Jukka Nykänen – Juhani Koivisto
School opera: The Makings of a Star
WHAT’S THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY AND PLANET EARTH?
An important topic comes up when a school class gets a visit from the Minister of the Future. The minister champions economic growth and plans to unveil a new program to drive it, even at the risk of depleting natural resources. The students oppose his ideas, but how can they make their environmental concerns heard? A plan is conceived, and soon the minister is in for a surprise.
”From this planet on which we depend,– AN EXCERPT FROM THE SCHOOL OPERA LIBRETTO (freely translated from Finnish)
we see our universe with no end,
and grasp what we already know:
our atoms date from eons ago.”
HOW THE PERFORMANCE IS BORN
To prepare for the school opera project, a group of 40-60 students from grades 4 to 6 explores the music, characters, and themes of the production together with their teachers. They discuss the opera’s theme across different subjects, with extensive study materials provided by the Finnish National Opera. Before the performance, the director and pianist visit the school for a full day to rehearse the music and stage direction. The production also features a song that all the students sing together from memory during the dress rehearsal.
On the performance day, students from the school and their families are invited to witness the production in its full glory, including costumes, make-up, sets, singers, and musicians. Students attend the dress rehearsal at 2 p.m., and the production is presented to an external audience at 6 p.m. The school handles the ticket sales, and the proceeds are distributed among the entire school or the classes involved in the performance. The project cost for the school is €700. Many schools use the ticket proceeds to cover this expense and spend the remaining funds on an activity of their choice, such as a school trip.
The opera project’s aim is to inspire students to sing, enhance their self-awareness, develop their social interaction skills, and introduce them to the world of opera, all while creating an invigorating and empowering experience through teamwork.
In 2022, the school opera visited 39 schools across Finland, and in spring 2023, it reached 12 schools nationwide.
- Jukka Nykänen
- Juhani Koivisto
- Ann-Mari Ohtamaa
- Reeta Tuoresmäki
- Reeta Tuoresmäki
- Lighting design
- Vesa Pohjolainen