The Red Apple Opera Company, a Community Education activity of the Saline School District, is proud to present “Fruits of Labor,” an opera in one act, written for and performed by children for children. The curtain goes up at 7 pm., Fri, May 12 and again at 2 pm., Sat., May 13 at the Liberty School Theater, 7265 N. Ann Arbor St., Saline.
“Fruits of Labor” is Red Apple's second production, following the success of last year's adaptation of “Hansel and Gretel” which played to enthusiastic audiences, including some who didn't know they would really enjoy opera.
“Opera is a fabulous art form,” says Bob Cindric, co-founder of Red Apple and music teacher at Woodland Meadows Elementary School. “Rather than kids just hearing about it or reading about it, they get a chance to actually experience it.”
And apparently embrace it. Performers in the 18-member cast (ranging in age from seven to 12) have already contributed staging and creative production ideas for the show. Cindric's Red Apple co-founder and co-director Norma Freeman says, “They get it. They like it. They realize that the best way to tell a story is to sing it!”
With a running time of less than an hour, performances of “Fruits of Labor” are recommended for an audience of kids approximately five to 10 years of age. It tells the story of what happens when a neighborhood park is suddenly given extra land and the kindly park ranger must decide what to do with it. Not surprisingly, different youngsters who use the park have very differing ideas. And of course the wildlife critters who reside there watch everything with great interest. Admission is $5 per person and there is no charge for children who sit in a parent's lap.
Producer Rebecca Groeb, who is the Saline district's Cultural Arts Specialist and Theater Manager, is happy that opera is now being introduced to students in grades three through seven. “We've done some wonderful productions in the middle and high schools,” she says. “Thankfully we have great community support and parents here understand the value and importance of the arts in their children's lives.”
“Fruits of Labor” is an original opera by two Michigan natives, composer Susan M. Anderson and librettist Cindy J. Skalsky. Says Anderson, “My goal was to create something for children that was different, stimulating, yet could inspire more complex, deeper and thoughts and feelings.”
And everyone has a good time along the way.