Meet Our OperAdventures Team!
"While I was a young artist with Indianapolis Opera in 2014, our ensemble put on Denise's opera The Inn of the Seven Dwarves. I was so impressed with Denise's ability to write for children. She really knows what she's doing. EVERY time we performed and EVERY time I heard the raucous laughter from the kids... I thought, what a shame to not have these operas out there for other companies to find and use for their outreach programs- (or colleges to use for their music departments)! What wonderful stuff~!
"Denise-- we gotta get these online!" I said...and so there you have it. We made it happen. The site is still a work in progress, but I can tell you- these operas have been tried and true.
These shows guarantee a positive experience for students. We had a Q & A after each performance of the Inn of the Seven Dwarves. We asked questions to see what kinds of lessons the kids got from the story. I was always impressed with their answers. In turn, they asked us questions about how opera worked and what opera was all about. Their curiosity and excitement was completely palpable, tangible, and genuine.
There are SO MANY kids out there that look forward to having Denise's operas performed for their schools every year...and I feel strongly that even MORE kids should be looking forward to having the same artistic and educational experience brought to them.
Use her operas. You won't be disappointed. All of Denise's writing is fantastic and fun. Opera's future is sure as long as children continue to be inspired by these wonderful scripts!"
-Rachel Sparrow, soprano
Author & Founder of OperAdventures
Denise Page Caraher
Denise wears several hats in her life, and not just the baseball caps for her favorite teams (Colts, Pacers, Indiana University and Notre Dame!). First, there was her singing life, and it started early. Solos in church and church choirs from the age of 8, high school and college musical productions led to community theatre musicals and operas. Her favorite musical roles are Maria, Guenevere, Tuptim, and Lucy. When she discovered opera, she sang in the chorus of many Indianapolis Opera productions and sang secondary roles in BABY DOE, SUSANNAH, ARIADNE, MAGIC FLUTE, HANSEL AND GRETEL and others. She performed as Violetta in Indiana Opera Theatre’s production of LA TRAVIATA which was televised and aired for several years on a local channel. She has recorded two CDs for children, PLAY IT SAFE and PEACE IS FOR EVERYONE. Singing at national conventions for musical organizations and industries provided her with some fun travel to New Orleans, Florida and Kansas City (best steak ever!). Denise still sings in the choir and as a cantor at the Taize service of her church, North United Methodist, in Indianapolis.
Her children’s director life also began many years ago. (Is this becoming a theme?) Denise has directed the young children’s choir (ages 5-8) at her church for over thirty years. Each year, they perform a musical with the older kids’ choir which Denise writes and directs. Being a choir director has been so incredibly fun and fulfilling. Really fun! As a parent, she directed students in musicals presented at school fund raisers. Her involvement with kids also includes scout leader and room mom where Denise learned she stinks at arts and crafts. Really stinks!
In her writing life, Denise has had a blast combining something worthwhile with something silly and irreverent. The first children’s opera she wrote was JACK AND THE BEANSTALK. She saw a show by another writer, and thought, “I can do that!” Umpteen operas and a gazillion laughs later, she is still doing it. Her goal is to provide two-tiered humor, one for the kids and one for the adults. Opera people get yet another layer of humor. She has written church musicals for kids to perform, some with original music and some using music from all genres. Another show for young singers, ARTISTIC LICENSE, combines art appreciation and art history with music from the appropriate time period. Denise has written commissioned musicals for schools and museums. Her serious piece, commissioned by the William E. Schmidt Foundation, is THE END OF FOREVER, a full length opera/musical with music by Roger Ames. It is the story of a Lenni Lenape woman, Mekinges, and her marriage to fur trader turned statesman, William Conner; it is the sad story of many.
In her other life, her Denise Page life, she is an attorney. Her practice was primarily in civil litigation. She took a break to stay home with her daughter and son for a few years. For the past fifteen years, she has been a mediator and arbitrator, recently serving as one of the three arbitrators selected to hear the many cases resulting from the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair. Denise is a tennis player, an avid reader and an animal lover. Her husband is an opera conductor, but she has opened his horizons to include country western and Motown.
Tenor David B Mannell has a very activate music career both in performing and teaching. David is on the faculties of IUPUI, Indiana State and Anderson Universities. He has a deep and personal appreciation for these shows as a performer and director of many of them. He premiered Jack in Denise's first children's show, "Jack in the Beanstalk"He knows the powerful educational message they bring to all ages and how accessible they are for all singers. What better way to introduce opera then through a fun and educational show!
And a very special thank you to Indy Opera for performing Denise’s operas for over twenty years and providing pictures and testimonials for our site, so more opera companies and children can
David B Mannell