Inspire musical exploration and creativity with the Young People’s Opera Program hosted by Opéra Louisiane, virtually!
In February and March of 2021, Opéra Louisiane is offering a hybrid educational program to best serve students and teachers during the pandemic, YPOP – Young People’s Opera Program. The hybrid program includes 10 interactive virtual sessions, all available to fourth, fifth, and sixth graders in the elementary schools of the Greater Baton Rouge Area. The sessions are designed in a way to familiarize students not only with music but with all other art forms that create an opera. In these interactive ZOOM sessions, students learn about acting, movement, dancing, designing sets and costumes, singing, musical notation, and most importantly, they learn to communicate their story to the audience through musical tools. Teachers can sign up for a minimum of 3 sessions, or as many as 10! All of the sessions are offered in February and March of 2021, and you can sign up for them at your convenience.
Young People’s Opera Program
YPOP is designed for 4th, 5th, and 6th-grade classes. Public, private, homeschool, and co-op groups
- What is Opera?
- Opera is Music!
- Opera is Singing!
- Opera is Acting!
- Opera is Movement!
- Opera is Design!
- Opera is Storytelling!
- Opera is Lighting Design!
- Meet an Opera Singer!
- What is Opera to You?
Meet the Young People’s Opera Program Teaching Artists!
What is Opera?
Dr. Sinella Aghasi is an arts administrator, educator, and violinist. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Louisiana State University, Master of Music from San Francisco State University, and Bachelor of music education and violin performance from California State University Stanislaus.
As an arts advocate, Dr. Aghasi is committed to making Classical music relevant and accessible and bringing it to a diverse community. In her role as Associate Director of Opéra Louisiane, she is proud to take part in bringing professional opera to Baton Rouge and opening a door for thousands of students to experience an opera for the first time in their lives.
As an active performer, Dr. Aghasi plays with several local orchestras, such as Opéra Louisiane, Baton Rouge Symphony, Acadiana Symphony, Rapides Symphony, Lake Charles Symphony, and Gulf Coast Symphony. In addition to her love for performance, Dr. Aghasi’s passion for music education has never stopped growing. She served as a teaching artist at San Francisco Symphony’s Education Department, Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra, and Kids’ Orchestra.
Opera is Lighting Design!
Brian Schneider is a lighting designer and licensed electrician based in Lafayette, Louisiana.
A New York City native, he has worked extensively in lighting for Theater, Dance, TV, and as Lighting and AV Manager for the Rubin Museum of Art. Upon moving to Lafayette, Louisiana in 2011, he became the Technical Director for the Acadiana Center for the Arts, assisting them through their first four seasons.
In 2015, Brian began his own design firm, Footcandle Lighting & Electric. He lights performances, as well as commercial and residential projects. More recently Brian has been designing custom lamps and nightlights.
In 2019 he had an exhibition of constellation inspired lamps titled And The Stars Aligned.
He loves the people of South Louisiana. Working with groups such as Opéra Louisiane, Basin Dance Collective, Acting Up in Acadiana, Milena Theater Group and Zachary Richard he has the opportunity to integrate Louisiana’s culture and point of view, with his personal style.
You can view his work at www.footcandlelighting.com.
Opera is Acting!
Gregory G. Williams Jr. is a native of Baton Rouge and the Founding Artistic Director for New Venture Theatre. He is a graduate of Northwestern State University with a BA in Theatre and New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) with an MBA in Marketing. His professional theatre background includes working with Don Holder (Tony Award Winning Lighting Designer for Disney’s The Lion King,) The Negro Ensemble Theatre Company (NYC), The Little Black Box Theatre Company (New Jersey), and American Family Theatre (Philadelphia.) He is also a playwright and has written over ten plays including, Colored, Step Off!, Sweet Georgia Brown, and is currently working on his next piece – Talbert Beacon Presents His Latest’s Greatest Gospel Stage Play.
After speaking with one of his mentors, Charles Weldon, at the Negro Ensemble Theatre Company, he returned to Louisiana to cultivate more support for the arts through a refreshing new theatre company that focused on innovation and diversity- hence New Venture Theatre was created. Professionally, Greg has been the Instructor of Theatre Arts for Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School, is a theatre consultant helping to launch diversity based theatre companies all over the country, and has developed and collaborated with over twenty programs to help bring the arts to underserved areas of our community. In June 2011, the Louisiana Senate recognized Greg for his contributions to the African American Community’s arts.
Opera is Design!
Wendy Waszut-Barrett, PhD, is an author, artist, scene designer and historian, specializing in painted settings for opera houses, vaudeville theaters, social halls, cinemas, and other entertainment venues. In addition to evaluating, restoring, and replicating historic backdrops, Waszut-Barrett also writes about forgotten scenic art techniques and theatre manufacturers. Her most recent publication is The Santa Fe Scottish Rite Temple: Freemasonry, Architecture and Theatre (Museum of New Mexico Press, 2018). Although her primary focus remains on the past, she continues to work as a contemporary scene designer for theatre and opera. Dr. Waszut-Barrett’s set designs are artful,
incorporating varied painting techniques as well as modern construction advancements. In addition to her scenic design experience, Waszut-Barrett also worked in large scale, designing props such as an 80 foot tall beanstalk displayed in Times Square for Atomic Props in 2003.
Opera is Singing!
