San Diego Opera singer at Camp Pendleton. Photo by Cheryl Bennet, cour-tesy of Camp Pendleton
The Camp Pendleton performance was one of those evenings when everything came together - we had a great crowd, a warm welcome from base leadership, plenty of fabulous singing, and several members of the local press present to capture it all for posterity. Nick Reveles, the director of education at San Diego Opera (and a significant contributor to the educational materials assembled for the initiative), ably served as narrator for the performance, providing some background for each work as well as tidbits about opera. The repertoire featured several excerpts from The Barber of Seville, which opened at San Diego Opera a few days after the Pendleton performance. Also highlighted were songs from Carmen, The Magic Flute, Lucia di Lammermoor, and a number of American opera and musical theater works including Oklahoma!, A View from the Bridge, and South Pacific. The six singers from the San Diego Opera Ensemble were spectacular, and were rewarded with a standing ovation following the performance.
Educational activities had taken place the previous day. Approximately 600 students, grades 4-6, were bussed in to the base theater from five local elementary schools for a performance of "OperaQuest: Papageno's Phenomenal Adventure." This was apparently a great success, and it was wonderful to have the base engaged to the point that they were willing to bus in students for an educational activity. The commitment of Camp Pendleton staff and leadership to providing new opportunities in the arts for military personnel and their families is to be commended.
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