Garbed in a powder-blue dress, white apron and white stockings, Amanda Eddy traipsed across a stage last week at Martinez Elementary School and sang about her adventures playing Alice after she tumbled down the rabbit hole.
"When we were your age, we were in school, like you, watching a special event," Eddy said to about 400 pupils after her performance as the title character in the Augusta Opera's Alice in Wonderland. "We were like, 'How can we do that?' And here we are."
So far, Alice in Wonderland has been performed at five Columbia County elementary schools, with a sixth performance today at Lewiston Elementary and a seventh Thursday at North Harlem Elementary. Additional performances of the children's opera at elementary schools are scheduled for March.
Augusta Opera production coordinator Kitty Reagan fashioned the 30-minute opera by borrowing arias from such well-known operas as Die Fledermaus and The Marriage of Figaro and replacing the lyrics with her own.
Like the Alice in Wonderland plot, the idea came to Reagan in a dream, she said.
"I've always loved the Alice in Wonderland story and it seemed like the perfect fit for our outreach program," the Evans resident said.
In an attempt to mirror Eddy's childhood enthrallment with opera, the school performances are part of an Augusta Opera outreach program intended to grow a new generation of opera lovers.
"We've seen the number of opera- and musical-goers decline over the years," Reagan said. "Through the outreach program, we're hoping to reach a new generation of opera lovers while they're still young."
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