APRIL 18, 2012 — More than 50 students at Charles Towne Montessori are busy with preparations for a five-act opera they’ll perform 6 p.m. April 27 at the Scottish Rite Center in West Ashley.
CTM students in the elementary class (grades 1-6) and primary classes (ages 3-6) have been practicing their roles for weeks for “Persephone,” which was written by former CTM teacher Sanford Jones, one of the world’s top composers of operas for children.
“Not only are we celebrating our school’s 40th year with this performance of ‘Persephone,’ but we’re celebrating more than 25 years of operatic compositions by one of our former teachers,” said Head of School and co-director Edward Jackson. “He’s one of the world’s foremost composers of children’s operas and we’re please he’ll join us for this performance.”
In this operatic rendering of a Greek myth of separation and reunion, the Lord of the Underworld, Hades, abducts Persephone. Demeter, Persephone’s mother and the goddess of growing things, is grief-stricken and no longer tends her garden. The Earth then becomes dry and barren. Only an intervention by Zeus restores the heroine to her family.
“Our students are learning an enormous amount in the production of ‘Persephone,’” Jackson said. “In addition to uncovering the world of ancient Greece and its myths, they are learning hands-on lessons about responsibility and teamwork. They’re learning how to be confident in presenting themselves. And they’re getting key lessons related to music and drama that will enhance their abilities to communicate effectively in the future.”
The public is invited to attend the children’s opera. Tickets are $10 for adults. Children 12 and under are admitted for free. The performance, which will last more than an hour, will be at the Scottish Rite Center, 1051 Sam Rittenberg Blvd., Charleston.
Co-directors are Jackson and CTM teacher Lynn Newman. Two outside actresses will play key roles. Local soprano Esther Williams will play Demeter, Persephone’s mother. Persephone will be played by Tori Newman, a student at the School of the Arts. The accompanist is pianist Esther Ablonczy.