José Luis Moscovich

General Director

62nd Season  2017-18


opera in the schools


Opera In The Schools (OITS) - 33rd 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 2017-2018 OITS season will feature a special adaptation of the opera

The Magic Flute

by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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.




Leopold and Anna Maria Mozart had two extremely talented children: Maria Anna, whom the family called Nannerl, born in 1751, and her brother, Wolfgang, born in 1756 in Salzburg, Austria.

Leopold was a musician and soon recognized the talent of his two children. Being five years older, Nannerl was already accomplished on the piano by the time Mozart was showing his talent. When Mozart was only 3 he could repeat a melody played by his father and he could play it on the piano by the age of 4. Leopold trained both of his children in music. When Wolfgang was only 6 and his sister 11, they made their first music tour to Munich. At the age of 6 Mozart wrote his first minuet and in that year he performed before the Empress Marie Therese of Austria at the splendid Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna. At the age of 11 he wrote an oratorio, the next year a mass and his first opera. Mozart and his sister toured Europe and England for several years. He went on to compose much piano and symphonic music, as well as many operas, all of which are still famous to this day.

The Magic Flute was first performed in Vienna in 1791, just two months before Mozart’s death at the very young age of 35. It was a great success. The author of the libretto (story) was Emanuel Schikaneder, the director of an opera house, who also sang the role of the baritone, Papageno. Schikaneder catered to middle-class people, who enjoyed operas involving magic, the appearance of animals onstage, and the use of magical devices to ensure the triumph of good over evil. The Magic Flute involves all these features and in current times is performed frequently throughout the world. Mozart is considered one of the greatest composers who ever lived.


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 Magic Flute
  • small supporting parts and 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 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 in 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 Magic Flute, the students will NOT need to memorize any lines (they don't have speaking parts). But volunteers are still needed for non-speaking roles.

Schools must provide student-volunteers (4th grade or higher) as follows:

  • 2 girls to be attendants to the Queen.
  • 4 boys/girls as dragon carriers and "bad guys"
  • 2 boys to be attendants to Sarastro
  • 2 boys/girls to be stage crew to handle props and sound effects.

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.

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 (in order of appearance)

Tamino – a Prince (tenor)

1st Lady – attendant to the Queen of the Night (soprano)

2nd Lady – attendant to the Queen of the Night (soprano)

Papageno – a fantasy bird-man who catches birds for the Queen (baritone)

Queen of the Night (soprano)

Pamina – daughter of the Queen (soprano)

Sarastro – the High Priest (baritone)

Papagena – a fantasy bird-lady (soprano)

Student Volunteers

Attendants to the Queen

Guards of Sarastro

Dragon Handlers and Guards of Sarastro’s Captain

Stage Crew

Chorus (optional)


Tamino, a young prince, is pursued in the woods by a dragon. As the dragon catches up with him, he calls out for help then faints. Two Ladies-in-Waiting to the Queen of the Night come to his rescue and kill the dragon. The Ladies are struck by the young man’s beauty and leave to tell the Queen about him.

Papageno catches birds for the Queen in exchange for food and drink. As he is

wandering through the woods, he sings about his life (“I am a man of widespread fame”). He comes upon the dead dragon just as Tamino awakens. Tamino wonders who was brave enough to kill the dragon. To impress Tamino, Papageno brags that he killed the dragon. The Ladies overhear him, return and explain to Tamino that they had slain the dragon. To punish Papageno for lying, they put a lock on his mouth so he can’t talk! They then ask Tamino to help find the Queen’s daughter, Pamina, who has been kidnapped by Sarastro, the High Priest, and his men. They give a locket to Tamino with a picture of Pamina. Looking at the picture, Tamino falls instantly in love with Pamina and is determined to rescue her.

The Queen of the Night enters and sings to Tamino (“You, you, you shall free her from bonds of slavery!”), promising him that if he rescues her daughter, she will give Pamina’s hand to him in marriage. Papageno returns still unable to speak because of the lock on his mouth. (Quartet – hm, hm, hm, the poor young lad must surely suffer”).

Tamino convinces Papageno to help him find Pamina, and the Ladies reward him by removing the lock from his mouth. They also give a magic flute to Tamino and magic bells to Papageno to protect them from evil as the try to rescue Pamina. Tamino runs off to find Pamina and Papageno finds himself alone. Pamina enters, running away from Sarastro’s Chief Guard, and meets Papageno. Papageno sings of his desire to find a wife, someone who is like himself, a bird-lady (“I’d give my finest feather”). Pamina tells him that first they must find the prince, Tamino. Sarastro’s Chief Guard, a very cruel man, has sent his guards to find Pamina. The guards find Pamina and Papageno together and try to capture them. Papageno plays his magic bells which puts them under a spell and causes them to dance around helplessly. The guards leave (“This jingles so softly”). (Student guards and student chorus will perform here.)

Sarastro appears and Pamina begs forgivance for trying to escape. She explains that she was trying to get away from the cruel Chief Guard. Tamino and Pamina meet, fall in love at first sight, and sing of their love. Tamino believes that Sarastro is the evil one because of what the Queen of the Night had told him, but Pamina quickly explains that it is not Sarastro who is evil, but her own mother, the Queen. The Queen wants to do away with Sarastro so she can rule the world.

In order to get Papageno to help fight the Queen, Sarastro tells Tamino that he’ll find a wife for Papageno. (Trio – “So must we two forever part?”). Sarastro and Pamina leave. Papageno returns and Tamino convinces him to help him fight the Queen by telling him of Sarastro’s plan to find him a wife. The two Ladies appear to try to get Papageno and Tamino to leave, and they announce that the Queen is nearby. (Quartet–“Ye? Ye? Ye? In this place of night and gloom?”). Pamina comes back and convinces Papageno and Tamino to leave and not face the Queen until they have a plan to defeat her. Pamina stays to await her Mother, the Queen. The Queen enters and angrily tells Pamina that she must kill Sarastro (“The wrath of hell within my breast I cherish”?); – then leaves. Tamino and Papageno reappear, finding Pamina in tears. They all try to think of some magical way to overpower the Queen. Finally, using their magic bells and flute during the fight between the Good Sarastro and the Evil Queen, they defeat the Queen. Tamino asks Pamina to be his wife and together they sing of their love.











MP3s FOR The Magic Flute CHORUS MUSIC PRACTICE (Click on each item to download.)

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Photo: Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang