design activity videos (created in partnership with Madison Children’s Museum!) to help students create a costume for each of their three characters – Ragamuffin, Pixie, and Gingerbread Cookie, and an interactive performance of OFTY’s Hansel & Gretel to be performed WITH students featuring cues and mentoring for kids from the adults. In addition to this digital content, our Student Handbook (now an INDEPENDENT WORKBOOK) and Teacher Guide will still provide ample complementary activities and discussion.

YOUR SUPPORT IS CRUCIAL TO OFTY THIS SEASON. Schools have been hit hard, and we’ve reduced our school fees drastically to ease their burden this season. Our own touring expenses have been replaced with the expense of creating a feature film: green screens, lighting, filming and editing. Careful planning and execution has allowed our artists to record safely without risking their health for their art: each artist performed in the safety of their home (or studio) and all alone, using a green screen and light set-up provided by Opera for the Young. Accomplishing our mission to ignite enthusiasm for opera in children is not without its challenges this season, but with a creative adaptable spirit, and most importantly, YOUR SUPPORT, Opera for the Young’s Hansel & Gretel will be a magical success.