Arpita Ghosal is a Toronto-based arts writer. She founded Sesaya in 2004.
In the fall, when Canadian bass-baritone Thomas Goerz was in Toronto singing in the Canadian Opera Company’s La Traviata, SesayArts asked him about how to introduce opera to a young person. Well, guess what? If you’ve got a young person you’ve been dying to introduce to opera, now’s your chance…read on!
SesayArts: What would you suggest as a good first opera for young people to see? What advice do you have for them before they see their first production?
Mr Goerz: “Ok. Well, the first one should definitely not be a four- or five-hour marathon by Wagner. I think Bizet’s Carmen is a great first opera for just about anyone. (On rare occasions the staging in this piece can be a bit risque – check the reviews first.) It’s great because the tunes are simply irresistible.”
“And that’s my suggestion – find a recording, and play those tunes till you really know them. Then whistle them while you do the dishes, rake the leaves, whatever. My guess is, once in the theatre, you’ll have a hard time NOT singing along. And keep in mind – every company now has English surtitles. So even if you happen to be hearing an opera in Czech or Russian, or Sanskrit (yes – I once had to sing in Sanskrit!), the story will be clear to everyone in the theatre.”
Budding operaphiles are in luck: the COC’s new production of Carmen is now on stage at the Four Seasons Centre. Grab your tickets and your family – and enjoy this perennial favourite through your youngsters’ eyes. Oh. And should you be tempted to hum along, you’ll likely be in good company.
News You Can Use
What: Carmen by Georges Bizet, directed by Joel Ivany
Who: Audiences 12 years of age and up
When: On stage until May 15, 2016
Where: Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W. Toronto, ON
For information and tickets: coc.ca/PerformancesAndTickets/1516Season/Carmen.aspx
© 2016 Arpita Ghosal, Sesaya