With a love of singing and a passion for passing opera to a generation of youth, Libby Hillermann of Washington will perform this weekend in “The Very Last Green Thing,” an environmental opera for young people.
Hillermann, the daughter of Tom and Susan Hillermann, is an eighth-grade student at Our Lady of Lourdes School.
She was one of 18 children and young adults, ages 9 to 18, cast in the Opera Theatre of St. Louis performance.
“The Very Last Green Thing” was composed by Cary John Franklin and Michael Patrick Albano. The director is Doug Scholz-Carlson and the opera is conducted by Vince Lee.
The opera, described as an environmental fable, is set 400 years in the future — the year 2413.
Hillermann is a part of the “Children of the Past” chorus, which aims at showing the “children of the present” the beauty of the planet through the very last green thing on Earth. The plant was locked in a time capsule by the children of the past and unearthed by the children of the future.
“They find a new way of living, happier,” Libby said. “The plant touches all of them. They don’t even know what it is.”
Libby, who found out about the opera through the St. Louis Children’s Choir, said she has enjoyed preparing for the performance and the voice training she received through the opera.
“My voice feels so much better trained,” she said.
She also loved the environmental factor and that the opera is geared toward kids.
“I can affect this planet,” she said. “This (opera) teaches everyone that to be more green and to care about the Earth and what’s on it.”
Her mom, Susan Hillermann, said that the opera set is unique with the environmental factor.
“The whole set is designed in a green way with recycled water bottles and heavy-duty cardboard that will all be recycled (after the show),” she said.
Another different aspect, Hillermann said, is that the director asked the kids what they would put in a time capsule. Libby brought in her ukulele, which ended up being worked into the opera as a solo by Libby.
Susan Hillermann said Libby has been singing since she was very young and joined the St. Louis Children’s Choir when she was about 8 years old.
“They offer exceptional training,” she said. “Her voice has improved every year.”
Libby also auditions for and has participated in musicals at East Central College.
Last year, she performed in “Alice in Wonderland” with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. She also sang with the Archdiocesan Children’s Choir at Stan Musial’s funeral earlier this year.
Since being cast in September, Libby has been practicing six days per week for the upcoming performance.
Additionally, the cast has been performing matinees for schools twice each day Oct. 21-25.
Public performances will be held this Saturday, Oct. 26, at 10 and 11:30 a.m. at the Touhill Performing Arts Center, One University Boulevard, St. Louis.
For tickets, people may call the box office, 314-516-4949 or visit touhill.org/GreenThing.
“Everybody should come see this play because it’s very good,” Libby said. “It will touch people.”