Bold. Brave. Brilliant.

Instant Opera! Coming to a School Near You!

Josh Borths – September 30, 2014

“… And Superman married Princess Elsa and they all lived happily ever after!”

On an early Friday morning, another opera received its world premiere thanks to the students at Liberty Elementary and our OperaTunity Troupe. Since early September, our teaching artists have been touring southern Arizona performing Instant Opera. This zany, 40-minute program teaches kids about the basics of opera all while teaching them how to create their own stories!

The program begins with an introduction to the art form. Students learn the difference between “Bravo!” and “Brava!” They learn the difference between “aria” and “recitative,” and they learn what makes each of the four voice types unique.  However, the performance quickly becomes an operatic MadLibs where the students give their own suggestions for difference characters, situations, settings, and actions to create their own story (while our teaching artists improvise recitative).

It’s amazing to watch these kids become engaged in their own creation. As their story unfolds and their story ideas materialize through the music, students begin shouting “Bravo!”

Unlike many traditional programs presented by opera companies around the United States, the students determine the level of the content… not the other way around.

So, what kind of operas do these students create? Here’s the synopsis of the opera Elsa and the Bear that was created by the students of Liberty Elementary:

Princess Elsa (from Disney’s hit film “Frozen”) is wondering through the woods, freezing everything in her path. Suddenly, Elsa is frightened when a bear appears from behind a tree. He is mad because Elsa froze his favorite pond! Elsa tries to apologize, but try as she might, she could not undo her magical winter. The angry bear starts to panic and begins chasing Elsa through the woods!

Unfortunately for the bear, Elsa couldn’t contain her freezing powers any longer and she freezes the bear in his tracks. Elsa feels awful. Just when things couldn’t get any worse, a wolf—who has been hiding and watching the entire scene—enters. He just can’t take it anymore. All of his food is frozen or is hibernating. As the resentment of the forest animals grows, Elsa becomes more and more anxious.

But, look! What is that above the trees? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It really is Superman!

Superman arrives and tries to help Elsa, but—after an epic battle—they realized that only love will help them thaw the frost. So, Superman kneels down and asked for Elsa’s hand in marriage. Immediately, the ice thaws and order is restored to the forest… at last.

Love, danger, passion, anger, heartbreak, and magical powers?

It sounds like an opera to me!

*Instant Opera will tour Southern Arizona until December 18th. Then, after a brief hiatus, will begin touring the metro Phoenix area this winter/spring!

*Contact Regina Haefer at to book a performance at your school or community event!