In the lead up to the festival, Garsington’s Opera For All company are working in six Thanet schools, teaching and inspiring students through the music and story of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte. St Crispin’s Primary, Priory Infants and Bromstone Primary each have a day with singer Nicola Wydenbach, music director Jonathan Ainscough and director Katherine Wilde, singing, learning songs and how to act out a story. Secondary schools Hartsdown Academy, Chatham & Clarendon and Dane Court Grammar each have two days, working with singers Natalie Montakhab and Rob Gildon, music director John Barber and director Karen Gillingham.
I went to see the company in action on Friday 2 October, at Priory Infants School. I wasn't sure how they'd teach opera to 6 year old children, but it was entirely magical. Their ability as facilitators was impressive, their ability to keep absolute control without any trouble, through the carefully thought-out activities and game-playing. I didn't get to see the afternoon when all the children and singer came together, but have pictures of some of the work and the film here is of the workshop the day before at Chatham & Clarendon Grammar, when students wrote their own piece.