I really didn’t know what to expect taking my 8 1/2 year old son to the opera. When I first asked him if he wanted to join me to see Portland Opera’s production of The Barber of Seville, he gave me an energetic and brief “sure!” Did he know what he was in for? I hesitated telling him that The Barber of Seville is sung entirely in Italian, and that it runs well over two hours. I held off on dragging out summary sheets or doing any opera prep work. Part of me honestly believed that all that would scare him off.
It’s not all that unreasonable an assumption. There are a great number of people who are intimidated by opera – they live under the misconception that opera is somehow too fancy, unapproachable or requires some sort of pre-requisite knowledge or home work.