Established in 1970, Opera for the Young (OFTY) has evolved from its founders’ “labor of love” to its present status as a fully professional opera company. OFTY is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit and is not affiliated with any other organization.

The mission of Opera for the Young
is to ignite enthusiasm for opera.

The artistic vision in pursuit of that mission:

1.) Engage and educate children about opera with professional, affordable school-based performances;

2.) Involve students in all aspects – from design to performance;

3.) Provide professional opportunities for artists;

4.) Create new works especially intended for young audiences;

5.) Broaden access to opera for the entire community.

Opera for the Young brings live, professional opera to elementary school audiences with annual Fall and Spring tours. Students appear onstage in chorus and cameo roles, performing for their peers right alongside OFTY’s professional artists. All productions are fully staged, sung in English and adapted especially for kids.

Optional artist-in-residence packages — Class Chats or Opera by Design — supplement basic OFTY programming. Experience confirms that residencies greatly enhance our product. Residency artists reach children on a far more personal basis; they have the luxury of time to make personal connections with the entire student body. Because residency programs are incorporated into the students’ own classrooms, they make a lasting, profound impression. Residency schools develop a vastly increased sense of ownership in the OFTY experience.

On the day of the performance, the cast arrives at the school. That morning, cast members travel to individual classrooms where they lead discussions about opera and prepare students for their upcoming roles as chorus and audience members. In the afternoon, our cast of four professional singers and one pianist, along with 16 students in chorus and cameo speaking roles, presents the opera for the entire school, in the school gym. A question-and-answer period with the cast follows each performance.

Each year, OFTY reaches over 75,000 elementary school children throughout the Midwest to ignite an enthusiasm for opera.

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