Fifth Grade Presents Colorful, Captivating Puppet Operas

The fifth grade’s yearlong, interdisciplinary study of ancient Egypt and opera culminated in two impressive puppet opera performances on Thursday, May 30, in Doc Wilson Hall.

The operas took the audience through two dramatic, and at times humorous, stories that the students had written about various Egyptian gods and goddesses, roles played by the students’ artfully detailed puppets.

The performances combined the students’ study of ancient Egypt and opera, which, said Middle School music teacher Katie Meadows, “is the most complex art form, [and] lends itself naturally to collaborative, interdisciplinary work.” Over the course of the year, the students enhanced their understanding of ancient Egypt with trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art’s Ancient Egyptian Wing and experienced opera firsthand by attending a performance at the Metropolitan Opera House.

The curriculum also included investigations into the social, political, religious and economic structures of ancient Egypt; learning about dramatic structure and the various stages of the writing process; and of course the creation of their puppets, which “allowed students to explore a variety of media while learning various skills and techniques along the way,” Bruce Robbins, Middle School art teacher, said. “Our hope,” Meadows said, “is that the students were able to draw connections between their learning experiences across disciplines, and use that knowledge to inspire the creation and execution of an original production.”
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