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Figaro’s American Adventure Opera at Dulles Elementary

LA Opera Performers: Leroy Villanueva, JJ Lopez, Maria Lopez, Cole Cuomo perform Figaro’s American Adventure with Dulles Elementary fifth graders all while teaching a little bit about American history.


By Tammye McDuff


Parents and friends were invited to a very special performance at Dulles Elementary, Tuesday, March 3rd, as students held a performance of the Figaro’s American Adventure with the LA Opera. 


Dulles fifth grade class was selected to participate in the LA Opera STEAM program this year. This is the first year the STEAM component was offered. The program specifically designed by Stage Director and Composer Eli Villanueva of the LA Opera places students and teachers in a six-week hands-on learning workshop designed exclusively for elementary students.  The STEM portion of the program incorporates building production sets, rehearsal times and creating costumes. Students work with and learn about making sets, lighting, sound and running a stage crew, all with the assistance of professional opera singers and stage managers. 

The teaching artists helped students learn their parts in Figaro’s American Adventure, a kid-friendly opera based on The Barber of Seville. Students are transported to colonial America with Figaro and his band of sneaky barbers and colonial compatriots. As a side note teachers sneak in American history content with this opera. After six weeks, they’re ready to join professional opera singers onstage and perform in front of their community. 

“This opportunity will further prepare and expose our students to STEAM on their path to Benton- Arts Magnet or other middle school of their choice,” said Shanti Gallegos, Principal for Dulles Elementary.

Villanueva was accompanied by his Assistant Director Julian Louise Johnson who led the children in their performance. “We do a residence program for 15 schools in the LAUSD area,” said Villanueva, “For the past few weeks we have visited these residency schools and held rehearsals and then we have the performances, usually two per school ~ one for the all the children and another for parents.”


Johnson added that there were a number of students who have taken this program training further, “We have tracked a few of the children that performed with us. Some have gone on to participate in our other programs for older students and there are a few who have taken this training into a classical profession.”


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