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Lyric Opera of Chicago to Perform at Simeon High

A free arts program by the Lyric Opera of Chicago exposes inner-city children to opera.

Todd Rosenberg

WEST CHATHAM — An arts program by the Lyric Opera of Chicago that's aimed at educating elementary students about opera will put on a free performance at Simeon Career Academy High School.

The 19th annual "Opera in the Neighborhoods" tour will be at Simeon, 8141 S. Vincennes Ave., on Oct. 28 for two performances of "The Brothers Grimm," said Mark Riggleman, director of education for the nonprofit.

All performances during the five-week tour, which ends Nov. 6, are free and in English. Schools scheduled to attend the Simeon performance are CICS Longwood Charter School, Ancona Elementary School, Jane Addams Elementary School, Kipling Elementary School and Westcott Elementary School.

About 160 students in third through sixth grades at nearby Westcott, 409 W. 80th St., will walk down the street to attend the performance, said Stephanie Mistretta, who coordinates programs for Westcott on behalf of Communities In Schools of Chicago.

"Westcott students have been attending for at least four years now and they love it. The kids think [opera] is really cool," Mistretta said. "Simeon is a skip and a hop away so we walk there. The kids come back singing and asking when is the next show."

There will be a 15-minute question-and-answer session afterward between the students and cast, and prior to the performance schools are sent study guides about the performance to share with their students.

Riggleman said the program also allows many inner-city students to see an opera performance for the first time.

"Opera is not always popular among younger children, especially in urban neighborhoods," he said. "But by bringing these free performances to local schools it makes it easier for children to attend and that's what we want."

Though 85 percent of students who attend Chicago Public Schools are black and Hispanic, Riggleman said this is the first year the cast does not have any minority performers.

The 45-minute show is written for elementary students and is funded by an anonymous donor, Riggleman said.

** reprinted from Reprinted from DNAInfo by DNAInfo Staff Octobe 24, 2014 5:29am **

Keywords: Auburn Gresham, auburn gresham gold, education, Simeon Career Academy, West Chatham

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