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Subject: Age-Appropriate Opera
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Mon, 29 Jan 2018 08:59:25 -0500
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Simon wrote:

"I was amused by Max's recollection of first seeing Tosca at age 10 - the
elderly gentleman sitting next to me at the HD performance was rather
curmudgeonly remarking (after an audience shot during the intermission)
that it *really* wasn't a suitable opera for young children (now there's a
new thread in that ...)."

OK, here's the new thread!

I think what is "suitable" would vary depending on the opera, the production, the 
precociousness of the child, and the parents.  In my case, that "Tosca" at age 10 was a 
garden-variety production of the time (one of Tony Stivanello's "instant opera" productions) 
without anything explicit like Scarpia getting oral sex. (I probably would not have known 
what they were doing anyway.)  My mother told me the plot generally without going into 
detail as to what exactly Scarpia wanted to do with Tosca, or what Tosca was looking 
forward to with Cavaradossi in "la nostra casetta."  As a typical boy of that age, I thought 
the torture, the stabbing, the firing squad, and the leap off the parapet were cool.  The rest 
of it went over my head.  

As I recall, the only opera my parents did not take me to on grounds of suitability, in those 
early years, was "Salome."  That I can understand - although I think I would have been 
intrigued by the severed head.

For a young child, I think it is just fine to say that Scarpia wants Tosca to be his girlfriend 
and leave it at that, unless the child wants to know more.  If he does, it might be a good 
opportunity to explain the facts of life.  In my case, at that age I was more interested in 
monsters,  haunted houses, and grisly things, than in sex.  That interest came with puberty.     

As a parent, I would certainly draw the line at "Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk."  Also, any Bieito 
production parading severed breasts around on platters. 

MDW  

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