The San Francisco Opera Guild was in Sonoma Valley last month engaging students in school performances as part of the annual Opera a la Carte program. This year’s show was Gioachino Rossini’s “La Cenerentola” (Cinderella).
At Sonoma Charter School, Jennifer Blackwood directed students for her sixth year in a row.
Charter hosts the school district’s preview event where educators from the county attend to see the production before it arrives at their school, and are informed on the process.
Blackwood rehearses with the student actors for approximately a month before the show, as well as the students singing in the chorus. When the opening arrives, she does a final run-through and then steps aside for the professional performers to take the students through blocking and lines rehearsal. Then with props, scenery and costumes provided by the Guild, the kids perform for their school.
The SF Guild program has served more than 100 schools every year since 1989 and students perform alongside professional artists.
Designed for young audiences, this year’s production featured four professional singers, one pianist, nine students from each school in speaking and acting roles, and a student chorus.
Opera a la Carte was also staged at El Verano Elementary School.