11. October 2008 · 2 comments · Categories: Opera

Tiana Holden was thrilled at Tuesday evening’s dress rehearsal of Verdi’s Aida, the classic tale of love and betrayal that opens tonight at the Lyric Opera House. During the intermission, she raved about the voices of Italian soprano Tiziana Caruso, who sang the title role, and her leading man, tenor Antonello Palombi. “It was amazing how they put so much expression into their singing,” she bubbled.

Tiana is a fifth-grader at Cross Country Elementary School in Baltimore. She may not start writing notes for Opera News next week, but given her enthusiasm, it’s probably safe to say the 10-year-old may already be hooked on opera.

That was exactly what the Baltimore Opera Company had in mind when it invited nearly 1,000 local elementary, middle and high school students to last week’s rehearsal. They watched Verdi’s late masterpiece straight through from beginning to end, just as they would at a regular performance. As for understanding the Italian libretto, no problemo, as the kids would say: A translation scrolled above the stage.

(Side note: I’m not so sure kids say, “No problemo.” I know I do. Seems like kids wouldn’t be saying the same thing I say. Would they?)

We’ve been doing this for years. Aside from our first opera of the year (too early in the school year for kids to show up) we always have one open dress that is for school aged kids. I enjoy it for the most part. Sometimes the opera isn’t what I think of as “kid friendly” … not because of the music, but because of the content … but it seems they still come. They always seem enthusiastic. I’m never sure if it’s due to the opera or just because they are allowed to take a day off from school. Either way, it’s good to have them there, even while I sometimes get frustrated with the giggles when there’s any of that kissing stuff going on on stage (“Oooh. Gross!”)

(Full article here)

2 Comments

  1. When the kids behave (which they do, for the most part), I really enjoy the student shows. I’m looking forward to the student crowd for Elixir, because I think it’s good to show ‘em a comedy every now and then (as I recall, they responded really well to Barber).

    In a hallway outside the rehearsal space there’s a bunch of student artwork posted. One of the teachers who brought students to A Masked Ball had her kids draw a scene from the show, and they sent several of them to OSJ. I love looking at them. They’re obviously from younger kids, and I’m amazed at the level of detail they remembered.

  2. I think Elixir is a great opera for kids!

    I often (not always, of course) get a kick out of their reactions, and their laughter is better than anything we get from the Old Folks (like me).