NORTH TONAWANDA —
Jasinski and fellow teaching artist Sara Kovacsi visited St. Andrew’s Country Day School and St. Amelia’s School in the Town of Tonawanda, Kenmore East High School, St. Gregory the Great School in Williamsville, South Side Elementary School No. 93 in Buffalo, Enterprise Charter School and Holland High School, all of which will be sending students to the Wednesday performance.
“The whole idea is that a prepared audience is a good audience,” said Jasinski, who also plays Lady Sangazure in the production. “The more they know, the more they’ll get out of it. And what better way to prepare than to have a character come in?”
The artists presented lessons in the background and history of the opera, character development and rhyming schemes, and took a look at tongue-twisters (and demonstrated in the form of one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic “patter songs” — in this case, “My Name is John Wellington Wells” from “The Sorcerer”).
Jasinksi said it’s all to give students a chance to open their minds to something they might otherwise not experience.
“To me, the magic of live theater is something irreplaceable,” she said during a recent visit to St. Andrew’s. “They’re so used to everything being virtual. This is all using your imagination, the sets, the lights ... all the aspects of live theater. To me, that is the greatest thing. They’re pretty responsive to it.”
They’re not the only ones. St. Andrew’s teacher Mark Kobel said he’s looking forward to the performance as much as the students are.
“They get into a groove on the kind of video games they like, the TV shows they watch, but nobody ever shows them something different,” he said. “I’m hoping this is something that makes them listen. ... I’m just trying to get them exposed to more things that are great in our society, and opera isn’t a bad thing.