Hillbrow kids to get first taste of opera

A group of children from Hillbrow will be given the opportunity to experience opera for the first time on Friday, 19 April at the Joburg Promusica Theatre in Roodepoort, thanks to TheMarketingSite.com, an online marketing and communications knowledge hub.

When Winnifred Knight, MD of TheMarketingSite.com heard about South African opera tenor Stéfan Louw’s mission to bring opera to everyone in a time where arts and culture is in dire need of exposure to the youth, she acted without delay.

“I decided to make a block booking for his next concert and sponsor those tickets to children,” she explains. “According to Louw, opera audiences are literally dying (of old age) and this would be an opportunity to introduce the young ones to opera and its beautiful music and dramatisations.”

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Efforts such as these play a huge part in introducing young children to opera and it beautiful music and dramatisations (Images: Emlo Communications)
The Hillbrow Theatre Project’s Creative Director, Gerard Bester, offers after school performing arts programmes for children, between the ages of 12 and 19, who live and go to school in Hillbrow and the inner city of Johannesburg. He believes that, through play, acting and singing, children work through issues that they have to face on a daily basis.

“Over 180 children benefit from our programmes each year,” says Bester. “We currently run weekly workshops at six inner city schools and open drama classes over the weekend. Our aim is to develop a culture of appreciation for arts and culture and we are extremely thankful for this opportunity to introduce ten children in this year’s programmes to opera.”

OPERA FOR EVERYONE

Louw, who started producing his own concerts in 2010 due to a decline in popularity of full opera productions in Gauteng, calls this production Aria! Opera for Everyone.

“The idea of the concert is to sing famous as well as lesser-known opera arias with piano accompaniment. A narrator then tells the story of the arias so that the audience, most of whom do not speak Italian, French and German, can understand what the aria is about. This way I hope to attract newcomers to the art form.

“In the 1990 movie Pretty Woman, Edward said to Vivian at the end of La Traviata: ‘People’s reactions to opera the first time they see it is very dramatic; they either love it or they hate it. If they love it, they will always love it. If they don’t, they may learn to appreciate it, but it will never become part of their soul.’

“All I can pray for is that those people who see my concert for the first time, and especially this group of youngsters from the Hillbrow Theatre Project, will love opera.”

If you would like to introduce a child to opera, please contact Marisa on 082 878 6190 or send an e-mail to marisa@emlo.co.za.