Last week I went to back to school.

I made a visit to Newell Elementary to watch Opera Express’s performance of Jack and the Beanstalk.

Express is Opera Carolina’s educational touring company for children.
The program is designed to help children understand and appreciate
opera as an art form.
What a delight it was to watch an operatic performance of a story I hadn’t heard since I was a kid.

The cafeteria was packed with students from third to fifth grade who sat and eagerly watched the performance.

I became engrossed in the story, it was awesome to see the kids as they
ooohed and aaahed, especially when Jack’s beanstalk began to grow right
before their eyes.

The three-character play lasted about 45
minutes and incorporated teaching moments, like the scene where the
mean giant learned the importance of treating people as he would want
to be treated.

The children especially enjoyed the comedic
energy of the silly giant (played by Byron Barr). His heavy bass voice
filled the room and kept the children’s full attention.

Afterwards the kids asked the cast the cutest questions, like,  “Did you have to go to opera school to learn to sing?”

They were also interested in the set design and the “Little Jack” puppet played by Noah Rice.

The students’ raw enthusiasm left me wondering why we, as adults, can’t experience art with such child-like wonderment.

Why do so many of us shun experiences just because they are unfamiliar to us?

I’ll admit, I know little about opera, but I’m more than willing to experience the art form.

the coming months, will explore opera and give readers a
chance to win tickets to performances at Opera Carolina.

I hope you’ll find the child inside.

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