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“Noye’s Fludd” at Paramount Theatre evokes Irene memories

Opera Theatre of Weston choreographer Ashley Hensel-Browning working with students from Dorset Elementary School during the tour of the Storybook Opera: Tropical Storm Irene Project. The troupe performs at the Paramount Theatre Jan. 6.

Opera Theatre of Weston choreographer Ashley Hensel-Browning working with students from Dorset Elementary School during the tour of the Storybook Opera: Tropical Storm Irene Project. The troupe performs at the Paramount Theatre Jan. 6.

The story of the Great Flood is a tale for the centuries and for all cultures, stretching across the globe. Through the Old Testament, children are told the story of Noah, his family and the animals that are rescued surviving against all odds a great and mighty storm which devastates the surrounding environment and all that live there.

The English composer Benjamin Britten created some of his most dramatic music to retell this story through the one-act opera, titled “Noye’s Fludde”, which will be produced by the Opera Theatre of Weston at the Paramount Theatre in Rutland on Jan. 6 and Weston Playhouse Jan. 12-13.

In addition, six special school matinees will be attended by more than 2,600 school children from southern Vermont.

OTW choreographer Ashley Hensel-Browning, a graduate of the Harvard School of Education, has been bringing Storybook Opera: Tropical Storm Irene Project to schools. With help from local teachers, she has encouraged students to share their own personal experiences of the August 2011 flood that devastated so much of southern Vermont by creating “dancing poetry” movement responses.

Students are engaged in pre-performance activities, including learning some of the musical highlights of the opera and comparing the opera’s libretto with the original story. Young people discover the connections between the opera, the larger world and their own lives.

Storybook Opera Project will visit schools in Mount Holly, Ludlow, Rutland, Putney, Westminster, Dorset, Arlington, Manchester, Londonderry, Weston, Sunderland, Grafton, Townshend and Jamaica.

The project is supported in part by the Vermont Irene Response Grant award from The Episcopal Diocese of Vermont, the Vermont Humanities Council, the Vermont Community Foundation, the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Opera Theatre of Weston will presents “Noye’s Fludde” Sunday, Jan. 6, at 2 p.m., for a special public matinee at the Paramount Theatre in Rutland.

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