TEXAS—October 27, 2020—The Texas Opera Alliance (TOA) is proud to announce the launch of the Teen Opera Club of Texas. In early October, Austin Opera (AO), The Dallas Opera (TDO), Fort Worth Opera (FWO), Houston Grand Opera (HGO), and OPERA San Antonio (OSA) announced the creation of TOA to advance and protect the future of the art form in Texas. In the spirit of this alliance, and during a time when outreach to schools is limited, education representatives from each company have joined forces to create this new initiative.
The Teen Opera Club of Texas (TOCT) provides free opportunities for any teen 13-19 years of age to learn about and engage with opera happening in Texas. The club includes access to opera artists and administrative personnel from each organization who will share insights and expertise on a variety of topics. Participants will learn about opera performance, production and design, the creation of new opera, and conducting opera orchestras. As members, students will receive monthly invites to virtual gatherings and watch parties on platforms such as Zoom, Squad, and YouTube channels hosted by each opera company.
“Fort Worth Opera education department is proud to stand alongside these amazing companies and form a creative alliance as big as Texas itself,” says Manager of Education and Community Engagement at FWO Sheran Keyton. “While each education department has presented stellar educational outreach programs on their own, this project allows the youth in Texas to experience a one-of-a-kind opportunity to work with other companies outside of their area. The possibilities are limitless!”
“Austin Opera is thrilled to collaborate with the education leaders from the Texas Opera Alliance companies to provide this new opportunity for teens,” says Debra Erck, director of education at AO. “Whether members of the Teen Opera Club dream of performing onstage, have a passion for the creative process behind the scenes, or just appreciate a great performance, we could not be more excited to support and nurture this special group of young people.”
The club will meet monthly, with the first gathering on Thursday, October 29 at 6:30 p.m. CDT. Members will meet to watch HGO’s 69th world premiere Katie: Strongest of the Strong by Faye Chiao, composer, and Anton Dudley, librettist. After the performance, HGO will host the teens for a special Q&A with the cast of the opera including composer, Faye Chiao and soprano, Chabrelle Williams.
“During a time where we all feel distanced and are missing live performances, it is such an honor to partner with these incredible organizations and bring great art to a broader audience,” says Carleen Graham, director of HGOco, HGO’s community and learning arm. “We value what each company brings to this collaboration and are confident that Texas teens will enjoy a rich and varied experience with access to great art. What a great opportunity to help connect teens from across the state and teach them about the many facets of opera!”
The second gathering, hosted by OSA, will take place on Thursday, November 19 at 6:30 p.m. CST. OSA’s General & Artistic Director E. Loren Meeker takes the members on a visual adventure exploring how the creative team for her production of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen constructed scenic and costume designs to bring the “fantastical tale of nature meets humanity” to life.
“By igniting passion and enthusiasm for this powerful art form we will have a lasting impact on the next generation,” says OSA Education Coordinator Madeline Elizondo. “Opportunities to connect and unify teens from across the globe are limitless thanks to this incredible new partnership. We look forward to empowering the youth of today with a love for opera through experiences that are relevant and engaging for young opera fans.”
Any student who meets the age criteria and interested in the club is welcome to join by filling out a brief form here. No background in music is required to participate.
“The Dallas Opera Education Department is delighted to join forces with our esteemed colleagues in the Texas Opera Alliance to provide this arts experience for teens across Texas and beyond,” notes TDO director of education Kristian Roberts. “Thanks to advanced technology, which allows connection and creation in virtual spaces, young people will have the opportunity to engage with five opera companies to explore the many aspects of this unique art form without the geographical limitations that may have prevented them from doing so before. That is incredibly exciting!”
For more information about the club or the Texas Opera Alliance, visit: http://texasoperaalliance.org