Think Wales and Opera is never far away from your thoughts. We are world-renowned for our operatic performances as much as for our singers.
It’s all about the tradition which makes it, and the country so famous. There’s the choirs of Wales’ collieries, steel-works and chapels which all built up a great tradition of choral singing. In fact Verdi’s early operas, such as Nabucco, were hymns to national independence. So pieces like the Chorus of Hebrew Slaves became especially popular with Welsh choirs.
Our theatres were actually built with orchestra pits suitable for opera performances. Next time you’re in the New Theatre in Cardiff or Swansea’s Grand Theatre, take a look and you’ll see what we mean.
But it’s the singers and performers who bring the music to life, and we’ve got our fair share of those here in Wales. These include the sopranos Dame Gwyneth Jones, Dame Margaret Price, Rebecca Evans and Catrin Wyn Davies; mezzo Della Jones, tenors Dennis O’Neill, Robert Tear, Stuart Burrows, Gwyn Hughes Jones; baritones and basses Sir Geraint Evans, Robert Lloyd, Bryn Terfel, Neal Davies, Jason Howard, Jeremy Huw Williams and Karl Daymond.
It would be wrong of us not to mention the operatic talent that is our very own Wynne Evans. If anyone has brought opera to the masses recently, then it has to be Wynne.
Although we know him as the opera guy in the Go Compare adverts, Wynne is actually the real deal and a professionally trained opera singer with over 25 years’ experience. His debut album ‘A Song in My Heart’ went to the Number 1 in the classical charts (click on the picture below for more).
He was honoured by the National Eisteddfod with the title of Gorsedd of the Bards, where he presented the BBC2 TV programme, and most recently performed for the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at their Welsh home.
So with that amount of talent, and so much history and love of Opera here in Wales, it’s important that the tradition is kept very much alive, and it seem the ABC of Opera will do just that.
They have recently launched ‘Any Body Can’ – a new interactive and inclusive teaching resource that reimagines in-classroom learning through the medium of opera.
‘ABC of Opera’ which was founded in 2015 by Mark Evans, international Opera Baritone, and has since delivered fun and inclusive workshops in 197 schools to over 10,000 children across the UK. Along with their renowned books ‘Academy of Barmy Composers – Baroque’ and ‘Classical’ their unique learning framework takes pupils on a 500-year journey that introduces the magical world of opera through stories, costumes, props, and performance, dovetailed with practical learning, life lessons and importantly the official learning curriculum.
Any Body Can was designed with a team of education consultants, the unique learning framework takes pupils on a 500- year journey that introduces the magical world of opera through stories, costumes, props and performance, dovetailed with practical learning, life lessons and importantly, the official learning curriculum.
Aimed at young learners in years 3-6, the ABC of Opera teachers pack is an innovative introduction to literacy, geography, history, communication, languages, science and of course music, the curriculum resource is filled with life lessons and substantive material to provide a minimum of one hour of curriculum learning per week. The activities steadily build the children’s knowledge and interest, whilst supporting teachers with an activity coverage chart and supporting learning notes for each section.
Mark Llewelyn Evans is the founder of ABC, he told us………..
“The last 12 months has enabled us to rethink how the ABC can be delivered differently to make it accessible to more children. At ABC we have seen how creativity and pupil involvement enable more pupils to confidently enjoy subjects they may think are ‘not for them’. We introduce learners to the stories of opera, with filters into a whole range of curriculum topics”.
The ABC of Opera is supported by the University of Wales Trinity St David, and the Dean, Dylan Jones told us…….
“The new teachers pack means thousands of more children can experience the joy of the ABC of Opera. The team has worked with educators at the university and in schools to develop these resources, creating opportunities for children to engage with all aspects of the Curriculum for Wales as they learn about opera and the amazing characters which populate its history.”
The pack has 104 printable activities across most subjects including worksheets, videos, music, yoga, warm – ups, sign language, award winning books, animated messages from the inventor of opera Prof Peri as well as detailed teachers notes which make this an easy programme deliver that is proven to engage a greater breadth of child and to succeed at a wide variety of curricular topics.