Lyfta live lessons: Secrets of the Opera

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Live Lessons
Thank you to the 104 classes (some 3120 students) from across the UK and beyond, who participated in our latest Lyfta live lessons this week. This time we visited the National Opera and Ballet in Finland to meet some of the amazing people that work there, in an exciting end-of-term virtual school trip.

Students participating in a Lyfta live lesson
Students participating in a Lyfta live lesson
Tweets from classes across the UK who joined the Lyfta live lessons
Tweets from classes across the UK who joined the Lyfta live lessons
Our trainer Noel started the lesson by introducing the Lyfta globe and showing the students the different spaces we could explore at the National Opera and Ballet in the Secrets of the Opera storyworld.
In this storyworld series, students can explore various spaces at the theatre, hear the stories of the extraordinary people who work here and discover how theatre is all about human stories and creative collaboration.
Students were asked to consider who works in a theatre like this, and who is involved in creating the performances.
We agreed that the team involved is large and varied and there are many, many behind-the-scenes roles that often go unnoticed:

"Costume designers"

"People who design and build the set"

"The musicians who provide the music"

"Dancers and choreographers"

"Electricians and lighting technicians"

"Directors, producers and conductors"

"Directors and conductors"

"The make-up and hair artists"

"Lighting controllers"

Lyfta live lesson on screen
Lyfta live lesson on screen
Students were given the choice of where we would explore during the lesson; the paint studio, costume workshop, backstage or ballet studio. An overwhelming majority selected to go backstage (something we probably wouldn't be able to do on a real trip to the theatre!)
We explored the 360° scene of the backstage area and students were asked to take in the sights and sounds, tell everyone what they noticed and what questions they had about what they had seen and heard.
Students wanted to know how the costume designer keeps track of who needs what, why the space needs to be so big, what the big wooden structure they could see was for, how long it takes to get ready for a performance and how quick the costume changes are (just 20-40 seconds it turns out!)
We then explored the story of Heini, the costume designer in a short film. Students were asked to consider what skills Heini needs to do her job well.

"Patience and efficiency"

"She needs to be organised and flexible"

"She needs to show composure"

"She needs to have quick reactions"

"She needs to work fast and work under pressure"

"She needs to be good at problem solving"

Next Noel took us into the orchestra pit where we were able to view the stage from a different angle and hear a harpist and a violinist play. "That's beautiful!" one class remarked.
We then went to a new 360° space - this time on top of the main stage, looking out into the theatre as performers would. Students were asked how they would feel if they were on the stage.




It was wonderful to see the classes moving in time and waving their arms in the air as we listened to the instruments being played in the orchestra pit and then an opera singer singing on the stage.
While exploring the space, someone spotted the person in a little box under the stage and asked who it was, what were they doing there? We clicked on them and heard their story in another short film. This time we met Lini, the prompter who plays a vital role in the theatre, helping the performers to remember and deliver their lines at the right time. A real unsung hero! Lini talked about her passion for music, how she used to be the one on the stage, why she gave up her career as a professional singer and why she now loves her job underneath the stage.
It was a pleasure to travel to the opera and ballet with classes from across the UK and beyond - and we didn't even need to venture out in the snow.
Lyfta subscribers can access the full Secrets of the Opera storyworld series and explore the other exciting spaces with their classes next term.
Human Stories
Immersive Learning
Lyfta Live Lessons
Cultural Capital