Classical opera and kids don't usually go hand in hand. But a new opera adventure created especially for kids ages 5 to 10, aims to introduce the younger set to the joys of live opera with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The Magic Victrola, on Saturday, January 17 at 3 p.m., at the Civic Opera House in downtown Chicago, is Lyric Unlimited's third annual performance especially designed for youngsters and their families.
Children will be entranced by the colorful costumes and delightful sets as they listen to a selection of some of the most beloved arias of the opera world performed by baritone Will Liverman, mezzo-soprano J'nai Bridges, tenor Jonathan Johnson, mezzo-soprano Julie Miller, and sopranos Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi and Laura Wilde.
Caroline Heffernan and Logan Neuschaefer play Gracie and Sam, two children who are settling in for a summer with their grandfather (Richard Henzel). When they discover their grandfather's collection of opera records and an old-fashioned Victrola player in the attic, everything changes. A dull summer becomes one filled with magic when they put on the first record and the bird catcher Papageno (Ryan Opera Center) from Mozart's The Magic Flute appears and encourages Gracie and Sam to play more records, which causes each famous opera scene to magically come to life. The performance includes excerpts from The Magic Flute, The Doll Song from Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann, "Quanto e bella" from Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore, the Flower Duet from Delibes's Lakmé, "O mio babbino caro" from Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, and the Habanera from Bizet's Carmen.
"This will be a first-time introduction to the world of opera for many of our youngest audience members so we want to make it as accessible and enjoyable as possible. The vibrant sets and costumes bring the opera stories to life with some fun pop-culture twists that will be instantly recognizable," said Cayenne Harris, director of Lyric Unlimited. "There will be easy-to-read English translations of all the operatic excerpts. We're also projecting the onstage action onto large video screens on either side of the opera house, which means there will be terrific viewing for everyone whether they are sitting in the balcony or on the main floor."
The running time for The Magic Victrola is approximately 60 minutes with no intermission. Tickets for children are $10, $15, and $20. For adults (18+) the prices are $20, $30, and $40. Visit lyricopera.org/victrola or call 312-827-5600for tickets.For families with children who are ready to experience a full-length opera performance, Lyric also offers children's pricing ($20-50) for all mainstage operas. Visit lyricopera.org or call 312-827-5600 for more information.