Good music is good music and in my experience if the music is of an excellent quality children of whatever age will enjoy it. I have found this to be the case with opera. While most young children would have difficulty sitting through a full length opera this does not mean that they cannot enjoy excerpts of opera or opera workshops focused at young children. Sydney Opera House and the San Fransico Opera seem to be at the forefront of these initiatives with regular activities and in the case of the San Fransico Opera they even have downloads to explore story lines and characters. However, what if you don’t live anywhere near the Sydney Opera House or other proactive and family friendly opera centres? How could you go about introducing it? Here are a few ways that have worked for me and my kids:
1-A light introduction through cartoons: By far the favourite and repeated request is Bugs Bunny’s Long Haired Hare. a principal aim of this has been to raise children’s awareness that opera exists and has provided a spring board to real operatic singers.
There is also the great 6 minute Chuck Jone’s Bugs Bunny animation for older children and adults of What’s Opera, Doc? reportedly based around Wagner‘s Ring Cycle. This was also awarded one of the top 50 animations of all time.
2-Pavorotti and the Three Tenors: Anything individually or collectively seems to go down well. Children are often amazed by the combined power of the Three Tenors.
3-Certain Operas and extracts that have gone down well so far:
- The Magic Flute -Mozart
- Carmen – Georges Bizet
- Figaro – From the opera the Barber of Seville – Gioachino Rossini
4-A BBC Animation: the BBC created an animation of the Magic Flute for kids. To watch the Animated version with activities based around it I have taken inspiration from Playing by the Book’s Post entitled Stories in Tune The Magic Flute
I will close here and wish you the best on your opera journey with your kids.
For other music ideas you might like our post The Magical Power of Classical Music on a Child’s Life.