Seasoned operagoers and nervous newbies gathered at Modesto’s Gallo Center for the Arts last Friday evening for the world premier of Tawawa House, an original opera set at the start of the Civil War.
Among those attending were college and high school students who had never been to an opera before.
Thanks to the generosity of Townsend Opera, a company based in Modesto, teachers in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties were able to distribute free tickets to their students for this season’s events.
Delta instructor Rebecca Camacho attends one or two shows per season with her husband, who also teaches at Delta. She has received free tickets from Townsend Opera for about three years.
“I’m on their mailing list as an educator, so I just make my tickets available to my students when I get them,” said Camacho.
Laura Knopfer, a student in Camacho’s Spanish 2 class, had never attended opera before and was grateful for the opportunity to experience it live for the first time.
“I thought it was really enjoyable,” said Knopfer. “I really liked listening to the songs and the voices… It’s amazing how the voice can come across as a story.”
Knopfer was especially pleased to see an English-language opera. “I wasn’t aware that they did it in English,” Knopfer said. “I’ve always heard it done in Italian, and I kind of wondered what’s the point of going to a show if you can’t really understand it.”
Camacho says that she will continue to offer tickets to her students in the future.