The Student Matinee is one of Opera Colorado’s largest education events every spring. Over 1000 students from all over Colorado come to the Ellie Caulkins Opera House to see an full length production, presented on the main stage. In addition, the show is broadcast live to students around the state. All the students learn about opera and about the show they are seeing in their music classes before the come see the show. I love that as a Colorado Opera photographer, I get to be a part of this amazing event.
The show the students see is the same show that opera patrons see that week and weekend but with some small variations to make it more kid friendly. Sometimes the opera is done in English or with a English narration. Sometimes there are other small changes in the plot or the libretto or the show is shortened. This version of the show is performed by Opera Colorado’s Artists in Residence. You’ve probably heard me talk about hem a lot. They are awesome! Last year’s show was Falstaff, a comedic opera by Giuseppe Verdi. This year’s show is the Marriage of Figaro and the Student Matinee will be on May 9th.
What’s really fun about this day, every year, is that it’s both a performance and an event. I’m tasked with photographing all of it. I get there as the students first arrive and capture them entering the opera house, often for the first time. I get to catch them oooing and awing at the beautiful historic building and the majestic theater. Then I get to capture the show. This is the only time the Artists in Residence perform this version of the show on the main stage. There are no rehearsals on stage so this is the only chance we get to take production photos.
At the intermission, I wander around the Ellie capturing the kids chatting about the show so far. Sometimes, they’ll bring a lunch and eat it in the lobby or just stretch their legs a bit. For this show, they also kept the curtain open for scene changes so the audience got to see how the tech crew changes everything over. Then, after the show ends, some of the schools stay for a Q and A session. Students get to ask the artists and the director anything they want and they get to take a peak at the orchestra pit. It’s always fun to hear their questions.