December 15, 2011
The San Francisco Opera production of Carmen for Families brought kids out in droves, and most were fascinated with this impressive production. SFCV spoke to a few young critics, two of whom were in the show as members of the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Nine-year-old Caroline Thompson said it the best about the lead character: “Carmen seemed very outgoing and crazy sort of.” Here’s what else they had to say:
Livia Camperi (12 yrs. old):
I had been a Super in The Magic Flute before. The best part for me about this opera was combining the singing and the acting and just being on stage. It was fun to sing but it was a little intimidating with those big voices singing all around you. In the fourth act the adults and kids sort of echo each other and that was really fun. It was cool to hear the contrast of the voices. I’ve admired opera singers for a long time and I’ve wanted a singing career for a long time, even writing my own songs. This experience was so amazing; I want to do it again!
Caroline Thompson (9 yrs. old)
It was my first opera and I thought it was really good. The story was basically clear, and they really distinguished it and made it beautiful. The way the actors moved and danced while they sang, and all of the props and things made it great. I really like to sing so it made me think of myself. I take singing lessons and sing at my school.
Carlos Keeler (13 yrs. old)
I liked that it was always different, in every scene and every character was different. The singing was good. I was glad they had subtitles because it was kind of hard to listen and hear what they said. It seems like operas are more serious than Broadway shows, but also entertaining. It was surprising when Don José killed her.
Marika Stuurman (14 yrs. old)
It was really interesting to hear the different qualities in their voices. I especially loved the tenor [Brian Jagde]. I didn’t realize that some of the songs that I already knew came from that opera.
Katie Jonckheer (13 yrs. old)
This was the first opera I’ve been in with the S.F. Girls Chorus. The experience was amazing because when you go to an opera or the ballet, you don’t know what happens backstage but when you’re actually in it you see everything like the cuing, and the old sets back there. I think they did a good job of deciding which parts to take out to adapt it, but I like the regular version more since it has more of the music I’m familiar with. The singers are really nice people and we got to meet them. They seem they are really committed to what they are doing and really enjoy it.
Bellavente Wind Quintet Wins Media Award
Bellavente Wind Quintet has a special passion. Over 30 years, its members have devoted much of their musical lives to creating interesting programming for children. The Quintet — Leslie Chin, flute; Kyle Bruckmann, oboe; Marilyn Martella, clarinet; Alicia Telford, french horn; and Beverly McChesney, bassoon — has completed their fourth season with the Symphony’s AIM program and it performs some 125 children’s concerts each year. Their hard work has not gone unnoticed: the album Frogs and Friends has just won a 2011 Parent’s Choice Award, one of only a few classical albums to do so. Says McChesney: “We are delighted to have received such great recognition for our work. We were very gratified that our self-produced CD was one of several classical recordings to receive awards this cycle, including a CD by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.”
Members of Bellavente met while performing classical and contemporary music with some of the Bay Area’s leading ensembles. Frogs and Friends is its second CD of songs and stories for children. Tracks include Handel's Sinfonia, Woody Guthrie's This Land is Your Land, Sousa’s Liberty Bell March, a delightful wind quintet rendition of George Gershwin's I Got Rhythm and more. Popular stories are Arnold Lobel's The Garden from his classic Frog and Toad Together, as well as a traditional English ghost story called The Teeny Tiny Woman. Extensive liner notes are geared toward teachers and educators, and provide background on all the songs. McChesney explains the motivation behind adopting this type of music: “My personal inspiration for performing for children is being a mom. I am so happy that I am able to share my music with eager young minds.”
It’s the season of giving, and sharing music with your family is the best gift of all. You may decide to attend a few of the many seasonal concerts offered, or you may also be playing or singing in one yourself. Let our events calendar be your guide to merry making! Some will find a new musical instrument under their trees and a dedicated resolve to learning how to play it in the coming year.
Browse our Directory of Music Enrichment Programs or Directory of Music Teachers to learn how you can get involved come January. Looking for a community ensemble for you? Check out our Auditions Page or look through our Bay Area Music Groups and sort by your special interest.
SFCV offers a wealth of other resources like a Composer Gallery, Free MP3 downloads, Tips & Advice on musical study, merchandise suggestions, and more. Look for even more features to come. Thanks for your patronage, and we’re looking forward to being your favorite website for Kids and Music, in 2012!