Another Year, Another Trio of First Grade Operas.


Three first grade operas have performed in their classrooms in front of an audience of parents, grandparents and loved ones.  In three consecutive days 1-3’s “Diamond Kids”, 1-2’s “The Alicorns” and 1-1’s “Imagine” regaled audiences with stories, dialog, lyrics and music all created by the first graders themselves.  I delighted in the spirited performances, the parents’ pride and joy, and the two massive bouquets of flowers and one bottle of 50% Kentucky bourbon I received as thanks.

There’s really no substitute to seeing the performances live, the classroom turned into a theater with set decoration and costumes designed by the kids, while the whole class as one chorus sings every song, while each individual child gets to act out a scene in the opera (if one character is in six scenes, six children share playing that character over the course of the performance).  However it could be amusing (and edifying) to get a quick synopsis of each opera, with a sampling of some of the music and lyrics the children wrote, so here goes:

Diamond Kids

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1-3’s opera centers around a field trip to the mines.  Cal and Devin know about the secret Rocky Cave inside the mines, where they expect to find diamonds they plan to steal.

Meanwhile Alex annoys best friend Bex with offers of avocado and broccoli and a rather militant attitude against cookies and cake.  It turns into quite the operatic contretemps:


Bex deserts Alex and tries to make friends with Cal and Devin, who can’t find the rocky cave.  Bex knows the way to the Rocky Cave, so Cal and Devin let Bex tag along.  Once inside the Rocky Cave, Cal and Devin scoop up the diamonds and trap Bex inside the cave with a boulder.

Meanwhile Alex has been quietly following:


Alex rescues Bex and they make up.  Then they trick Cal and Devin and trap them inside the mines:


A complicated yet age appropriate set of negotiations ensue, resulting in Cal and Devin being let out and all the kids in the class sharing in the diamonds.



The Alicorns


Alicorns are magical horses with wings and a horn, a combination Pegasus and unicorn.  They can also take human form, as Andrea, an orphan child who is secretly an alicorn, explains to the audience.  Andrea is lonely, but soon discovers she is not the only secret alicorn child when she sees Bea come through the magic portal that connects her school to the world of the alicorns:


Andrea and Bex transform into alicorns and fly through the portal back to the magic land.  This is witnessed by regular kids Charlie and Diamond, who are, in a word, gobsmacked:


Having seen Andrea and Bea go through the magic portal, Charlie and Diamond follow them, expecting to find riches and treasure.  Turns out the magic land is more Candy Land than Treasure Island:


Charlie and Diamond split up in search of treasure.  Diamond meets Andrea and Bea and warns them that Charlie is planning to break off their horns to sell them for cold hard cash.  Andrea and Bea set up a trap for Charlie in the form of a rigged cardboard alicorn.  Charlie finds the fake alicorn, pulls at the horn and is trapped in a cage:


Once trapped, Charlie sees the error of their ways and vows to become friend and protector of the alicorns.

I see a pattern here of how to convince malefactors to turn good.  Trap them and don’t let them out until they are instant nice people.  Anyway, as many first grade operas do, we end with a happy last song, in this case quite literally the Happy Last Song:


…and so on, in that vein, quite peppily, putting decades of previous 1st grade happy last songs to shame with extra hyper determined happy-last-song-ness.



Today’s final opera performance was heavily influenced by the Kindergarten Fairy Tale Operas these same children produced their previous year, only this time it was a first grade turbo charged version of a Fairy Tale Opera.

We first meet Evil Queen Electric Quiz:


The Evil Queen really doesn’t like Princess Pelora and Price Pete.  Their absolutely adorable life style may have something to do with that:


The Evil Queen pours a potion into the wine bottle to turn Princess Pelora and Prince Pete into frogs.  But some palace guards drink the wine instead.  The ensuing “Why Why Whys…” are sung with extra pathos:


The frogs attack the queen and she drops a magic crystal as she runs off.  Then she uses her magic wand to turn Princess Pete and Princess Pelora into chickens (cue: “Turning into Chickens”).  Some guards find the magic crystal and use it to turn everybody back from frogs and chickens to people.

But the Evil Queen then turns Prince Pete and Princess Pelora into cows (cue: “Turning into Cows”).  The magic crystal doesn’t work in this case, so the guards sneak into the Evil Queen’s chamber, where they find a bottle marked: “Magic Potion that will turn anyone back from being an animal”.  It works.

After all that, the Prince and Princess and the guards have had it with the Evil Queen and she is chased into the forest:


The Evil Queen makes one last dastardly attempt to turn everyone into cows.  But Princess Pelora and Prince Pete stop her with some special magic powers of their own:


The Evil Queen gives up and retreats into the forest, never to come back.  The guards make a list of “What she has done bad”.  Prince Pete and Princess Pelora announce:

“This is the end of the story.  The end.

And we lived happily ever after.”



About dannyashkenasi

I'm a composer with over 40 years experience creating music theater. I'm also an actor, writer, director, producer, teacher and general enthusiast for the arts.
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