The Santa Fe Opera

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ALTO Workshop with children in seats listening to teacher

Active Learning Through Opera

The Active Learning Through Opera (ALTO) program is a collaborative initiative between elementary and middle school teachers and teaching artists from the opera. The Santa Fe Opera works with Santa Fe, Rio Rancho, Albuquerque and other public schools around the state. Participation in the ALTO program is by invitation only. To date, more than 12,000 children have produced 175 operas, performing to audiences of parents, classmates and friends totaling nearly 50, 000 people.

Goals

  • Making meaningful connections between an academic topic and an element of opera.
  • Demonstrating student understanding of academic topics and opera elements through performance.

Process

  • Teaching artists from the opera collaborate with classroom teachers in multi-week residencies.
  • Students are engaged in the experience of being composers, librettists, singers, dancers, actors or visual artists.
  • Students create original work based on the unit’s element of opera and their academic lesson. Classes may create dances that demonstrate the systems of the human body, or an entire through-composed opera based on the Hero’s Journey or Tall Tales.
  • Children draw from their imaginations, popular literature and culture and social or historical themes, as well as personal mythologies, for the subjects of their own operas.
  • Completed stories are set to music, then students design and build their costumes and scenery.
Kids in a music class with drum sticks
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theater with glowing lights at night with hills in background

For more information, please contact:

Charles Gamble
Arts Integration Partnership Co-Manager
cgamble@santafeopera.org