Second grade students composed and performed original operas on February 10 based on the children’s books Serious Trouble, by Arthur Howard, and Dooby Dooby Moo, by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin. Each class read one of the books and adapted the story by adding characters and events according to their interests.
To prepare for their performances, students learned about operatic arias, which are typically songs that could be performed as a unified piece separate from an opera. They experimented with recitative, which is the conversational music that characters use for dialogue.
Each child then picked the character he or she wanted to portray and composed melodies for their recitatives. They worked as a class to create the lyrics for arias and collaborated to compose the melodies and rhythms. Students worked hard to learn their singing parts. They added facial expressions and gestures and spent a great deal of time developing their stage character. The resulting operas were a smash hit with Beasley students, teachers and parents.