If you are an opera fan, you probably know that Lucia di Lammermor is a pretty gut-wrenching tragedy. It is also a VERY long opera, about three hours. Still, I jumped at the chance at making this my son’s first opera.
Since birth I have made it a point to expose Angelo to art and culture. Being a singer myself, art, music and theater are a huge part of our family traditions. He has been to many important museums all over Europe and the US, including the Le Louvre, Van Gogh’s Museum in Amsterdam, the entire DC Mall and The Met in NY. I’ve taken him to the symphony and a series of plays and shows all over. We feel lucky that moving back to Miami no longer means we have to sacrifice culture. Since Angelo’s birth Miami has taken off as an epicenter of music, art and culture.
The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts specifically has provided many options at all cost levels to expose Angelo to art. From Gay Pride events to Family Days, the Spooky Symphony and a wide variety of world-class events, he knows the venue well. This past weekend we were pleased to return again to hear and see our friends from the Florida Grand Opera perform along side International Queen Elizabeth Grand Prize winner Soprano Haeran Hong. Tenor Jesús León plays the role of Edgardo the love of Lucia’s life who is ALSO her brother’s worst enemy. I want to avoid spoilers to anyone who doesn’t know the story, but through a series of sad events a tragic love story unfolds and Lucia ends up losing her mind and creating quite the wedding night. The performances were deep and just the right level of cruel and dark. Hong’s Lucia undoubtedly was the star performance of the day. She caressed the high notes in each piece with what seemed effortless ease. She engaged you with her depth and engaging acting but her singing will leave you absolutely breathless with pleasure. I felt Lucia’s pain, her madness and love in a vibrant roller coaster of emotion. Whether it’s your first time watching it, or you’ve seen it a thousand times, this performance would have made those three hours float away.
Taking a young child to the opera isn’t a mainstream choice. My son is only seven, and yes this opera can be quite scary. He was the ONLY child I saw in the entire place. The ushers made comments to our friends sharing our box about a child that had been brought to the venue, our box neighbors kept glaring and staring. However, most people were really nice and made a point to comment on how handsome my son was dressed but also prepared him for the graphic parts of the dramma.
I am happy this was Angelo’s first opera. Exposing children to powerful art at a young age will always have a lasting impact on them. A child’s view of the world and art itself expands exponentially; from the smallest detail, to the profound shaping of character. In one experience Angelo learned the etiquette of the opera, he reconnected with his Italian heritage, culture and language, he learned about the rights of women in generations past, but he also learned about the depths of human suffering. This piece had us talking about women’s rights, the importance men play as allies in that movement and how painfully the men in Lucia’s life failed her. We saw our friends performing showing him amazing examples of people who work hard at their craft and reach great heights. This experience bonded us in ways no other experience could have. The roller coaster of emotion has sparked hours of conversation and learning. I recommend all parents set their concerns aside when it comes to high-brow forms of art and entertainment. Children are more capable of digesting and enjoying these forms more than parents realize. We will never forget this day and it is one of the memories together I will treasure most.
I invite you all to browse the series of events coming up for the Florida Grand Opera, I sing with several of their artists and I can personally tell you they are incredibly talented and dedicated to their craft. Tickets start under $15, don’t miss your shot at taking your child to their first opera, visit fgo.org.
This is not a paid ad. All opinions are my own, I received no compensation for the production of this post.