The Sferisterio school program is underway, with a number of projects for all ages: from children in nurseries to high school students.

20 January 2023

Alongside the Opera Domani project by AsLiCo for primary and lower secondary schools, there are programs for nurseries and preschools by the Scuola Civica di Musica “Stefano Scodanibbio” and creative activities for high school students by the theatre company “Fabiano Valenti” of Treia.

Music and opera are art forms that, if presented appropriately, have the power to engage audiences of all ages while fostering individual growth in a deep and meaningful way. This is even more true in Macerata, where the Sferisterio plays a key role in the cultural life of the city and is known throughout the world to be the perfect setting for opera performances in the summer.

The 2023 edition of “Lo Sferisterio a Scuola” (Sferisterio at School) educational program is ready to start. It is designed to enrich the school curriculum thanks to specific activities for different age groups and with different objectives by providing practical as well as accessible training tools for teachers and families. The “Lo Sferisterio a Scuola” program is developed by the Arena Sferisterio Association in collaboration with the Municipality of Macerata and with the active participation of the local schools, whose number has increased considerably over time. This year, the proposed activities include classroom work over the next few months and then, between May and June, a series of performances, called “Macerata Opera Family”, open to students and families both at the Sferisterio and Teatro Lauro Rossi. For the past two years, “Macerata Opera Family” has been a preamble to the actual festival dedicated to the younger audience and receiving great public acclaim (over 6,000 persons were recorded in 2022).

For primary and lower secondary schools, the Arena Sferisterio Association continues the successful collaboration with AsLiCo – a leading institution in Europe for educating young audiences about opera theatre. For other age groups, the Arena Sferisterio Association will rely on local training institutions and theatrical organizations – such as the Scuola Civica di Musica “Stefano Scodanibbio” and the theatre company “Fabiano Valenti” in Treia.

The President of the Arena Sferisterio Association, Sandro Parcaroli, said that the Macerata Opera Family program “holds a unique place in the national cultural landscape”. He continued: “Its strengths lie in the Sferisterio itself – which is the magical setting where we welcome children of all ages as well as a symbol of the city and of opera theater – and in the desire to foster and encourage, always with an educational purpose in mind, a stronger relationship between young people and opera. For the third year, we are then ready to welcome children and families to the Sferisterio arena for a unique and moving experience which will involve the schools and young generations as well as the whole city”.

Councilor Katiuscia Cassetta announced: “The Macerata Opera Family is back”. Cassetta continued: “It is our duty as adults to provide new generations with exciting opportunities such as the “Lo Sferisterio a Scuola” project. It is a journey of growth and training made with the best Italian and local institutions dedicated to promoting music and inspiring young generations. We all share the same goal of offering children and young people, as well as their teachers and families, new opportunities to engage with music and understand the cultural value of opera theater. This is a project that grows each year and benefits the whole community. Above all, it promotes the cultural, intellectual and emotional growth of many children by giving them the unique opportunity to experience theaters like the Lauro Rossi or a magical place like the Sferisterio for the very first time. Moreover, this year there has been greater involvement of local communities, as the result of a shared vision of the majority political group. We look forward to June when we will be welcoming children back to the Sferisterio, who will fill the arena with smiles and singing. This is just the beginning of a new adventure, a great opportunity to meet many other students. And of course, we look forward to welcoming them for the opera previews of the festival.”

Younger children in nursery schools (from 0 to 3 years old) will take part in a project developed by Valentina Verzola – cellist and teacher at the “Stefano Scodanibbio” Civic School of Music – which will also involve their parents and educators in a series of workshops. These will cover different activities for children such as listening, singing, and movement-based activities to stimulate their curiosity, creativity, exploration and socialization in a relaxed atmosphere. Through movement and singing games, children will be naturally encouraged to use the language of music, to listen to and interact with adults and peers.

For children in preschools (from 3 to 5 years old) there will be a show entitled The Story of Babar the Little Elephant by Francis Poulenc, one of the cornerstones of the music repertoire for children, which will be performed by the “Stefano Scodanibbio” Civic School of Music. It will be staged at the Sferisterio Arena from Monday 29 May to Thursday 1 June.

Primary and lower secondary school students (from 6 to 14 years old) will have the chance to enjoy Flauto magico. Il suono della pace (Magic Flute. The sound of Peace), which will be staged at the Sferisterio Arena on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 June. This show is part of the 27th edition of Opera Domani, created and promoted internationally by AsLiCo in co-production with Opéra Grand Avignon, Opéra de Rouen and Bregenzer Festspiele. Flauto magico. Il suono della pace is a participatory show which blends opera and theater together; it is inspired by Mozart’s masterpiece, Il Flauto Magico, and directed by Caroline Leboutte. On the podium, Alfredo Salvatore Stillo will conduct a group of young singers who won the last editions of the famous AsLiCo Competition. The original story based on Mozart’s opera will be revisited in a contemporary note and set in a new world. Here, the conflicting relationship between Sarastro and the Queen of the Night will be represented as an actual war in which Tamino and Pamina – two teenagers who are finding their place in the world – will often be called to take sides. For decades now, the main aim of the Opera Domani project is to involve and engage school-aged audiences with opera. The program includes training sessions for teachers and preparatory activities in class in anticipation of the ‘opera experience’, such as listening to some arias from the opera, learning the choruses as well as the choreography and rehearsing it (even in LIS, Italian Sign Language), studying the plot and the characters, exploring the main themes and elements of the story, constructing the objects that children will bring to the theater. All these activities are differentiated according to age group and designed to be shared with family members. The teacher training, which takes place during the school year, is also accredited by the Ministry of Education (under Directive 170/2016).

High school students will be involved in the new Carmen MOF – My Original Feelings project by the “Fabiano Valenti” Theatre Company of Treia, developed by Francesco Facciolli and Fabio Macedoni and inspired by Carmen, the opening title of the 2023 festival. The questions that the authors pose are: “what are the ‘feelings’ that Carmen evokes in each of us?” and “what does Carmen evoke in each of us?”. Each school group and each student will find something different in Carmen, even though they will all receive the same literary, cinematographic, performative, and visual materials. From these starting points, different contributions (reading poems, theatrical performances, paintings or costumes, videos, themed menus, ballets, computer applications, etc.) will be created and then shared with the community: non-performative works will be exhibited at Antichi Forni while performances will be staged at the Lauro Rossi Theatre on May 25 and 26.

In the coming weeks, as usual, schools and teachers will be invited to participate in a series of events to collect information about the different projects as well as all the necessary educational materials, which will be also made available online.

For further information and to participate in the above-mentioned events, please contact or Paola Pierucci at +39 0733261334.

The Macerata Opera Festival is organized by the Arena Sferisterio Association with the Municipality of Macerata, the Province of Macerata, the Ministry of Culture, the Marche Region, and thanks to a group of private donors. A special thanks to the Cento Mecenati who support the festival activities with the Art Bonus initiative.


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