First Taste of Opera

On Wednesday 8th June children from primary schools across Portsmouth had their first taste of opera at the New Theatre Royal, with the internationally-acclaimed vocalist Melanie Gall and ‘Tilly the opera mouse’.

30 children, aged between 7 and 11 years old, took part in workshops exploring a range of singing and performance skills, before Melanie Gall took to the stage to perform her one-woman show.

Using glove puppets, she told the story of Tilly Mouse who lives under an opera house. Tilly’s dream is to perform on stage, but whenever anybody sees her they scream and run away. With determination, imagination, and help from her friends, Tilly proves that even a mouse can be a star.

The children, who share a passion for singing, heard songs and arias from several operas during the performance, including Gianni Schicchi, Carmen and The Magic Flute.

Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub which organised the event, said: “The children’s confidence grew throughout the workshops, where they had the chance to develop their performance and singing skills, and it’s been a really exciting opportunity for the children to experience opera for the first time. Seeing the children’s enthusiasm and confidence proves that the arts have an important part to play in our young people’s education.”

After the event Ethan Maniebo, aged 11 from St. Paul’s Primary School, said: “It was a good experience and I learnt a lot of new things. I really like the acting and singing. It was brilliant and I didn’t realise I could sing opera.”