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Statement on Opera for Parents
Let me emphasize upfront that this section is for parents and not kids. My belief is that many kids might enjoy opera if exposed to this art form in a supportive way, and frankly I’d like to see more young people in the audiences for the operas I attend. I also think that if you want to give your kids the opportunity to be introduced to opera it can be a little daunting, especially for younger kids for whom the drama and subject matter is often not appropriate. Perhaps if you grow up in a musical family this is not such an issue for you, but for folks like me, you might need a little help. I had an experience last year when a colleague at work was talking to me about her daughter who had paid attention to an opera selection on television. I offered a loan of an opera dvd, a Met Opera performance of Mozart's The Magic Flute, one with fanciful costumes and characters by Julie Taymor. Her daughter was enthralled and perhaps an opera fan was made. More importantly, perhaps her daughter discovered an art form that spoke to her. I know the feeling.
My intent for this page is to collect suggestions for videos, cd/dvd’s, books, and websites that will be an aid to parents who want to provide opera exposure for their kids.
What's Opera, Doc? - http://www.spike.com/video-clips/i8ftl4/whats-opera-doc.
Bugs bunny directing opera - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zy5f87-kI8c; a Looney Tunes view of an aria.
Classics for kids - http:/www.classicsforkids.com; a series of presentations on all forms of classical music, hosted by Naomi Lewin; an example on being an opera singer is below; check the list of former shows; all presentations are six minutes.
What's it like to be an opera singer - http://classicsforkids.com/pastshows.asp?id=244; opera star Denyce Graves talks about her path to becoming an opera singer.
Sesame Street Meets An Opera Singer - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Xrab76v5zU; mezzo soprano joins Sesame Street characters.
Design your own opera - http://classicalkusc.org/kids/opera/base.htm; very creative (about 30 min) interactive video taking kids through an cartoon version of Hansel and Gretel. It's a little spooky for young kids (it is the Hansel and Gretel story), but does a nice job of taking you through the various aspects that offer creative control of an opera and how the music supports the action.
Glossary of opera terms: From a page on the Opera America website, a use collection of terms used in opera discussions and their meanings: http://operaamerica.org/Applications/Notes/glossary.aspx.
The Magic Flute. Composer: Mozart. Conductor: Levine. Director: Taymor. The Metropolitan Opera HD. 2006.
"Introducing Your Child To The Opera," Seattle Opera Director of Education Interview. Christine Johnson-Duell, ParentMap.com.
"How Bugs Bunny and ‘Kill the Wabbit’ Inspired a Generation of Opera Stars," Michael Philips, Wall Street Journal.
"Met Opera: A “Barber of Seville” That Is Fun for the Whole Family" Wilborn Hampton, The Huffington Post.
"The Ten Best: Operas for Children," Andrew Clement, The Guardian.
"Ten Easy Ways to Get Kids Into Opera," Opera Teen website.
"How a classical music critic introduced her child to music (not very well)," Anne Midgette, Washington Post.
"How to Get KIds to Fall (and Stay) in Love with Music," Dianne Berkun-Menaker, WQXR radio
"Is Opera relevant for our iGen kids?" Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer, Newsworks
"Opera is improving test scores for city school children, study says," Kirstin Cole, PIX 11
"Verdi for Kids: His Life and Music with 21 Activities" Helen Bauer.