Garsington Opera Workshop

On 18th April, I, along with 30 other students at Kendrick, took part in the Garsington Opera Workshop. At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew we would be learning about the opera ‘Marriage of Figaro’ that we would be seeing in July.

It started off fun and engaging; the people running the workshop were very friendly and made everyone feel included and involved. We did a few warm-up exercises which helped us get to know each other.  We were encouraged to interact and stand next to people in different Year groups. Throughout the workshop, we listened to songs from the opera being played on piano and translated into English in order to help us understand the opera in more detail, which was very helpful. We also heard sections of the opera being performed by the workers, who were also opera singers, and it was fascinating to watch and learn more.


I thoroughly enjoyed not just singing extracts from the opera, but also acting and feeling the emotions from the words to connect with the story behind the music. Some of us were picked to play the characters in some sections of the workshop when the story of the opera was being told.  It helped us engage more, and we appreciated getting involved.


Towards the end of the workshop, we helped compose a piece of music to reflect our interpretation of how the opera might end.  As an A-level music student myself, this was one of my favourite parts. The workshop was very interesting and inclusive as well as creative and imaginative. We were able to ask the workers questions about opera as well as music in general, which was very useful, especially as I am interested in a career in music in the future. I definitely developed in confidence as well as musicality and my knowledge of the opera grew significantly in a short space of time.

Georgia - Year 12

The Garsington Opera Workshop was an immersive experience that allowed me to learn more about the fascinating world of opera in less than a day. 

We started off with a few fun warm-ups which were extremely engaging and led by the lovely and enthusiastic staff. We were then introduced to the opera ‘Marriage of Figaro’, and given a talk about its origins, when Mozart wrote it and about the key characters within the play. 

After that, we ran through some of the songs from the opera that had been translated into English. One of my personal highlights was when some of the visitors kindly sang them for us in both English and Italian, which made the lyrics stand out and, due to the strong emotion in their voices, even the Italian became comprehensible. Some students were selected to play the characters, which, in my opinion, made the story more interesting and almost like a pantomime. The next section was freeze framing, and we were asked to act out sections of the opera that we had gone through, which was my favourite part. It was a comical affair, yet we all seemed to learn better with this very ‘hands on’ approach. 

Finally, we were left on a cliffhanger and therefore did not discover the ending. We instead created our own, as one of the helpers was an incredibly skilled composer, and worked off our varying lyric suggestions, and we formed a melody for a couple of verses and a chorus.

Overall, I would say this experience was enriching and enthralling in every way, and I am incredibly grateful to have been a part of it and cannot wait to see the opera in July! 

Shathana - Year 9