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Hundreds of youngsters to perform opera at Norwich Theatre Royal

PUBLISHED: 11:32 21 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:32 21 June 2019

Youngsters from Drake's Primary, Admiral's Academy, Redcastle Family School and Bishop's Primary practicing for A King of Magic Flute. Picture: Norwich Theatre Royal

Youngsters from Drake's Primary, Admiral's Academy, Redcastle Family School and Bishop's Primary practicing for A King of Magic Flute. Picture: Norwich Theatre Royal

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School pupils in Thetford have been thrown into the world of opera as they prepare to perform at Norwich Theatre Royal.

Youngsters from Drake's Primary, Admiral's Academy, Redcastle Family School and Bishop's Primary practicing for A King of Magic Flute. Picture: Norwich Theatre RoyalYoungsters from Drake's Primary, Admiral's Academy, Redcastle Family School and Bishop's Primary practicing for A King of Magic Flute. Picture: Norwich Theatre Royal

Youngsters from Drake's Academy, Admiral's Academy, Bishop's Church of England Primary and Redcastle Family School have been rehearsing their roles for A Kind of Magic Flute, an opera by Mozart that has been condensed to be performed by school children.

The project has been organised as part of the Norfolk Schools Opera Project with the help from Norwich Theatre Royal learning, the Come and Sing Company and Norfolk Music Hub.

In total 120 Year 5 students will be performing on the stage with a further 250 taking part in the audience and orchestra.

Project director, Tom Appleton, said: "We have been putting the finishing touches for the Norfolk Schools Opera Project.

Youngsters from Drake's Primary, Admiral's Academy, Redcastle Family School and Bishop's Primary practicing for A King of Magic Flute. Picture: Norwich Theatre RoyalYoungsters from Drake's Primary, Admiral's Academy, Redcastle Family School and Bishop's Primary practicing for A King of Magic Flute. Picture: Norwich Theatre Royal

"We have been bringing different parts of the Norfolk education system together to link with the amazing Theatre Royal and international soloists.

"Watching the kids develop from Monday when they didn't know where the audience was or anything about it has been amazing.

"We are seeing a lot of the children really flourish so we hope that the children feel inspired to take on anything that they don't think may be for them."

During rehearsals teachers and singers have use simplified language and explanations that the children can understand.

Youngsters from Drake's Primary, Admiral's Academy, Redcastle Family School and Bishop's Primary practicing for A King of Magic Flute. Picture: Norwich Theatre RoyalYoungsters from Drake's Primary, Admiral's Academy, Redcastle Family School and Bishop's Primary practicing for A King of Magic Flute. Picture: Norwich Theatre Royal

They asked the children to imagine they had seen a ghost rather than explaining a technique called 'bel canto'.

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Mr Appleton added: "We really hope that performing will give them encouragement and let them know that the world is their oyster.

"We found that if we tell them it is difficult, that it is a challenging project they will come at it with a barrier up but by just explaining it and saying what I want they to do they jump at the chance.

Youngsters from Drake's Primary, Admiral's Academy, Redcastle Family School and Bishop's Primary practicing for A King of Magic Flute. Picture: Norwich Theatre RoyalYoungsters from Drake's Primary, Admiral's Academy, Redcastle Family School and Bishop's Primary practicing for A King of Magic Flute. Picture: Norwich Theatre Royal

"We have about 300 children sat in the audience as well which makes it a bit of a logistical nightmare as I have to conduct 360 degrees but it should be a challenge for all of us.

"It's lovely to be able to bring some of our experiences from opera houses in America, France and Italy home to children in Thetford."

The performance will take place at Norwich Theatre Royal on Sunday, June 23.

What the children think about performing opera

Youngsters from Drake's Primary, Admiral's Academy, Redcastle Family School and Bishop's Primary practicing for A King of Magic Flute. Picture: Norwich Theatre RoyalYoungsters from Drake's Primary, Admiral's Academy, Redcastle Family School and Bishop's Primary practicing for A King of Magic Flute. Picture: Norwich Theatre Royal

Alicja Jagodzik, nine, from Drake Primary, said: "I'm looking forward to being with all the professionals and being on stage with an audience.

"I feel very self-conscious and nervous but once I have practiced a lot I will feel more confident."

Meyah Wenham, 10, from Bishop's Primary, said: "I used to do dances and was on stage then but nothing as big as this. I'm looking forward to it, as soon as I got the letter about it I rushed to my mum as I've wanted to be a singer all my life and this is an inspiration."

Catalina Estanol, 10, from Admiral's Academy, said: "I'm feeling nervous as I haven't been on stage before. It was really mind-blowing and I was really happy when I knew I would perform in front of people."

From left clockwise: Catalina Estanol, from Admirals Academy, Alicja Jagodzik, from Drake Primary, Meyah Wenham, from Bishop's Primary, Lilly Raynel, from Redcastle Family School. Picture: Norwich Theatre RoyalFrom left clockwise: Catalina Estanol, from Admirals Academy, Alicja Jagodzik, from Drake Primary, Meyah Wenham, from Bishop's Primary, Lilly Raynel, from Redcastle Family School. Picture: Norwich Theatre Royal

Lilly Raynel, 10, from Redcastle Family School, said: "It felt like I was following my sister when I found out I'd be on stage as my sister is an actor in university and I'm really looking forward to it."

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