It’s March break in Toronto which means lots of children friendly activities. Yesterday’s lunchtime concert at the Four Seasons Centre was one of them. It was a session/performance by soprano/educator Kyra Millan together with sidekicks baritone Jesse Clark and pianist Christina Faye. There were lots of kids, mostly quite young, there. Some had even brought their parents.
Christina and Jesse performed a number of songs and arias; Tesori’s The Girl in 14G, the Largo al factotum, Les oiseaux dans la charmille from Tales of Hoffmann and Chacun le sait, chacun le dit from La fille du régiment. The Offenbach was quite hilarious as Kyra played a robot wife trying ineffectually to murder her indifferent husband with a large collection of likely and unlikely objects. All the excerpts were performed in the original language and the kids lapped it up.
The second half of the session was a series of vocal exercises leading up to a performance of the Papageno/Papagena duet. I was impressed by Kyra’s energy and her ability to communicate to the children. This was really a great way to introduce kids to opera. I’m guessing that more than a few parents will be being pestered to take their kids to the opera after this!
I’ve not really thought much about the COC’s children’s programs beyond being generally aware of the Xstrata schools tour (and that largely because I know some of the performers). My kids are grown up and live in Australia so I’ve not had reason to check them out but yesterday caused me to go look at what the company has for children and youth. It’s pretty awesome. So kudos to the COC for investing in this area.
I might add too that yesterday’s audience was far better behaved than some I’ve encountered at main stage performances.
Photo credits: Karen Reeves