“Sleeping Beauty: An Opera for Children” teaches life lessons
By: Sydney Engelhardt, Contributing Writer
“Sleeping Beauty: An Opera for Children” brought kids, parents and students together for a magical performance Saturday.
Adapted by Towson alumnus Timothy Huth and current senior Grace Kane, “Sleeping Beauty” marked the pair’s second production with the music department’s resident children’s opera company, “Opera in a Can.”
“Being in the arts and being a performance major, opportunities are hard to come by, no matter how good the department is. And this department is great,” Kane said. “I realized that I wanted it be proactive, and I wanted to make something happen that would ensure that I got the most out of this opportunity as possible.”
Three years ago, the children’s opera company came to Towson and casted eight students, including Kane, who decided to make the most of the opportunity.
With the help of adjunct theatre professor Marsha Becker, music professor Phillip Collister and sponsorship from the Sylvan/Laureate Foundation, Kane and Huth have written two operas and are in the process of writing a third.
The year’s opera adapted the well-known Disney version of the “Sleeping Beauty” fairytale to teach audience members about the importance of communication and forgiveness with the overall goal to encourage kids to keep doing what makes them special.
“We took the fairytale that everyone loves and [made] it funny, cute and more interesting and give the characters some depth,” Kane said.
Kane and Huth took Mozart’s music and wrote their own lyrics and book for the children’s opera.
Kane hopes that the students involved in the process have not only had fun, but have had a learning experience as well.
“I hope that the kids that come get out of it an appreciation and awakening to the arts in general, especially opera,” Kane said. “It is such a beautiful art form and I think that if you don’t tell kids about it in a way that they can approach, singing this really famous music is going to awaken them to it.”
They also hope the show encourages parents to take a more active role in appreciating and promoting the arts with their kids.
“I hope that parents who may not really be into the arts see that this can be a career and that it is really important to support their kids in whatever they love,” Huth said.