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Met Opera Guild receives $1 million education grant

The Metropolitan Opera Guild has received a $1 million grant, which will be awarded over the next four years, from the United States Department of Education (DOE) for the Guild’s Comprehensive Opera-Based Arts Learning and Teaching (COBALT) project.  Of 200 applications reviewed by the Department of Education, the Guild’s ranked ninth among the 33 projects that received funding.

“This award is a sign of recognition of the high quality, depth, and rigor of the Guild’s innovative arts-education programs,” said Richard J. Miller, Jr., president of the Metropolitan Opera Guild.  “Thanks to the Department of Education, we will be able to bring the Guild’s partnership model of opera-based arts learning to under-resourced public schools that will really benefit from it.”

Building on the Guild’s arts learning initiatives at Brooklyn’s PS 10, which have played a major role in the school’s transformation into a high-performing neighborhood magnet, the COBALT project will give the Guild a chance to study closely the effects of its opera-based, curriculum-connected approach on student achievement in three under-performing public elementary schools in Brooklyn.  Opera is inherently multi-disciplinary, combining music, movement, theater, and the visual arts; as such it is an ideal vehicle for comprehensive arts instruction.  In the Guild’s model, students as young as kindergartners create their own operas, choosing the subject (drawn from classroom curriculum), writing lyrics, composing music, staging scenes, setting movement and dance sequences, and sometimes even designing and constructing sets or props.

Believing that the arts have a positive impact on learning, the Guild will also develop assessment tools to measure the effect of this comprehensive arts instruction on student growth in several domains (language arts, math, cognitive, and socio-emotional).

“We know that the arts play a crucial role in the academic, social, and cognitive development of children,” said Mr. Miller.  “Now we will be able to show just how big an impact the arts have on learning, growth, and school improvement.”

About the Metropolitan Opera Guild

About to celebrate its 75th anniversary, the Metropolitan Opera Guild today is stronger and more active than ever in pursuing its mission to support the Metropolitan Opera and to encourage the appreciation of opera generally.  The Guild provides programs and services in many areas designed to further these goals.

The Guild’s Education Department provides an innovative network of music and arts education programs to more than 15,000 students and teachers in six states, and to over 10,000 adults and families every year.  These programs include rehearsals and performances at the Metropolitan Opera, family education programs to introduce children to opera, an adult lecture series, school residency programs, professional development courses for teachers, web site development (, and collaborations with colleges and universities throughout the country.

Opera News, the monthly magazine published by the Guild, reports on opera around the world.  Each issue includes reviews of commercial recordings and live performances, profiles of artists, and articles by eminent writers on the music scene.  During the Saturday afternoon broadcast season, the magazine also includes an in-depth guide to these broadcasts from the Met.  With a circulation of 105,000, it is the world’s largest circulation magazine devoted to opera.  Opera News also maintains an active web site at

The Guild produces an annual series of public programs in major New York City venues, both to raise funds for its education programs and to celebrate the art and artists of opera.  Foremost among these are the Opera News Awards, at which five honorees are chosen by the editors of Opera News and recognized for their distinguished achievement in opera.  (The Opera News Awards are the highest honor bestowed in the opera world.)  The Guild’s Annual Luncheon, Met Legends, and Met Mastersinger events also honor the great figures of opera and are attended by thousands of music fans each season.

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© 21C Media Group, August 2010

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