Pupils tread the boards at opera

Pupils from St Nicholas' C of E Primary School joined the cast of La Boheme at The Grand Theatre, Blackpool
Pupils from St Nicholas' C of E Primary School joined the cast of La Boheme at The Grand Theatre, Blackpool
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A new generation of opera lovers have been given a glimpse into the theatrical world.

Pupils from St Nicholas CE Primary School joined the cast of English Touring Opera’s La Boheme at the Grand Theatre for a special performance.

I spoke to one of the dads after and he’d never seen an opera before, and he loved it. We would do it again in a heartbeat.

Teacher Stephanie Darkins

The dozen young singers had been specially selected by teachers, as members of the choir and concert soloists from Years 5 and 6 at the School Road school.

After just a handful of sessions at school, learning the music as well as the Italian lyrics, the pupils were thrown in at the deep end at the theatre for Monday’s performance - with just a few hours rehearsal on set with the director and conductor to prepare them, as well as being fitted for costumes.

Year 6 teacher Stephanie Darkins, who also runs the choir, said: “The children absolutely loved it.

“Their faces were a picture when the cast started singing.

“They were asking ‘How do they sing so beautifully?’

“I think they were quite shocked as they’d not known what to expect.”

Parents and staff from the school were in the audience, as well as some of the pupils for the second act.

“We told them the story before, so they knew what would happen and wouldn’t be too upset,” Stephanie added. “But some of them were quite emotional.

“I spoke to one of the dads after and he’d never seen an opera before, and he loved it.

“We would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Part of the ETO’s aim in using a local chorus of schoolchildren on their tour is to create a national band of ambassadors for the art form - able to share their experience of rehearsing, performing and watching the work.

ETO general director James Conway said: “For these children and their parents, opera is going to be a positive word.”