Opera Camp


In 2015, the City of Riverside contracted with the Riverside Lyric Opera (RLO) to run an opera camp for Riverside community members between the ages of 8 and 18. RLO enlisted three vocal coaches and a pianist and with 5 staff crafted a one-week program which resulted in a concert performance at the Box in Riverside.

For that week, students worked on and performed Mystery on the Docks; part of the genre of family operas created for the Los Angeles Opera and several other opera companies. These operas are characterized by short length, amusing and entertaining story lines, with singable roles for young singers. The choice of Mystery on the Docks proved to be ideal for several reasons: all participants were included in the opera and it provided us with just enough work to fill the hours of the week.
Vocal coaching as well as acting and staging rehearsals were the dominant subjects for the day, with simple costume design activities included later in the week. Each day began at approximately 9am and ended at 4:30pm. All costumes or parts of costumes created by the participants were worn or used in the final performance.

Lead roles in the opera were assigned to appropriate participants with the majority of the forty-plus participants serving as general members of the cast, with appropriate singing roles.
For those who exhibited more than average singing skills, a portion of the final performance (before the presentation of Mystery on the Docks) was devoted to these few individuals. They were allowed to sing in solos and duets – all having been prepared during the week of the camp.

RLO seeks to bring the joy of opera to the young people of Riverside—to those who have never heard or participated as well as those who are already familiar and engaged. Opera Camp is also an ideal venue for aspiring singers at the community college and inland universities who do not normally have access to opera training. RLO looks forward to holding future Opera Camps for the Riverside community.

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