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Subject: Re: Age Appropriate Operas
From: gordon young <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:gordon young <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 30 Jan 2018 08:20:00 -0600
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I came to opera at the age of 9 but most of my experience at that time was
only aural. I didn't see an opera until the filmed Hoffman. Later I saw the
Medium with Marie Powers. The third performance was a college performance
of Boheme. I was raised in a very conservative evangelical church that
didn't approve of much. One Sunday I said, in Sunday school, that I saw
nothing wrong with dancing. The next week I was given a pamphlet "What
Christians can do for fun," it was 50 pages but only two things we could
do. Included in the no no list was opera, dirty stories. That is when I
began to read the librettos. Most would, today, be amazed at the things we
should not do. Fortunately my parents were a bit liberal. Les said, "
Still, I definitely would not show "Pagliacci" to any kids who are under
fifteen years old.  It can be pretty graphic and violent." Today if a kid
watches tv they see 3 or 4 hours of violence 6 or 7 days a week. I do
believe that is might be damaging as it stresses realism rather than, as in
opera, a more stylized violence combined with beautiful music which softens
the mayhem. You might ask what 2 things were approved, working jigsaw
puzzles while humming hymns softly (not loudly) and hayrides.
Gordon
Later I will comment on 2 Toscas.

On Tue, Jan 30, 2018 at 1:28 AM, Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> On the discussion of some operas being inappropriate for young kids,  I'd
> kind of hesitate
> about "Pagliacci", which when staged and performed in the most extreme
> verismo fashion,
> can be a real shocker.  I speak from experience:  When I was teaching an
> opera class to
> high-school students before I retired, I showed a videotape of the Franco
> Zeffirelli film
> (starring Domingo and Stratas) and probably should have previewed it
> first.  The Tonio was
> pretty grotesque and slimy and some of Nedda's  stage actions were pretty
> suggestive.  If I
> remember correctly, Nedda slashes Tonio's face and draws blood.  The love
> duet between
> Nedda and Silvio pushed the envelope as far as it could go, and the finale
> was a real
> bloodbath.  Some of the students remarked that they didn't realize "that
> opera had this kind
> of stuff in it".  I was actually sorry that I had selected this particular
> opera to show, but it's
> brevity and action made it a good choice.  As it turned out, the students
> (high school
> sophomores) all loved it.  I, however, never showed this opera again (one
> of my colleagues
> thought that it was inappropriate - I did not).    Still, I definitely
> would not show "Pagliacci"
> to any kids who are under fifteen years old.  It can be pretty graphic and
> violent.
>
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