An opera totally conceived by the students in the 5th to 8th years of coordinated music education at the Fontes Pereira de Melo school, through the WASO - Write a Science Opera project, under the scope of candidacy to the “Cultural Footprint - Arts and Education”, funded by EEA Grants / DGArtes.
The opera was presented on 28 June 2015, at 6 pm, at the Dr. António Cupertino de Miranda Foundation:
EARTH: A PLANET WITH LIFE
- Cappuumm! (7th year)
- How was I born? (6th year)
- Skylight (8th year)
- A Planet at Risk (5th year)
Originally developed by Oded Ben-Horin de Haugesund / Stord University College, in Norway, WASO – Write a Science Opera - is above all a creative educational methodology aimed at discovery, inspiring a multidisciplinary artistic project. In WASO projects, a scientific topic is chosen to inspire the creative process, culminating in the performance of the opera, conceived and performed by the students themselves.
The following institutions were the international partners from Norway on the WASO project: University of Stavanger, Stord / Haugesund University College and Bergen National Opera. These three institutions were chosen to be partners as they have experience in WASO projects at different educational levels, so Curso de Música Silva Monteiro can count on their know-how. Fontes Pereira de Melo School was a national partner. This school was chosen because CMSM has had an agreement with it for four years, and there are very good interpersonal relationships, as well as the good conditions necessary for organising projects such as this.
The WASO project developed under the scope of the Cultural Footprint programme consisted of 5th to 8th year students building four scientific operas, in all their aspects. The topic chosen for the project, Earth: A Planet With Life, was the inspiration for the students to choose the theme of their opera, from the curricular science subjects. The 96 students that took part in the project during the 2015-16 school year were helped in the conception of the opera by CMSM teachers and by the partners. The project resulted in the opera “Earth: A Planet With Life” in 4 acts, covering the following themes: volcanoes, human reproduction, light pollution and global warming (I – Cappuumm; II – How was I born?; III – Skylight; IV – Planet at risk). The project was also monitored by a research process aimed at verifying the students' motivation for studying science when it is allied to the arts. At the same time, there was a Cycle of Recitals, also on the theme of “Earth: A Planet With Life”, where Portuguese and Norwegian musicians interpreted works by composers on the theme, serving as inspiration for the students involved in the project.
We had the opportunity to present the result of the project at Casa da Música, as part of the educational service programme, and four public presentations were held in May 2016. The scientific article “Write a Science Opera (WASO): Is there a motivational boost in multidisciplinarity and creativity?” has already been published and will be one of the best means of divulging the project and the benefits of the WASO methodology in the process of teaching / learning science. It has been presented at two conferences (national and international - Florence) and more presentations are being planned.
The implications for the future are undoubtedly a greater focus on internationalising the school and a focus on multidisciplinarity as a fundamental method in the teaching / learning process.