There's no process as intimate, intense, or exhilarating as putting on a show. Especially when the material is original and the creators are fifth graders. Opera Kids is a documentary that follows a fifth grade class on their yearlong journey creating an original "opera."

They're regular kids with one extraordinarily ambitious goal. In one school year, they must create and perform an entirely original opera. It is the ultimate rite of passage to middle school and all eyes are on them. They're the composers, writers, set designers and carpenters, electricians, historians, costume and make-up designers, performers and public relations team. Forty-two 10-year-olds do it all!

But it's not so easy being ten-years-old. It's the awkward age of growth spurts, braces, first crushes, jealousies and cliques, bouts of shyness and broken hearts. The documentary encompasses both the drama of putting up a show and the comedy of coming of age. It is joy, pain, compromise and resilience—as seen through the eyes of ten-year-olds.

Opera Kids demonstrates the profound effect the arts can have on children and reminds us that, whatever our age, we can and must work together. No matter how hard that might be. The show must go on.

About the Opera Program

"Creating an Original Opera" was developed by the Metropolitan Opera Guild 30 years ago and this past academic year marked this New Jersey school's 25th annual opera. Out of the hundreds of schools that once participated in this program, only few remain. With increasing weight placed on core curriculums and test scores throughout both private and public schools, programs like "Creating an Original Opera" are dwindling, as the Arts are not commonly considered as integral a part of our children's education as Math or Science.

For some students, the Opera is the reason they come to school. For others, it's the first time they've ever worked with a member of the opposite gender or clique. Some discover that they really can sing or draw and overcome their inhibitions. And for a few, it may turn out to be the launching of a career. But for most, it's a shared experience they've anticipated throughout their years in lower school and will remember all their lives.

Opera Kids surpassed its goal on Kickstarter! Thank you to all of our generous contributors! Post-production is underway.

Directors: Joseph Alessi, Max D. Sturm
Producers: Henry Fernaine, John Monton, Max D. Sturm
Cameras: Joseph Alessi, Julian Torres Barbosa, Ann Carlock, Samantha Cole, Catherine Cusick, Jacqui Friedman, Danielle Frimer, Lydia Grajauskas, Dylan Greiss, Kara Kaplan, Rachael Kliman, Frank Kolarek, Elly Lachman, Gil Levy, Jared Oliff-Lieberman,
Phoebe Mattana, Jennifer McCabe, John Monton, Samuel Newman, K Andrew Murphy, Zachary Shevich, Candice Strongwater, Matthew Strother, Max D. Sturm, Mattson Tomlin, Ariana Venturi
Sound: Tim Cosman, Jesse Ehredt, Bob Fivehouse, Lydia Grajauskas, John Monton, Rob Salagaj
Editors: Joseph Alessi, Clark Frankel, Matthew Strother, Max D. Sturm
Narrator: Scott L. Eck
Graphics: Talia Rozensher, Johanna Sturm
Web: Ben Kantor

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