Manitoba Opera

Feb 25, 2022

Singers Return to Classrooms after Two-Year Absence

Last month marked the first time in two years that singers were back in the classroom connecting with kids through opera. COVID-19 health and safety protocols had prohibited school visits since March 2020.

This season though, thanks to the generosity of our donors and with schools once again able to open their doors to guests, a record 28 classrooms were visited by three artists – Katherine Mayba, Sydney Clarke, and John Anderson – during I Love to Read month.

Each February, as part of this initiative, Manitoba Opera is pleased to send an opera singer to schools to engage students’ imaginations. Together, they read a wonderful story like Opera Cat, have fun doing vocal exercises, and top off the session with a short performance.

Free of charge for schools, this initiative is always a “sell out,” and we inevitably have more requests for singers than we can fill. However, as a result of donations raised through this past December’s Unleash Their Imaginations campaign, the company was able to hire singers for close to three times as many visits as usual!

Manitoba Opera is now also able to offer I Love to Read visits for presentation in both French and Tagalog (the national language of the Philippines).


As well this spring, teachers will be able to share an Opera Storytime video episode in either French or Tagalog, as well as English. Opera Cat has been recorded in French with storyteller Katherine Mayba and Paul Ong has shared the story of Pet of the Met in Tagalog. These fun and engaging storybooks about opera-loving animals are a great introduction to the art form for K to grade 4.

Manitoba Opera is also anticipating returning to classrooms this spring to present Opera Class, a 45-minute workshop led by an opera singer who introduces student to opera through imaginative hands-on learning. For this first time, sessions will be offered in French as well as English.

Opera Class workshops are made possible with funding from Telus and it is expected that singers will be presenting between 20-30 workshops in Winnipeg-area schools between now and the end of June. Eight workshops have already been presented by baritone Nathan Sawatzky-Dyck at Betty Gibson School in Brandon in December.

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