Last night, pupils from The Totteridge Academy took to the stage at the Copper Box Arena to perform in a fantastic production of Carmen! alongside their peers from United Learning’s national group of schools.
The pupils joined over 1,000 others for the unique performance of the ‘Choice of Don Jose’ from Bizet’s Carmen! at the Olympic Park. Their performance is the culmination of a year’s partnership between United Learning, of which The Totteridge Academy is a part, the Royal Opera House, The Voices Foundation and the English Pocket Opera Company.
Using the Royal Opera House’s Create and Sing learning resources and with teacher training delivered by The Voices Foundation, the pupils at The Totteridge Academy were introduced to opera. Over the past few months, they have immersed themselves in the world of opera, listening and learning to understand the genre, and even more impressively, delivering their very own operatic performance of Carmen!.
The colourful and energetic performance, which was staged and directed by the English Pocket Opera Company, delighted over 700 spectators including parents and guests from the world of opera, music and education. The pupils used the knowledge and skills they acquired through the rehearsal process to deliver an unforgettable performance and came away feeling proud and inspired to continue nurturing their musical abilities.
James McEvoy-Stevenson, Head of Music at The Totteridge Academy, said:
“I feel so proud of our students. They worked incredibly hard all year to produce a truly spectacular performance of Carmen. Before engaging with this project, many of them had not even heard of opera – now they are already asking me when we are doing the next one!”
Pupil David Hay said:
“Singing at the Olympic Park with all of the other students from across the country was amazing. I really enjoyed learning Carmen, because I think the music is great. Performing it, with my friends, and the professional musicians, is something that I think I will remember for a long time.”
Another pupil, Demi-Leigh Ashley, said:
“Before learning Carmen, I thought opera was just really loud and boring. Now I’ve seen that it’s really exciting and actually fun! I was nervous, performing in front of all those people in such a huge arena. But when it started, and we began singing all of the songs, I just forgot about that and enjoyed myself. I’m definitely going to go and see an opera soon.”
Catherine Barker, Head of Music and Performing Arts at United Learning, said:
“All of the pupils gave a superb performance in which their new-found love of opera really shone through. The sound of 1,000 pupils singing together was mesmerising and was a true celebration of music. Congratulations to all the pupils who sang and performed magnificently and thank you to our fantastic staff for throwing themselves into this ambitious project with such enthusiasm.
“We are fortunate to have been able to partner with the Royal Opera House, The Voices Foundation and the English Pocket Opera Company for this project. With their support, expertise and resources, we were able to give our pupils the very best musical learning opportunities and plant the seeds for a lifelong love of opera and musical performance.
“Projects like these which teach pupils new skills, broaden their horizons and give them memorable experiences are part of United Learning’s commitment to deliver an Education with Character. As well as introducing our pupils to a new genre of music, this project has given them the opportunity to perform in a fantastic venue, collaborate with their peers from across the country and be part of a special celebration of talent and creativity. I am delighted that we have been able to provide this for our pupils and I look forward to seeing them build on this experience as they develop into confident, articulate and ambitious young adults.”