Thursday, May 29, 2014

Opera - Year 6...

Did I ever tell you the story of how Max came to love opera so much?  I'm sure it's somewhere in the archives of this blog, but since he has so many new fans, I'll tell it again.

Max has always loved music, and singing along to music.  We would play him classical music, his favorite Jack Johnson cd from the Curious George movie, and whatever else we felt like listening to. When I was pregnant with him, I could consistently get a kick out of him by playing Queen's We Will Rock You.

There was one rainy Saturday when Max was feeling especially upset while we were out on our errands.  I couldn't find anything to make him happy, so hit scan on the radio and turned it up.  We figured something would catch his attention and help him calm down.  When it stopped on the classical NPR station, he started singing.  It was the live performance of The Barber of Seville, by The Metropolitan Opera in NYC.   He listened to the entire opera, and sang along through it.  That was the beginning.

I contacted Opera Colorado and asked them if there would be any rehearsals we might bring Max to, since I was certain he wouldn't be able to sit through an entire opera quietly.  A few emails back and forth later, and we were connected with Cherity with Opera Colorado's Young Artist program.  Each year since, she has made sure Max has had access to opera.

He knew all week it was opera this week, and would only listen to opera music.  During music therapy yesterday, he wouldn't sing...he was saving his voice for opera!

Before we get to the opera of yesterday, let's go back for a view of opera through the years.

Opera Colorado 2008, Max was 4 years old.  The cast was sick so we had a special concert in their rehearsal studio with a few singing their favorite opera pieces.  This was Max's first live opera experience.

Opera Colorado 2009, Max was 5 years old.  This was the school matinee of Cosi Fan Tutti at the opera house.  

Opera Colorado The Music Shop at Children's Hospital 2010, Max was 6 years old.  This was the first performance at Children's and Max got to enjoy with his doctors, nurses and friends. 

2011 was Make A Wish year, and we had planned on Max getting to see Opera in San Francisco, but he got his bike instead.  We didn't have any opera-tunities that year because Max was quite sick and in the hospital a lot of the year. 

2012, Max was 8.  Opera Colorado,  Hansel and Gretel at Children's Hospital.  Max got to enjoy this opera with friends, family and his music therapist.  

2013 the singers were sick and couldn't make it to Children's. 

2014 Opera Colorado The Barber of Seville at Children's Hospital.  10 years old, and he got to experience his first and favorite opera live for the first time.

When we arrived, we parked Max up front so he could have the best view.  I took a ton of photos and videos, but I'll only share a few here.  As I was showing his speech therapist today, I told her I felt silly taking so many photos of him at an opera, but she said "you were just doing what any proud parent does at their kids' performance."  It's so true.  Max may not be up on stage performing, but this is "his" opera.  

Before the show, he was so excited to get it going!  He insisted on wearing his Batman t-shirt to the opera, even though I wanted him to wear a nice shirt.  He is Batman, even at the opera. 

Figaro, Figaro, Fiiiiiigaro.

Max was smitten with Rosina. 

He sings along with her at home too. 

They all gave such a wonderful performance!  

The Barber working his magic. 

Max's nurse who recently started working at Children's and sees him a couple of Fridays a month came down to enjoy with him.  

We love visiting the opera when they're in the community, but truly enjoy going to the hospital for it.  I love watching the families come out from the waiting rooms, and down from their hospital rooms to enjoy it.  I love seeing Max's doctors come out and smile when they see him healthy and enjoying one of his favorite things.  I love seeing the performers singing and acting as if it were a crowd of thousands, when it's usually just a handful of very special kids taking their minds off of being sick for a while.  We're so grateful to Opera Colorado for including Max each year.  Until next year...he'll keep singing.  

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