Teacher Draws Criticism for Screening Faust Excerpt

Classic Arts News   Teacher Draws Criticism for Screening Faust Excerpt
A Colorado teacher recently sparked a local controversy by showing students a videotape of Charles Gounod's Faust, the Denver Post reports.

Some parents demanded that music teacher Tresa Waggoner be fired after she showed approximately twelve minutes of Faust during a music lesson. The videotape, part of a 33-year-old series titled "Who's Afraid of Opera?," features soprano Joan Sutherland and a group of puppets.

According to the parents, watching the 147-year-old French opera, in which Mephistopheles persuades an aging Faust to sell his soul for to win back his youth, left several of the first, second and third graders at Bennett Elementary School troubled by nightmares.

One mother, whose 9-year-old daughter saw the video, told the Post that she thought it "glorifies Satan in some way." Another mother, however, said, "maybe it shouldn't have been shown to the kids in that age group, but I don't think it should have been blown out of proportion as it has been."

After school officials investigated the incident, Waggoner sent a letter of apology to parents in Bennett, which is about 30 miles east of Denver and home to 2,000 people. She is not in danger of losing her job.

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