“Listen to opera with your body” (strategic promotion of the creation of art and culture supported by the Agency for Cultural Affairs Government of Japan) was organized by the Research on disabilities and expressions group of our COI Site, at Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall on 26 December 2018. For the third project in the series, 22 elementary school children with hearing impairments who were chosen from the general public in advance, participated in the workshop based around Wagner’s opera “Siegfried”.
To make the participants first understand the storyline, the dancers did a pantomime which mimicked the animals that appear in the opera and we also showed used a picture-story accompanied by sign language. Then we conducted a group session using word games and instruments to link them to the characters and wrote some lyrics to the opera.
In addition, we tried new techniques distinctive to an industry-academia project, such as making the participants smell different perfumes designed to be reminiscent of snakes and birds from the opera (provided by Ogawa & Co., Ltd) and using a speaker “HUG” that transmits sound and vibration (provided by JVC KENWOOD Corporation). The children were instantly immersed in the world of opera through this scientific approach and by what they learnt in the workshop. After the performance at the end, the whole venue was full of smiles and everyone felt inspired.