GREENSBURG – Greensburg Elementary School students hooted, screamed and laughed out loud Thursday morning as the French Chef chased after Mean Queen Esmerelda to prevent her from handing a poisoned apple to Snow Drift, great granddaughter of the famous Snow White.
School officials said the performance by four singers and their accompanist from the Indianapolis Opera exposed children to music they do not often hear and conveyed important lessons about diversity, tolerance and kindness.
The performance included songs of famous operas, including “The Barber of Seville,” by Gioacchino Rossini, “Die Fledermaus” by Johann Strauss and “The Pirates of Penzance” by Gilbert and Sullivan. Lyrics of the songs had been altered to fit the presentation’s theme.
The story borrowed parts of the Snow White tale but updated it to the modern era, so that, for example, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” became “iPad, iPad in my hand, who’s the fairest of the land.” Performers also worked into the story such traditionally opera-incongruent items as a giant Converse All-Star boot, hot dogs and former Secretary of State Madeline Albright.
Early in the second performance of the morning, about 200 children sat on the gymnasium floor as the Mean Queen Esmerelda, played by mezzo-soprano Meaghan Sands, revealed her plot to get rid of the beautiful Snow Drift (soprano Rachel Sparrow) by sending her on a mission into a dangerous forest.
Though the Queen sent her on a long walk, Snow Drift did not despair, in part because she had brought the right shoes. “It’s a good thing I brought my Converse All-Stars,” she said, pointing at her black-and-white sneakers. Shoes played a significant role later in the performance when the children learned about the metaphor of walking in someone else’s shoes.