Opera Hotpot was the first best-known piece from Opera Opened Up, or EPOC’s series of interactive presentations. The group includes Opera BlocksOpera Quest, and The History of Music Part I.

Opera Hotpot is in three parts:

  • an introduction to the ‘recipe’ of opera
  • a ‘pocket’ sing-a-long opera with children as the main characters
  • an unscripted 15 minute opera improvised using suggestions from the audience

Opera Hotpot is based round a larger-than-life character, an Italian chef named Ravanelli, and shows us how to make an opera and shows us the ingredients of an opera. It is fast-moving, with a range of presentational techniques employed to engage children’s attention – singers in the audience, posters, inviting kids up on stage, getting kids to sing.

The show has had a long history. It grew out of a workshop that EPOC wrote for ENO Baylis Programme in 1998 called Opera Opera Opera. It has been through many versions since then, and performed by casts of ENO chorus and principals, and EPOC cast members from Carmen, Hansel and Gretel, and The Clowns. All versions of the piece, however, have the same basic premise: that opera is only one of a number of world music theatres that share the essential ingredients (action, words, and music).

“The most fantastic visit we have had in many years. We have been on a high all day.” Deputy Head, Rushey Green Primary School, Lewisham