MES Attends Opera

MES Students Delight in UTM Opera Production
Posted on 04/25/2022
This is the image for the news article titled MES Students Delight in UTM Opera ProductionNearly 300 Martin Elementary fourth and fifth graders got the first peek at the University of Tennessee at Martin’s Music Lyric Opera Theatre production of Hansel and Gretel on Friday. While the formal opening is Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Harriet Fulton Theatre with a second performance on Thursday, the students were invited guests of UTM Professor of Voice Amy Yeung for a first look.

Yeung, who directed the selected scenes from Engelbert Humperdinck’s take on the Grimm fairy tale, is also the mother of MES student Mariana Ivansic. She adapted the work to a 35-minute presentation to fit the MES schedule and to lean more into the playfulness of the story.

To prepare for the experience, teachers like Carrie Stringer talked about the story of Hansel and Gretel in advance.

“For most of our students, it’s a new cultural experience,” acknowledged the fifth grade teacher.

All aspects of the new experience were covered as Principal Patresa Rogers and teachers escorted the six busloads of students into the theater. There Rogers encouraged “proper theater behavior” and explained how the theater’s staggered seating allowed for all rows of the full house to enjoy the show.

Yeung welcomed the audience and noted that she was impressed with their behavior as she launched into a brief explanation of what the children would see.

The production included performers Macy Earley, Elizabeth Bennett, Caroline Oldfather, Nylan Barr, Samuel Green, Jessica Hardin, Anastasia Duncan, and Ella Sego. Pianist Chan Mi Jean accompanied the singers.

The students’ engagement was evident throughout the show as giggles erupted over the brother and sister’s playful antics at home and in the forest and laughter burst forth when the witch made (in an unusual twist) HIS cackling debut amidst the tantalizing delights of the gingerbread house.

Afterwards Yeung remarked on the enjoyment of both the audience and her cast, “It’s nice to show them a traditional story but at the same time have fun and learn a lesson. It warms my heart to hear the laughter and see that the kids are having fun. We are all having fun.”

Rogers expressed appreciation for the efforts Yeung and the older students as they worked with the elementary school around the testing schedule.

“We are grateful that our neighbors down the street were willing to invite us in and to focus on what would be a great and probably first-time experience for our students at Martin Elementary. I was excited throughout the week, and we were all rewarded with an exceptional performance,” she said.

Cast in costumes sit on floor of theater in front of full house of 4th and 5th grade students in theater seating
The cast of the University of Tennessee at Martin’s Music Lyric Opera Theatre production of Hansel and Gretel poses with the nearly 300 Martin Elementary students who attended a special presentation of the show which continues this week on Wednesday and Thursday evening.

professor in red coat takes a selfie with the packed house of 4th and 5th graders
UTM Professor of Voice Amy Yeung takes a selfie with Martin Elementary students following the presentation of scenes from Engelbert Humperdinck’s take on the Grimm fairy tale.