Photo gallery: Infants get the opera bug at Arden Grove Infant School in Norwich

Arden Grove Infant School children meet the characters in the English Touring Opera performance of Borka - The Goose With No Feathers. From left, Chloe Farrow, 4; Kobby Taylor, 5 (front); Sienna Fuller, 5; Susan Moore with Ferdinand; Emily-Jane Thomas with Borka; Archie Brydon, 4; Lexie Norton, 5; and Johnny Herford with Fowler the dog. Picture: Denise Bradley Arden Grove Infant School children meet the characters in the English Touring Opera performance of Borka - The Goose With No Feathers. From left, Chloe Farrow, 4; Kobby Taylor, 5 (front); Sienna Fuller, 5; Susan Moore with Ferdinand; Emily-Jane Thomas with Borka; Archie Brydon, 4; Lexie Norton, 5; and Johnny Herford with Fowler the dog. Picture: Denise Bradley

Saturday, April 26, 2014
10:00 AM

It may not have the grandeur of Covent Garden, but a city school proved to be the perfect place to inspire a love of opera among infants.

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One boy at Arden Grove Infant School in Norwich said he almost fainted with joy when the story of Borka - The Goose with no Feathers, was brought to life by the English Touring Opera.

The performance, which involved puppets, singers and audience participation, was based on a book by John Burningham, and organised through the Umbrella Trust, formed by Arden Grove, Hellesdon High School and Norwich Theatre Royal to offer children exciting experiences to inspire them.

The performance won glowing reviews from its young audience.

Speaking after yesterday’s one-hour performance, Luca Cunningham, six, described it as “extraordinary and awesome”, while Ruby Hazel, six, said: “I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was the best thing I have ever seen.”

Thomas Hannant, seven, said: “When I saw the opera, it nearly made me faint with joy.”

Headteacher Daniel Thrower said: “It was magical. The children’s faces were a joy to watch. They loved the way opera told the story and they especially enjoyed the two songs they were able to join in with.

“All week they have had the story read to them and all week they have been learning the words to two songs.”

Explaining how the children benefitted from the visit, he added: “It is all about getting the children to be totally immersed in the arts. Through doing this, the work prior too and after such an amazing experience is always of a higher standard.

“Children need to be inspired, if they are, then the work they produce is always better. Through the Umbrella Trust, we are able to offer children once in a lifetime experiences that they will never forget and will inspire them to do well in school.”

Should more be done to promote opera in the community? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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