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Subject: Age Appropriate Operas and differences in Listening
From: R PRADA <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:R PRADA <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 29 Jan 2018 16:25:54 -0500
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Listening curves are quite different in people. Little kids are generally partial to higher frequencies, and their voices reflect that range. People with lower voices hear better in the lower ranges. 

For instance, I was more attracted to deeper, richer sounds and when my voice matured it was lower. I do like sopranos and tenors, and I probably enjoyed them more while had girlish high notes on loan from my young voice.  But my heart’s fondest voices are generally beefier and lower, though for artistry I love some of the higher ones as well. 

If people’s listening curve is on the low side then high voices can hit their ears as noise, while others with a higher listening curve will relish the highs. These curves are established with audiologist’s tests. There is something else that is increasingly a factor. More and more people have what is called hyperacusis, meaning they are very sensitive to higher sounds and louder noises. It seems to be part of our present age of anxiety. The reasons are many. Everything from big orange ogres to noise overload, and even chemical overload. 

Interestingly enough, Mozart is universally attractive, even to primitive people. If you play his music, just about anyone who has been unexposed to classical music will find his music soothing, and natural. Don’t start splitting hairs about advanced musical taste. Some of you may not find him your cup of tea. Babies will not reject Mozart, because there hedgehopping voices are in tune with his preference for soprano instruments in his ensembles. And the high gamut is healing to the nervous systems of most people. 

Haydn prefers a lower gamut and his instrumentation is lower than Mozart. Brahms is lower and darker. He has nice compositions lower voices. I am sure you can think of other composers who like to compose in a warmer, more woofy area.

AS far as taking kids to opera, I always thought high emotions and sometimes shorter operas are more satisfying to kids. CAv and Pag, is a good choice- Satisfyingly high emotions and some blood and guts. Think of fairy tales - nothing sweet there. You want sweet? Winnie the Poo. Even Doctor Seuss is high spirited. Carmen is a good one - rousing tunes, great costumes, lots of choruses, and - you know, Gypsies, Smugglers, Bullfighters. While not well understood by little kids, the excitement is what they like. Kids love stuff about Egypt, so Aida’s a good one. If they are old enough for Harry Potter and video games, they can appreciate the highly emotional operas. But I think short is better than long. Oh, and the Barber of Seville is a favorite of my kids. 

I would never take them to Wagner - too long - nor Strauss, same reason. 

My daughter loved Lucia, and all the Mozart operas. I took her to one act at a time in general. Best not to bore the kids. But Cav and Pag is just about ideal. They won’t get some of the finer points about adultery so I would not worry about their morals in formation. She also liked Richard Scarry and Dr. Seuss, and a lot of the kids shows in Argentina that had Commedia dell Arte elements. Alberto Olmeido had a show with Rubber chicken type jokes (It was a turkey) and a witch who terrified my daughter. In my belly she learned only Mozart. She had a temperament for exciting things and pageantry. Both my kids have a good sense of humor.

MY son was more of a Winnie the Poo and Alice in Wonderland type guy, who also liked Edward Lear. He has only lately begin to appreciate opera. He learned Strauss and L’Enfant et les Sortileges in my belly. He loved Benny Goodman and New Orleans Jazz. He dug Rossini (they both did and still do).

I would not take kids to see Carmelites, Butterfly (the mom dies and leaves her kid), or any operas with overt cruelty on stage - not so much. All talk little action, as in Pelleas, not good for kids, either. And of course no Salome. 


Sent from my iPhone

On Jan 29, 2018, at 12:18 PM, OPERA-L automatic digest system <[log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:

>>> To those who found the soprano squally, the baritone barky, the tenor
>>> inept, the conductor sluggish


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