Ash Lawn Opera brings classical music to over 1,000 local schoolchildren!

April 14, 2016
Contact: Lydia Zodda, (434) 293-4500 /


with its 2016 Artist-in-Residence program, Looking at Opera through Così fan tutte

Next week, April 18 through 22, Ash Lawn Opera’s Artist-in-Residence program will bring opera to over 1,000 children in thirteen public schools and after-school programs throughout Charlottesville and Albemarle County – reaching more children than ever before. This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the Artist-in-Residence program, which has reached over 13,600 people since it began in 1994.

These hour-long interactive sessions will focus on Mozart’s Così fan tutte, which Ash Lawn Opera will present at The Paramount Theater this July. Led by Washington, D.C.-based Teaching Artist and soprano Mary Gresock, participants will learn the fundamentals of opera and emotional expression in music, and will reenact scenes from Così and sing excerpts from the opera. Gresock will be accompanied by Charlottesville-based pianist and educator Shelby Sender.

Past Artist-in-Residence programs have been praised from participating students and teachers. Students called the 2015 Artist-in-Residence programs, which focused on Madama Butterfly, “very pretty and colorful” and “so fun!” Teachers noted that Mary Gresock made opera fun through songs, instruments, props, and costumes. One wrote, “It was nice to see… shy children participate fully,” while another mentioned that “several of the children are still doing the fan dance [Mary taught them]!” One teacher highlighted how important the presentation was for her students because her “kids get very few cultural experiences.”

The Artist-in-Residence program is part of Ash Lawn Opera’s long-standing commitment to providing free, year-round education opportunities to students and adults of all ages in the Charlottesville and Albemarle County community. The Ash Lawn Opera Guild Education Committee oversees the Artist-in-Residence program, led by chair Jean Wilhelm.

2016 Artist-in-Residence Program Schedule

April 18

10:20 am: Stone Robinson Elementary

1:30 pm: Johnson Elementary

4:00 pm: Greer Extended Day Enrichment Program

April 19

9:30 am: Burnley-Moran Elementary

1:30 pm: Meriwether Lewis Elementary

April 20

9:30 am: Cale Elementary

1:30 pm: Jackson-Via Elementary

April 21

9:30 and 10:30 am: Greenbrier Elementary

1:30 pm: Clark Elementary

4:00 pm: Brownsville Extended Day Enrichment Program

April 22

9:30 am: Venable Elementary

4:00 pm: Southwood Boys and Girls Club

Ash Lawn Opera has presented fully-staged opera and musical theater in Charlottesville since 1978. The 2016 season includes a semi-staged version of Verdi’s La traviata on May 13 and 15 in collaboration with The Oratorio Society of Virginia, and fully-staged productions of Mozart’s Così fan tutte on June 30, July 10, 13, and 15 and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific on July 23, 24, 27, 29, and 30. All performances will be held at The Paramount Theater except for the June 30 production of Così, which will be held at the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre at Virginia Tech.

Photo: Teaching Artist Mary Gresock leads the 2015 Artist-in-Residence program at Southwood Boys and Girls Club.