José Luis Moscovich

General Director

62nd Season  2017-18


opera in the schools


Opera In The Schools (OITS) - 34th Season

West Bay Opera’s Opera In The Schools (OITS) program has been raising awareness about opera among grade-school children since 1984. Each year, the OITS cast performs in 30 to 40 grade schools, reaching nearly 20,000 children.  Participating OITS schools are located throughout the San Francisco Peninsula and South Bay, from Daly City to the north to as far south as Santa Cruz.

OITS singers perform a standard-repertoire opera, in English translation, abridged and adapted for children. Our adaptations include opportunities for some of the children to participate in the productions, either as chorus singers, actors, or stage hands.

Participating schools receive preparatory materials well in advance of the performance. Teachers use these materials to prepare the chorus and help the children learn their acting parts, and also to enhance the children's understanding of the genre and of the particular work we are presenting. This contributes to the children's appreciation of the genre and to their enjoyment of the production.  For some of them, this first exposure can be the start of a very rewarding life-long relationship with opera.

The 2018-2019 OITS season will feature a special adaptation of the opera

The Daughter of the Regiment

by Gaetano Donizetti

Don't Wait to Schedule a Performance!

Donations from private donors and foundations enable us to subsidize the cost of our program to the schools. Each season, the subsidized fees are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, until subsidy funds are exhausted. We encourage you to contact us as soon as possible during October to reserve your performance date and secure the lower fees.

The subsidized fees are $600 for a single performance and $770 for two consecutive performances on the same morning.*





OITS performances are only offered in the morning.  Typical schedule for two performances is 9:15 and 10:30 a.m.

Performances can be scheduled Monday through Friday from the last week in January to the first week in June.

For general questions, and to schedule a performance, contact our


Balbina Heitner



or call her directly at 415-810-5148

We will make every effort to accommodate your date requests, but for the sake of efficiency, please write us with a choice of at least 3 dates, or a range of dates that work for you. We will respond within 48 hours of receiving your e-mail.




Gaetano Donizetti was born in Italy in 1797. He died in 1848, when he was only 51.  He was born to a very poor family, the youngest of three sons.  In 1830, after years of struggling, he had his first big hit with the opening of the opera Anna Bolena in Milan, which made him instantly famous all over Europe.  Just two years after that he composed The Elixir of Love, a comic opera that is still very popular today, and which OITS performs regularly in the schools, and then he composed the now very famous Lucia di Lammermoor, which has been performed as a main-stage production at West Bay Opera several times over the last six decades. He got married and had three children, but his wife Virginia and all three children all died in the 1830s. By the mid 1840’s he got very sick and, sadly, he became insane. He died in Bergamo, the city where he was born.  He left us 75 operas, 16 symphonies, 19 string quartets and almost 200 songs, among many other compositions.


In addition to the actual performance by OITS in your school, you will receive materials that will enable you to prepare the students in advance to really profit from the experience. Here are the details:

West Bay Opera Provides:

  • three professional singers, in costume, and a pianist;
  • a 40-minute performance of our English adaptation of The Daughter of the Regiment
  • speaking parts and supernumerary (non-speaking) assignments, as well as an optional chorus designed to involve your student-volunteers
  • written pedagogical materials for advance in-classroom preparation, including a synopsis of the opera, a biographical note about the composer, mp3s and sheet music for chorus practice (if you choose to include the optional chorus), definitions of key opera and music concepts, and materials appropriate for the lower grades, such as coloring sketches of the main characters and opera crossword puzzles.

The Schools Provide:

  • a piano in good tune
  • a performance area cleared of other material and available at least one hour prior to the scheduled start of the performance
  • volunteer student actors, as detailed in the next section
  • a custodian on standby
  • in-classroom review of preparation materials (to make the experience more meaningful for the students)

Our performances are structured so as to provide opportunities for student participation. This is a key element in demystifying opera and making it real and fun for the children, whether they are volunteering or watching their peers do it.

Students must be selected and assigned to the specific parts or responsibilities well in advance of the performance and they need to be instructed to be available 45 minutes before the scheduled performance time. Our singers and stage director will be at the school at least an hour before, to set up and then work with the students to get them staged into the show and make them feel at ease.

For The Daughter of the Regiment, there are opportunities for 8 student volunteers, as follows:


1 girl - Marquise of Berkenfield, Marie’s long lost aunt.

