I learned about an opera created for school kids in 2006 about bullying. Elijah's Kite was created by a Canadian group called Tapestry and was composed by James Rolfe and writer Camyar Chai.
Elijah’s Kite is a morality tale that deals with bullying and school violence. It is written with tenderness and humour, and explores the issues of friendship, loneliness and self image. Nine year old Elijah feels alone in the school yard and is often bullied by Big Billy Brett. For comfort, Elijah brings his favourite kite to school and dreams of flying away. One day, Elijah meets a
strong new girl named Miriam who isn’t afraid of Billy and stands up to him. However, Miriam soon learns to use her new power in the peer group in a negative manner and begins bullying others herself. In the end, by developing empathy for each other and appreciating diversity, they all discover what it takes to make Elijah’s kite fly: caring and cooperation!
What a wonderful way to bring opera to students with issues that directly effect their generation. The performance I read about included a hands on art activity where students got to make kites and then launched them with the opera singers. The study guide is available on line for teachers and students.
FYI: I am still absorbing the art from Chicago, I will blog about the good the bad and the ugly when I have processed.