Opera Philadelphia

Opera Philadelphia, String Theory Team Up for New iBook

By Aubrey Nagle

In the 25 years since the launch of Opera Philadelphia’s Sounds of Learning program, the award-winning arts education initiative has continued to evolve, reaching more students in new ways each season. Nothing symbolizes the program’s commitment to the next generation of opera lovers like its latest project, a free interactive iBook created with String Theory Charter Schools.

This iBook, available for download on iPad, iPhone, and Mac, explores Opera Philadelphia’s fall production of Turandot with music, videos, interviews with cast members, and much, much more. It really brings the program’s classic Sounds of Learning Student Guide to an entirely new level. The best part? The project was truly led by the students of String Theory.

A sample from the TURANDOT iBook.

It all began way back in October 2015, when Opera Philadelphia and String Theory teamed up to move the Sounds of Learning Student Guide beyond its printed publication for each opera presented in the Academy of Music. Students and teachers both yearned for additional content to explore once they had turned the final page; an interactive digital platform like the ones many students use daily seemed like the perfect solution.

Thus, from January through May of 2016, a select group of students from String Theory’s Performing Arts: Vine Street Campus came together to transform the Student Guide for the digital age. They happily took ownership over the assignment, gathering content about opera history, the life of composer Giacomo Puccini, and this fall’s grand production; creating a video about theater etiquette and embedding links to audio clips and music; and even conducting video interviews with our star cast! 

A sample from the TURANDOT iBook.

Though the iBook was created by students, it isn’t only for students. Any Turandot attendee or opera devotee will thoroughly enjoy exploring it. (The most curious of clickers will find “Easter eggs,” so to speak, throughout the iBook, from pop-up pictures to hidden features. Don’t forget to poke around!) We encourage anyone coming to a performance of Puccini’s grand final opera -- including Opera on the Mall picnickers! – to check it out.

The Opera Philadelphia Education team hopes to keep expanding this iBook for future generations of Sounds of Learning. In the meantime, the hundreds of Philadelphia students joining the final Turandot dress rehearsal will have double the fun to explore before this year’s big performance! 

Download the free Sounds of Learning - Turandot iBook here. 

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