Earth to Kenzie: Teacher Resources

3... 2... 1... Blast Off!

Thank you for joining us for Earth to Kenzie. Below you will find teacher resources to assist you in introducing your students to the magic of opera!

Streaming instructions

Opera Overview

Student Backstage Pass!
Musical Highlights
Video Sneak Peeks
Addressing Homelessness

Streaming instructions

To stream Earth to Kenzie, you must register below. Once registered, you will receive details via email on how to access the opera stream.

To turn on captions:

  • Tap "captions " from the bottom right corner of the Youtube player   

To choose a different caption language:

  • Tap "settings ," from the bottom right corner of the Youtube player
  • Click "subtitles/CC"
  • Select a language (available in English and Spanish) 



Opera Overview

Student Backstage Pass!

Student Backstage Pass!

Backstage Pass! is the official student study guide and program for Earth to Kenzie. Feel free to download and share with your students in advance of your class's opera viewing. 

Musical Highlights

Below are musical highlights for our brand-new opera, Earth to Kenzie. Please note that this recording was taken early in the rehearsal process, and does not fully reflect the final performance you will see with your students. We at Lyric feel it is important to hear the music in advance of watching the opera in order to help prepare your students for the performance. 

Edwin, my Avatar

Sung by Kenzie

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Kenzie takes a break from packing her belongings to play her favorite video game. In this aria, she introduces her video game avatar, Edwin. 

Things to listen for

  • The left hand in the piano part was inspired by video game music, does it remind you of any music in video games you play?

  • The notes and rhythm when Kenzie sings, “Edwin, my Avatar!” repeat throughout the opera. Try to listen for when it comes back! Why might it keep repeating?

Mom, the cold took my breath away

Sung by Mother and Kenzie

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Kenzie and her Mother are at the shelter talking about Kenzie’s homework, and the discussion turns to all the questions they might get asked and don’t want to answer about their current living situation.

Things to listen for

  • This duet sounds very different from music in the rest of the opera, why do you think the composer chose to make it sound this way?

  • When Kenzie and her Mother are mimicking the question askers, how do you think they will act to portray them? What does the music tell you about the people asking questions?


Sung by Teachers, Students and Kenzie

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Kenzie falls asleep and has a nightmare about returning to school after break. In the nightmare, the Teacher and other students echo Kenzie's biggest fears. 

Things to listen for

  • Listen for how the composer uses the music, speaking, and consonants to make the teacher and students seem even more mean in the nightmare. What questions are they asking, have you heard them before?

  • When the nightmare ends, the teacher get’s everyone’s attention with clapping – feel free to participate and echo when he motions to the audience!

Are you Kenzie?

Sung by Taxi Driver, Kenzie and Edwin

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A taxi cab picks Kenzie up after school to take her home to the shelter, and they all end up on an intergalactic adventure!

Things to listen for

  • Listen for how the music echoes the excitement of the spaceship blasting off. Do you hear the ship soaring, flying, and swirling throughout the galaxy?

  • When the spaceship arrives at Planet Catulon, how does the music change? What does it make you think of?

And now we present our winning essay

Libretto Text

Sung by Kenzie, Eddie/Edwin, Mother, and Teacher

Part 1

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Part 2

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Kenzie and Eddie, her new friend and classmate, present their winning essay and the lessons they've learned for the class.

Things to listen for

  • Do you hear any familiar music in the finale? Where have you heard it before, and how is it similar or different to the last time you heard it?

  • Looking back to the start of the opera, how has Kenzie changed? What did she learn throughout her real, and imaginary, adventures?

Addressing Homelessness

In the opera, the building that Kenzie and her mother live in has been sold. They receive an eviction notice and are forced to move out during Christmas break. With no place to go, Kenzie’s mom finds them temporary housing in a family shelter. At this point in their lives they are experiencing housing insecurity, or it can be said that they are dealing with homelessness. 

It is important to note that homelessness is something that happens to people, not who they are.

Lyric Opera of Chicago and Seattle Opera (co-commissioners of the work) want to bring awareness to this issue because it is a serious challenge that many children and families in our cities face. 

According to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, 50,949 Illinois students were experiencing homelessness during the 2017-18 school year. In 2018-19, 16,450 CPS students were experiencing homelessness.  

If you’d like to learn more about this issue and what support systems are in place to help children and families in the Chicago area, we invite you to explore the resources below:

Lyric Unlimited - Learning & Creative Engagement Sponsors

The Beaubien Family

The Grainger Foundation

Robert and Evelyn McCullen

Charles and M.R. Shapiro Foundation, Inc.

Rose L. Shure and Sidney N. Shure

Wintrust Community Banks

Anonymous Donor

Photos: Kyle Flubacker