"The Classroom: A Children's Peace Opera" is an extraordinary, one-act opera that teaches children about diversity and tolerance. The opera follows students from two opposing groups as they go about their school day. Suitable for performance at the elementary or middle school level, "The Classroom" has a tuneful score and offers students a wonderful introduction to opera.
A school day begins like all others for the students of one particular class. But this is no ordinary class, because the students come from two different opposing backgrounds. Still, they don't notice any differences between them. The students greet each other outside the classroom (Good Morning) then the Teacher ushers them inside and takes attendance. The Teacher then makes and announcement that they will be getting a new student who will arrive for a visit later in the day. Before beginning her math lesson, the Teacher is interrupted once more by a student who wishes to sing a song. The Teacher patiently tells her she can sing it in a little while. Studies commence with a lesson in math (Math Song). At the urging of the Teacher, the students all join in. Then seeing there is time for music, the Teacher fulfills the students earlier request and lets her sing a song. The girl announces that the song was written by her father as a lesson to her because she had had a quarrel with one of her friends and wishes to make up. The girl sings (Student's ballad: There is Something Special). After the song, the bell rings for lunch.
In the lunchroom, the students sit at their tables and unpack what their parents had given them for lunch. They complain and begin to trade their food (What Do You have For Lunch?). After eating, the students go outside for recess. They are reminded that they have to practice for the big soccer game and begin to kick a soccer ball around (Kick the Ball Around). After recess, it's time to go back to the classroom.
The Teacher welcomes the students back. She announces that it is story time and begins reading. One student is skeptical about reading fairy tales. The Teacher explains why they are important (Story Time). Then comes the dreaded test in geography. The students are scared (A Test!) but are relieved to have done well. After the test is over, there is a knock at the door. The new student arrives. So that equality is maintained between the two groups, the new student only appears as a silhouette in the doorway. The students greet their new classmate (Hello Friend). Then, the final day's bell goes off to announce the end of the day. The students gather their things, say goodbye (Goodbye) to one another and look forward to seeing each other again the next day.
"The Classroom" is best performed by between 12-24 students. The number of students should be even so that the two groups are balanced. The work is suitable for students from 4th through 8th grades. In addition, the opera calls for an adult soprano to play "The Teacher." A live piano accompaniment is preferable, however, use of a backup CD is possible.