Take your children on a stimulating field trip, take your kids to the opera!
The opera, where the fat ladies sing and the music is as old as the hills.
You may ask why, but I have first hand experience that tells me kids like opera!
These are the same kids who play Nintendo, watch Scooby Doo and eat Doritos, all the while addicted to their Facebook and ipads.
It’s important to give kids a chance to look beyond television, movies and pop music and give them a sense of cultural perspective, not to mention a fun history lesson.
Kids like old-fashioned operatic spectacle, and the sense of performing event that you can’t get elsewhere. And they like that the audience is mostly adults, so they feel special being included in a grown-up event.
And don’t plan on staying for the whole show. In case you didn’t know, operas have a way of lasting at least three hours, far too long for most kids, unless it has spaceships and popcorn.
You can just visit for one act, so if the child is bored, you can leave. But they won’t be bored.
Your child will be fascinated by the antiquated stage machinery, the pomp, the splendor, and of course, the singing and the music.
If you can, get seats as close as possible so you can see the actors sweat and strain to sing those absurdly difficult high C’s.
It’s fun to watch the sausage being made!
Clearly you’ll be limited in your choice of operas to see, depending on where you live. Here’s a list of classic crowd pleasers. Act One of any of these shows will knock you out, and it’s likely these operas will be in the repertoire.
CARMEN: Swirling spectacle and rivalry. Familiar, great music.
LA BOHEME: Lush, Romantic spectacle.
THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO: Mozart’s comic swashbucklers.
If opera is too intense, or too old fashioned, take your child to a large Broadway type of production, one with sets and costumes and an orchestra. Choose the biggest and fanciest production you can.
Sit as close as possible so you can see the pimples and the sweat, the costumes bulging, the whole disaster!
In the words of a child who saw an opera for the first time at the age of seven, “I liked it when the fat lady sang and then the guy came out with his sword to kill the other guy.”
You can’t beat that for cultural enrichment.
Copyright 2008 Walden Pond Press