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Claremont library welcomes LA Opera's German Opera Tales

Claremont’s newly renovated Helen Renwick Public Library debuted a new opportunity for local children’s arts enrichment on Monday when the curtain went up on the first event of the Danielle Allen Creative Cultivation Project, LA Opera’s performance of “German Opera Tales.”

The renowned classical and contemporary opera company, whose home is at Downtown LA’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, presented the free and open to the public musical storytelling adventure that aims to “transport children and their families from the library to the fanciful world of German-language operas with songs, storytelling, and colorful costumes,” according to a library press release.

Sung (and spoken) in English, LA Opera artists tell the stories of Wagner’s “Das Rheingold,” Mozart’s “The Abduction,” from the Seraglio, and Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel.” The performance were followed by a reception with the artists

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“We wanted to jump on the opportunity to have the Opera Tales program because they’re really spectacular,” said Helen Renwick Head Librarian Amy Crow.

If you missed Monday’s performance LA Opera will be back on July 10 for a Shakespeare themed show.

The outreach performances involve the company writing new, condensed operas drawn from their current season’s lineup. They then perform the new story, along with arias from the various operas, all in English.

“It’s a way to introduce attendees to the stories of the operas, and the performance aspect and also the music,” Ms. Crow said. “And adults too, because it’s not an art form that everybody is just automatically exposed to.”

The Helen Renwick Library recently received a $100,000 Presidential Initiatives grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, in honor of Claremont native Danielle Allen, former past chair of the Mellon’s board of trustees.

The grant will enhance the library’s children’s and teen materials collection, and establish the Danielle Allen Creative Cultivation Project, which will promote arts enrichment programming for children and teens, beginning May 13 with German Opera Tales. Another project the grant will fund is an artist in residence program. It will begin in July with a series of visual art classes for kids.

Claremont native Ms. Allen is the James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, and Director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.

Ms. Crow has a busy week ahead as she will also visit the monthly meeting of Active Claremont on Thursday, May 16 at 7 p.m. at the Hughes Center, 1700 Danbury Rd. Her talk will highlight the new facilities and programming at our local library.

More information is available by visiting lacountylibrary.org/claremont-library or (909) 621-4902.

—Mick Rhodes

mickrhodes@claremont-courier.com