Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Opera comes to Keiskamma Music Academy

Keiskamma Music Academy wrapped up 2012 with a bang! 

We were joined for our ten day Christmas workshop by a host of international visitors. Ellen Marie Prag from Norway worked with our violin students on their technique and musicianship.  Paulus van der Merwe, a South African who connects us to Hamburg, Germany through his work as principal oboist for the NDR symphony, visited Hamburg South Africa again to continue the relationships he has established with our ensembles and to provide intense solo coaching for several senior students.

We were also delighted to spend two days with the team from Opera for Change, a group from the United Kingdom that has been travelling from Nairobi to Cape Town on a pilot project with the goal of introducing the world of opera to communities across Africa.  This initiative is providing local children with the opportunity to express themselves while interacting with the various components of opera: music, movement, and theatre.

In preparation for this workshop we learned about Mozart’s Magic Flute, an opera that contains all the elements for a classic opera hit: love, hate, revenge, and an angry mother.  We even learned to play some music from the opera on our recorders.

Photo: Jen Hoyer

Andy Staples of Opera for Change led us in creating our own opera about a fantastical world filled with dragons, unicorns and magicians.  He also brought a portable recording studio that allowed students to interact with recording technology and try their hand at recording their own music.  A video of our two days with Opera for Change highlights some of these fun activities.

Our workshop wrapped up with the annual Hamburg Christmas Concert.  For our Bodiam music students who joined us during the workshop, this was the first opportunity to perform.  Everyone had a wonderful time ringing in the holidays with Christmas music and opera melodies!