"Opera Education ?"
Education is a major priority for opera houses, with many initiatives being produced, including works for young audiences and community productions, outreach activities in schools and universities, work with vulnerable adults, talks, introductions and guided visits, lifelong learning and international events such as the European Opera Days. Engaging the wider public with a challenging and complex artform is one of many motivations for those who seek to ensure the continuing appeal of opera today.
The desire to demystify the genre, build the audiences of the future, foster dynamic relationships between artists and local communities, and guarantee the continuation of opera as a living art for generations to come were just some of the reasons that led to the creation of the first internal education departments in the 1980s. The formation of the European Network for Opera and Dance Education RESEO, which now boasts over 75 members in 22 countries, followed in 1996.
Having gone through a considerable amount of changes in public image – from part of Italian Renaissance high culture to popular entertainment in the 19th century - opera today remains as diverse, compelling and dynamic as ever. Opera education seeks above all to valorise an artform that draws on the wealth of human experience and infuses it with music, movement and voice, underlining its sociocultural roots, connecting it to the communities it performs within, and extending its impact beyond the limits of the performance venue and the existing repertoire.