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Subject: Re: Age-Appropriate Opera
From: "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:G. Paul Padillo
Date:Mon, 29 Jan 2018 12:18:37 -0500
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I’m one of those of the opinion who believes the vast majority of operas 
are fine for childhood consumption.  That position changed during the Met’s 
now legendary “Lulu” telecast – the first U.S. performances of the 
completed 3 acts – with Julia Migenes going on as a last minute 
replacement for Teresa Stratas.  I was watching at the home of my aunt 
and uncle, in the basement (the rest of the family involved upstairs in 
holiday festivities) when my 9 or 10 year old cousin came down to 
ask “what the pretty music” was.  Now, there’s a phrase one wouldn’t 
typically associate with “Lulu,” but there it was.  I shared the basic plot 
information – watering it down as best I could for a child.  She watched 
most of it and seemed enthralled, more by the music than what she was 
actually “seeing.”  

Right behind Lulu's blood-stained heels  came . . . of all things, “The 
Pirates of Penzance” which she became obsessed with, culminating two 
years later when I took her and a gaggle of her school mates to the film 
based on the production from Joe Papp’s Public Theater.

Included among my own first operatic experiences are “Boris Godunov
Godunov,” “The Unicorn, The Gorgon and The Manticore,” “Peter Grimes” and 
and “La Traviata,”. . .  or, as some might say, “operas about political 
corruption, murder, mythological beasts, child abuse, and whores.”  

I recall the outrage a few years ago about the Met’s new “Hansel und 
Gretel” and how it was too dark for kids, when the fact of the matter was 
kids loved it outright because of its dark grotesqueries.  We often forget 
the dark things we ourselves may have loved as children, even if portions 
of those things that went over-our-heads – and thank goodness for that.

When I was but a lad of 6 years(!)a traveling marionette company 
brought “Macbeth” to our school and I was hooked for life on Sh
Shakespeare.  

In most instances, I believe, it’s all in how an opera is presented.  

p.

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