World Premiere Of Children's Opera XOCHITL AND THE FLOWERS, 11/17

As part of its unique annual Hands-on-Opera education and youth performance program, Opera Parallèle (OP) will present the world premiere of Xochitl and the Flowers, by OP composer-in-residence Christopher Pratorius. Based on the children's book of the same name by Jorge Argueta and with a libretto by Opera Parallèle's Roma Olvera, three free performances will be presented November 17 and 19 at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts in San Francisco. The fully staged and costumed production will be developed during an innovative eight-week residency with third grade students of the Alvarado Elementary School Spanish Immersion Program in San Francisco, assisted by the Opera Parallèle creative team and professional singers. Performances will be given Thursday, November 17, at 6 pm and Saturday, November 19, at 11 am and 1 pm at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, 2868 Mission Street in San Francisco. Admission is free, but past Hands-on-Opera performances have filled up quickly, so audience members are encouraged to arrive early. For more information, visit www.operaparallele.org .

Each year as part of its growing outreach program, Opera Parallèle presents a work with young performers expressly designed for families and children. "For our Hands-on-Opera, we treat our young participants as collaborators and develop works that are relevant to our times and sophisticated," says Artistic Director Nicole Paiement. "These productions are extensions of our vision to engage, our youth in the making of opera, rather than being observers of the art form. It is an active way to immerse our young generation into the operatic culture."

Opera Parallèle Educational Programs Director Roma Olvera adds, "We try to choose themes for our Hands-on-Opera productions that revolve around children's journeys of awareness and self-discovery. This year we address the immigrant experience and a sense of belonging. When the children in the program identify with the characters in the operas, this self-affirmation through artistic engagement can be an amazing experience for the cast and audiences alike. Rehearsals and performances are filled with wide-eyed curiosity and the confident and original perspectives of the students." Last year, Hands-on-Opera produced Pratorius' Amazing Grace, preceded in 2014 by My Head is Full of Colors and in 2013, Peter Maxwell Davies' The Spiders' Revenge, in which all parts were performed by 4th-grade students and guest soloists.

Hands-on-Opera is funded by the Kimball Foundation, Aroha Philanthropies, and the Bill Graham Memorial Foundation.


ABOUT XOCHITL AND THE FLOWERS

Created in partnership with Alvarado Elementary School's 3rd grade Spanish immersion program, Xochitl and the Flowers (pronounced 'so-tchee') is part of Opera Parallèle's acclaimed annual Hands-on-Opera program, which features children center-stage as full project participants and performers. Xochitl and the Flowers is composer Christopher Pratorius' third commissioned work for Opera Parallèle. It is based on the book of the same name by Jorge Argueta with libretto by Roma Olvera. Derived from real-life events in San Francisco's Mission neighborhood, this quintessentially American immigration story tells the poignant tale of a family's determination to put down roots in a new country, while still preserving the heritage of their homeland.



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