This New Year: You don't have to wear out your welcome when you introduce your kids to opera

Sheeraz Qurban

I love opera.

It’s my favorite genre of music, and I have been lucky enough to see many world-class performances over the years. But while there is no shortage of opera in our city, most productions are too short or too old for my kids' attention span. So when we got tickets for a different production at the Geffen Playhouse—a new theater building on West Coast Avenue—I decided to take advantage of this opportunity by introducing them to an adaptation that would be perfect for their age range: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Douglas J. Davies (adapted by Peter Rugg).

A wonderful world of make-believe

When you introduce your children to opera, start with a wonderful world of make-believe. Opera is full of characters who are larger than life, and their stories are often rags-to-riches tales about overcoming great adversity. The music itself can be described as melodious or majestic; it may also be rich and harmonious or passionate and passionate. The action in an opera unfolds on stage and involves singing as well as dancing; this allows you to use your imagination while listening to the story unfold before you!

A Sweet Story

The Magic Flute, one of Mozart’s most beloved operas, tells the story of Prince Tamino and his quest to rescue Pamina from the evil sorcerer Sarastro. Along the way, he meets and falls in love with Pamina. The opera is based on an Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte (1749-1838), but it also incorporates ideas from other sources like Goethe’s Faust (which was first performed by an Italian troupe) as well as Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Tamino, a prince lost in a foreign land, is being pursued by an enormous monster. He is rescued by three mysterious ladies, who kill the monster and give Tamino a picture of Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night, with whom he falls instantly in love.

Opera for kids is a family opera. It’s funny, entertaining, and easy to understand. And best of all: it doesn’t wear out its welcome!

Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute” is sophisticated enough for any grown-up listener. But the charming characters and ear-worm tunes packed into its allegorical adventure tale will also win over younger audience members. Just in time for the holidays, the Met Opera is bringing back Julie Taymor’s puppet-filled tilt-a-whirl of a production, cleverly cut to avoid taxing short attention spans. The show opens on Friday, Dec. 16, and the matinee this Sunday includes a holiday open house with arts and crafts demonstrations and hands-on activities. Learn more here. — Steve Smith

Opera for kids is a family opera. It’s funny, entertaining, and easy to understand. And best of all: it doesn’t wear out its welcome!

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