It is somewhat rare to have an opera production that is family friendly – opera more often than not, involves a great deal of violence, romance, death and other adult subject matter, not to mention the usual three hour running time. So you might be wondering, “What do they mean, exactly, when they say Amahl and the Night Visitors is a ‘family friendly’ show?”
We encourage parents to use their best judgment when choosing to bring their child to the opera, but in general, we think children elementary school age and older will enjoy Amahl and the Night Visitors.
How long will my child have to sit still?
One of the reasons this production is kid friendly is because it is only 50 minutes long, from the time the first singer comes out on stage until the last note is sung. That being said, plan on 15 minutes of sitting before the show begins, and another 5 minutes of applause at the end.
Is the show interactive?
While the subject matter of Amahl is appropriate for children, this will still be a traditional theater experience. Unlike a play you might see at the Children’s Museum, talking, moving around and interacting with the singers is not encouraged.
Will my child understand the plot?
Again, we ask each family to use their best judgment, but the plot of Amahl and the Night Visitors is fairly simple and incorporates characters and concepts your children may already know, like the Three Wise Men and their journey to visit the newborn Christ child.
Any time you are attending an opera you are unfamiliar with, we encourage you to visit our website and read over the synopsis – we promise it won’t spoil the experience! Opera is the only art form that incorporates singing, acting, set design and live orchestra – there’s a lot going on in the theater and having a good idea of the general story is often helpful. Try talking the story line over with your children before you attend so they can follow along more easily.
Isn’t opera usually sung in a foreign language?
Most, but not all opera is sung in the language of the composer. Amahl and the Night Visitors, originally commissioned by NBC in 1951 and was written in English for American television audiences. It aired every Christmas season from 1951 until 1966.
Are there any kid friend activities planned before or after the show?
We think attending the opera should be a full experience, even for kids! Check out our calendar to view all of the great things we have planned surrounding the production, including a visit from Santa, holiday treats, carolers and more.
Want to learn more about the opera?
Check out our informative and amusing First Timers Guide for all the opera basics.