Keturah Heard is a recent graduate of Louisiana State University with a Master of Music in vocal performance. Last season she performed the role of stepsister Clorinda in Opera Louisiane’s production of Rossini’s Cinderella and was also seen performing the role of Mariola in LSU’s collegiate premiere of Jake Heggie’s Two Remain. Recently, Keturah sang in Opera Louisiane’s Shifting Gears concert, safely bringing music to the public during the current pandemic. Along with performing, Keturah has enjoyed over ten years of teaching music to students of all ages and is thrilled to be a teaching artist with Opéra Louisiane this spring.
Opera is Movement!
Originally from Lake Charles, Louisiana, Jennifer White received her classical ballet training from Sarah Quinn Jones at Dance Theatre Southwest. While in high school, Mrs. White attended North Carolina School of the Arts and graduated from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts with a concentration in Dance and was awarded the Presidential Scholar and Regent Scholar Awards. She also trained and performed with Delta Festival Ballet in New Orleans. Her repertoire includes Petrushka, Cinderella, The Nutcracker, Taunhauser, Evangeline, Paquita, La Bayadere, La Corsaire, Swan Lake, Hansel and Gretel, The Magic Flute, The Barber of Seville, Bastien and Bastienne, and Amahl. In
2003, Mrs. White co-directed the Inner City Nutcracker for Mid City Dance Project and continues to work with children with special needs. She is also director of the Dance Center and School of Performing Arts Company and Junior Company. Most recently, Mrs. White co-directed, along with Dugg McDonough of LSU Opera, Seven Deadly Sins, and was also the choreographer for Trouble in Tahiti and The Cunning Little Vixen, with LSU Opera – of which has been awarded national awards and recognition. Mrs. White’s vision for her school is to achieve excellence through quality instruction in all the arts for students wishing to pursue a professional career as well as a wonderful education for those who prefer to learn about their art form for their own personal enjoyment. Additionally, Mrs. White is a fitness instructor in Power Yoga, Kickboxing, and Body Pump and teaches at several Baton Rouge area gyms. Mrs. White is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in Graphic Design and has her own design business, i see designs, llc. She is also a partner in her family’s property investment company, White Oak Property Investments, LLC. Mrs. White is also blessed with a wonderful husband and two beautiful children.
Opera is Music!
Nae Rim Moon earned a Masters of Music in Choral Conducting at Northern Arizona University in 2018 where she assisted Women’s Chorale and Shrine of the Ages. Before moving to the United States, she is a graduate of Myongji University in Korea, where she studied Vocal Performance major, and she was a member of a professional choir which is JW Chorale as an alto. She is also a graduate of the University of Wisconsin in River Falls, where she studied Vocal Performance and Choral Conducting for her 2nd bachelor’s degree. She is a second-year DMA student in Choral Conducting at Louisiana State University and assisted A Cappella Choir and Chorale. Also, she is studying the Louisiana K-12 Music Certification program at LSU.
Opera is Storytelling!
Danielle Laird is a Baton Rouge native, and graduated with a BME in Music Education from Florida State University. She taught high school choir for six years at 5A high schools in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD in Houston, TX. Danielle has sung professionally as part of Houston Chamber Choir, Cantare Houston, and as a cantor. She has taught in a variety of music education environments including high school choir, middle school choir, children’s choir, elementary general music, and private voice instruction. Danielle is currently pursuing her Masters degree at LSU in Music Education with a secondary concentration in Choral Conducting.
Meet an Opera Singer!
Khary Wilson, tenor, is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Carolina and his Master of Music from Louisiana State University. Mr. Wilson has performed opera, oratorio, and recital with regional companies across the US, Australia, and Europe. Recent performances include Tenor Soloist in Carmina Burana with the Maroondah Symphony in Melbourne, Australia; ‘Tybalt’ in Romeo and Juliet and ‘Action’ in West Side Story with GLOW Lyric Theater; ‘DonRamiro’ in La Cenerentola with The Atlanta Opera Studio, ‘Rinuccio’ in Gianni Schicchi with The Berlin Opera Academy; and Tenor Soloist in Carmina Burana with The Long Bay
Symphony. He was also a 2017 Tyler Young Artist with Opera on the James. Mr. Wilson has served on the voice faculty of Georgia College and State University, LaGrange College, and Mississippi State University. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance at LSU.
What is opera to you?
Dr. Leanne Clement is a graduate of The School of Music at Louisiana State University, where she received her Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees in vocal performance. While at LSU she was awarded the School of Music Foundation Scholarship, the Mrs. Dorothy Halphen Kolb Scholarship from the Baton Rouge Opera Guild, and was a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, the music honor society. She also was co- founder of the LOOP or LSU Opera Outreach Program that provided performances to local elementary schools. Prior to moving to Louisiana, Leanne received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
As a mezzo-soprano, Leanne performs the dramatic character roles of Verdi and Wagner. During her tenure at Opéra Louisiane, Leanne has performed the roles of Erda in Michael Borowitz’s reduction of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Martha in Faust and as a soloist in the 10th Anniversary Gala. She has also directed performances of L’elisir d’amore, Falstaff, and The Ring.
Leanne began work with Opéra Louisiane in the fall of 2008, was promoted to Director of Development in 2009, and hired as General Director in 2011, where she remains today. During her time with Opéra Louisiane, the company has quadrupled in size and has remained debt-free. Leanne is thrilled to work with an incredible staff and board of directors promoting opera in South Louisiana!
Young People’s Opera Program – Opéra Louisiane
The program is FREE but the sessions are limited, and the registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.
If you are interested in the hybrid YPOP, please contact Dr. Sinella Aghasi at Sinella@OperaLouisiane.com or at 225-377-2029 to secure a spot for your class!