1 girl or boy - Hortensius, trusted servant to the Marquise

4 boys or girls – Soldier #1, Soldier #2, Soldier #3 and Soldier #4

2 boys or girls – Footman #1 and Footman #2


Of these, only one the two footmen does not have lines to memorize. The other 7 roles do.  The Marquise and Hortensius have the most lines to memorize and should be played by student volunteers who are good at memorizing. It will be important for them to practice, ahead of time, in the classroom, to get comfortable delivering those lines in front of an audience.

Schools must provide student-volunteers from the 4th grade or higher.

If your school is requesting performances at 2 assemblies (we do both in the same morning), the same student volunteers will be used in both performances, because there is no time to train two sets of volunteers.

Chorus (this is optional) -- The chorus may be a group of any size but advance preparation is required for the children to learn the music before they come to the performance.  If you are requesting two assemblies, you can prepare two separate choruses, or use the same children at both.   If there are two separate choruses, each group should report 15 minutes before their own performance time to get instructions and to rehearse their music with our accompanist.  The teachers’ materials include the sheet music and mp3s of the music to be practiced.

All study materials are posted on this site and several full packets will also be mailed to the schools that choose to participate in the program, approximately 6 weeks prior to the scheduled performances at each school.


Place: Far away.

Time: Once upon a time


The Characters


Maria – the "daughter" (girl) of the regiment (soprano)

Tonio– a Tyrolean peasant (tenor)

Sulpice - a French grenadier sergeant.


Once upon a time there was a little baby named Marie.  Suddenly, the carriage she was traveling in found itself in the middle of a battle. The nanny in charge of Marie was terribly frightened. In the confusion of war, she got separated from the baby, and she ran away. Marie was rescued by some of the soldiers.  Unable to find anyone to take the baby, they decided to raise her as their own.  “(The thunder of battle was my cradle song”) and (“We are the best, second to none”)

Many years later Marie is walking in the mountains near the soldiers’ camp.  She slips and is saved by a young man named Tonio.  Stunned by Marie’s beauty Tonio falls instantly in love with her and follows her back to the camp.  When he is caught sneaking around the camp, Marie explains to the soldiers that Tonio rescued her and that he was not their enemy.

Tonio tells Sulpice, Marie’s adoptive father, how much he loves Marie.  Sulpice has decided that Marie can only marry another member of the 21st Regiment.  So Tonio runs away and enlists in the army. We’ll learn more about Tonio later in the story.

Later, Sulpice meets an older woman and her servant, Hortensius. She is the Marquise de Berkenfield.  Sulpice remembers meeting a Captain Robert Berkenfield.  The Marquise tells Sulpice that her sister had married a Robert Berkenfield and that their child had been lost during a fierce battle.

Realizing that Marie must be the Marquise’ niece, Sulpice rushes to introduce them.  The Marquise is shocked at Marie’s rough manners and decides to take her home and make a lady out of her.  As they are getting ready to leave, Tonio returns having joined the Regiment (“Yes, it is true, I am a soldier”) and tells his comrades that he will marry Marie on his “Day of Glory”.  Marie tells her friends that she must go. (“I must depart”)

When Marie arrives at the home of the Marquise, she is made to learn the manners of the court.  This means learning to sing “appropriate” songs (“The grove lay still and cool”).  No more singing the songs that the soldiers had taught her.  The Marquise is hoping the Marie will marry the wealthy Duke of Krackenthorp, and she must learn to behave like a future Duchess.  When Sulpice is sent to the castle to recover from a wound, he and Marie sing the songs of Marie’s soldier upbringing.  This makes Marie feel sad, but hearing the regiment march by, she cheers up. “(All hail to my country”).

The soldiers have brought Tonio to visit Marie.  Sulpice, Tonio and Marie sing a happy song (“Isn’t this utter bliss?”) telling of their joy at being back together.

The Marquise comes in and sees them together.  She orders Tonio to leave.  Tonio convinces the Marquise to tell everyone the truth, that Marie is her daughter not her niece.  Marie had been misplaced by a servant who was supposed to return her to her mother’s care after Captain Robert Berkenfield was killed. The Marquise and the Captain had married secretly, against her parents’ wishes.  When the Captain was called back to war the Marquise returned home. She left Marie with a trusted servant never thinking that Marie’s father would be killed.

Realizing that Marie’s happiness is more important than the planned marriage to the Duke, the Marquise gives her blessing to the young couple.  Marie sings a toast to love and friendship (“A toast to the future!”) as the opera ends.












MP3s FOR The Daughter of the Regiment CHORUS MUSIC PRACTICE (Click on each item to download.)

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Photo: Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang