Opera for NYC Kids: Family-Friendly Opera Companies & Productions
When my son was just in kindergarten, he came home from school asking if he could go to an opera. Although I was impressed that my five-year-old even knew what an opera was, I was hesitant to plunk down big bucks to take him to what I worried would feel like a long, boring concert sung in a language he didn't understand.
That's when I started looking around to see if there were any opera companies in New York City mounting productions specifically for children. And guess what? In a culture capitol like NYC, of course there are. At these special familly-friendly opera performances, the length is edited down to accommodate shorter attention spans, the libretto is translated into English, and puppets and audience interaction are added to keep kids interested and engaged. (Let's face it, those are nice perks for grown-ups, too.)
My now eight-year-old son did indeed see his first opera while still in kindergarten. Every year the Metropolitan Opera does a family production during the holidays and we saw Hansel and Gretel. My son was riveted—even from the nosebleed seats! In addition to the Met's holiday offering, which sells out months in advance, there are other smaller, less expensive New York City companies that produce opera for kids all year round.