The Singing Voice

An Opera Company of Philadelphia Program
Target Audience: 
Grades 3-5 (10am-11am); Grades 6-8 (11am-12pm)
Requirements for Participation: 

There are 4 spaces available for MAGPI Members. Members must have H.323 videoconferencing capabilities.

There are 4 spaces available for Non-MAGPI Members who are connected to their state/national research and education network, and have H.323 videoconference capabilties.

October 26 through November 4, 2012 is National Opera Week!

To honor the celebration of this classical music tradition, the Opera Company of Philadelphia will present a series of interactive events to communities, schools and educational programs to promote awareness about opera.

MAGPI joins the Opera Company of Philadelphia in celebrating opera by presenting three interactive videoconference programs: The Singing Voice on Tuesday, October 30, 2012, and the National Opera Week Chorus Festival and Opera Audition Workshop on Thursday, November 1, 2012.

The Singing Voice


Program Description

How do opera singers sing and project their voices over a 60-piece orchestra?

Opera Company of Philadelphia’s Michael Bolton explains the techniques of opera singing and engages students in some exercises that asks—and answers—the question: who has the loudest voice in the room and why?

Among other knowledge gained, students will better understand the voice; different parts of the anatomy of the face and torso; the importance of resonance in singing and acoustics. Students will compete to see who has the best lung capacity.

This program culminates with the performance of a song or opera aria.

Videoconference Outline

Welcome and Introductions (10 minutes)

What is Resonance? (10 minutes)
What musical instruments and everyday items have resonance? Where can we feel it in our bodies? Students will be guided through several brief hands-on exercises to become aware of the resonance within their bodies

The Importance of the Breath (10 minutes)
How do our bodies react when we breathe? From where do we breathe in our bodies? Students will explore how their bodies work when they breathe.

Lung Capacity(10 minutes)
Students will gauge their lung capacity by blowing up balloons with one inhalation of breath and then measuring the circumference of the balloon with a vinyl tape measure. The largest balloon wins!

Performance by Michael Bolton (5 minutes)

Discussion/Q&A (15 minutes)

About the Presenter

With the Opera Company of Philadelphia since 2001, Michael Bolton is currently the Vice President of Community Programs. In this capacity, he oversees the Company’s acclaimed student literacy program, Sounds of Learning™, through which almost 5,000 students attend an OCP production each season. Under Mr. Bolton’s leadership, the program has expanded its reach to 150 schools from Cape May Court House, New Jersey, to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The program now boasts a burgeoning online community of student opera bloggers and weekly opera themed emails which provide free opera content to middle and high school students.

Winner of OPERA America’s first ever Diversity Award in 2006 for his community-wide outreach programming for Richard Danielpour and Toni Morrison’s opera Margaret Garner, Mr. Bolton organized 17 events in collaboration with over 20 community partners which were seen by over 2,000 attendees in preparation for the opera’s East Coast premiere in February, 2006. Other activities with the Company include community and pre-performance lectures, free community recitals, the annual Academy of Music Open House Tour which allows patrons to tour our artistic home and walk on a fully mounted opera set, the lecture-recital series A Taste of Opera, and forging partnerships within Philadelphia.

One of the most fruitful of these partnerships was Hip H’opera with Art Sanctuary in February, 2007 in which students’ original poems were set to music by classical composers. The program was seen by over 15 schools and was main feature of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Summer Solstice Program in 2007. Mr. Bolton is now in the process of expanding the program with the collaboration of two additional Philadelphia arts organizations: Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, and Philadelphia Young Playwrights.

Renowned for his educational opera presentations, Mr. Bolton has lectured on opera for Opera Company of Philadelphia, The Curtis Institute of Music, Cheyney University, Temple University’s Music Preparation program, American Association of University Women, Penn State Abington, The Union League, Gershman Y, and the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, among others.

Since April, 2010, Mr. Bolton has been organizing “pop-up” performances throughout Philadelphia. Funded by the Knight Foundation’s Random Acts of Culture initiative which brings the arts out of the concert hall and into the community, Mr. Bolton’s random acts have included two events at Reading Terminal Market (the Brindisi from La Traviata and the Toreador Song from Carmen) organizing a 650 voice choir for a performance of the Hallelujah Chorus at Macy’s in Philadelphia, and several more. The video documents of these events have yielded over 10 million hits on YouTube.

Mr. Bolton attended Temple University's Esther Boyer College of Music and studied classical voice with George Massey. Following his college training he continued his vocal studies with Wayne Conner, Marianne Casiello, and Paulo Faustini. He has performed roles in such operas as Gianni Schicchi, Un ballo in maschera, Beatrice et Benedict, and Tosca, and has sung with Bel Canto Lyric Opera, Concert Opera Philadelphia, and the Wayne Oratorio Society. As a freelance voiceover actor, Mr. Bolton's voice has been heard throughout the Philadelphia region on area radio and television stations. An avid record collector, Mr. Bolton has over 5,000 CDs in his collection.