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Subject: Re: Age-Appropriate Opera
From: Rich Lowenthal <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Rich Lowenthal <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 29 Jan 2018 14:34:30 +0000

text/plain (79 lines)

Unless the child is living in a convent or unusually sheltered I doubt 
there's much in opera that isn't readily available on tv or in the news. 
I certainly cannot think of an opera as horrible as the recent scandal 
surrounding the U.S. gymnastics team, compared to which Tosca seems like 
a feel-good story.

Still, Lady Macbeth of Mtensk might be a bit too far, as is Bluebeard's 
Castle. But for a ten-year-old the main issues are apt to be patience 
and behavior, rather than delicacy.

------ Original Message ------
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: 1/29/2018 8:59:25 AM
Subject: Age-Appropriate Opera

>Simon wrote:
>"I was amused by Max's recollection of first seeing Tosca at age 10 - 
>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.

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