Bringing Your Kids to the Opera
by guest contributor Ben Jewell-Plocher
I often get calls from families wondering how old their child should be before they attend a Sarasota Opera production. While there are lots of factors that determine whether a young person is ready to enjoy an evening or afternoon at the opera, I have a quick tips and facts to help you determine when is the right time to bring your child to their first opera performance…
How old should you be?
We recommend young people ages 8 and up who are able to sit quietly for at least an hour at a time without handheld distractions (iPads, toys, etc) attend our mainstage opera performances.
For those age 7 and under, we recommend our annual Sarasota Youth Opera production. These performances feature a cast of 80 to 100 young people ages 8 to 18 in operas that are written specifically for young voices to sing and for family audiences to enjoy. The Best part is most Youth Opera programs are only 60 minutes long and all performances are sung in English.
Are there breaks?
Depending on the opera, each performance includes 1 or more 15 to 20-minute intermission. Even the best-behaved children (and adults!) need a break to use the restroom, buy a drink or snack, peruse the gift shop, or stretch their legs.
How do we find out what the opera is about?
We find that most, if not all, operas performed at Sarasota Opera stage are appropriate for ages 8 and up. We actually spend time exploring all our upcoming productions during summer camp each year! That said, we encourage parents to review a synopsis before determining whether it appropriate for your child to attend. The internet is a great resource for finding not only story breakdowns, but also video clips of most operas and opera 101 videos like this.