School lunches really are something to sing about!

Pupils were treated to a surprise opera performance at Great Missenden School
Pupils were treated to a surprise opera performance at Great Missenden School

Primary school pupils were in for a surprise as they were treated to an impromptu operatic performance in the canteen during their lunch hour.

Four secret opera singers, disguised as dinner ladies, canteen staff and a policeman broke into song bringing the lunch hall at Great Missenden School to a standstill with a rousing medley of pieces by composers Verdi, Rossini and Puccini.

The unsuspecting school children, aged 7 -11 years old, had their reactions captured by a series of remote-operated cameras hidden in the lunch hall ceiling, operated by a six-strong film crew.

Not only were the cameras and crew well hidden, while the school management were in on the stunt teachers had not been told what was happening and were as surprised as everybody else when the first singer burst into song.

The performance was orchestrated by Italian food brand Sacla.

Clare Blampied, MD of Sacla’ UK, who organised the surprise performance, said: “Sacla’ aims to bring home the spirit of Italy and inject Italian passion and flair into the everyday lives of people of all ages.

“We wanted to share the power of opera with children who have never seen or heard it before live and their reactions were incredible as our undercover opera singers gave them an Italian dining experience to remember.

Gareth Daffyd Morris, a soloist with the BBC Philharmonic played the part as a member of the canteen staff, mezzo-sopranos Louisa Barry and Olivia Safe played the roles of dinner ladies and baritone Thomas Stoddart played the part of a policeman.

The pieces sung by the group were La Donna è Mobile from Rigoletto by Verdi, Figaro’s Aria from The Barber Of Seville by Rossini, Libiamo from La Traviata by Verdi and Nessun Dorma from Turandot by Puccini.

Opera singer Gareth said: “Having performed across the world, one gets used to performing in front of thousands in concert halls and theatres, as well as on live TV, but having the interaction with the children and seeing their sheer delight is a first for me”.

Rozalyn Thomson, headteacher at Great Missenden School said: “The children loved the singing, they loved the surprise and they loved the pesto pasta!

“They all want to be opera singers now!”