Opera and ballet can reach into the hearts of young and old to teach us timeless truths. About Turandot, an eight-year-old boy said, "Even though it has a happy ending, I don't think Turandot is a happy opera. The best character [Liu] dies. I think this is a tragedy." This statement inspired a class of 6-8 year olds to confront the nature of tragedy and apply it, not only to the opera, but also to their own experiences.
Romeo and Juliet shows that music and dance can convey story and truth as eloquently as Shakespeare's words.
Adults and children come to understand how Puccini's use of exotic chords and scales contributed to the disastrous opening night of Madama Butterfly. They feel Puccini's despair, and his ultimate triumph, when this becomes one of the most beloved operas of all time. Discussion follows on intolerance and how history is sometimes a better judge of a work than those immersed in their own culture.
Teenagers play with the "theatrical words" of an opera such as La Traviata: "piangi" (weep), "morro" (I shall die), "sacrifizio" (sacrifice). They become very involved in the dilemmas and the heart-wrenching choices that need to be made. We explore what they would do in the same circumstances.