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Friday, July 24, 2009

Performing opera can easily be child's play

Special to The Japan Times

Kids Opera does not have to be a contradiction in terms, as the New National Theatre has proved since 2004. Artistic Director Thomas Novohradsky (2003-2007) first suggested the idea, and now Kids Opera is a regular summer feature. The NNTT takes the original music and text from a classic, reworking the opera to target elementary school students. Condensed into one act, this performance gives children — and parents — a chance to experience the art at a more accessible level.

This summer's program revisits the original production from 2004, "Get Back the Ring!" Adapted from "Der Ring des Nibelungen," ("The Ring of the Nibelung") by Richard Wagner, the Ring Cycle revolutionized opera, and is not only considered Wagner's masterpiece, but also the most ambitious musical presentation ever created. Wagner called this work a "music drama," and it's a good thing Kids Opera is condensed. The original cycle takes roughly 15 hours to perform. NNTT's version conveys Wagner's tale in a simple manner aimed at children in 80 minutes.

In 2006, the Vienna State Opera chose "Get Back the Ring!" as one of their "Kinderoper" productions. The premiere was an overwhelming success. Give your children the chance to taste the magic of "music drama" with "Get Back the Ring!"

Six performances are scheduled, twice a day, at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., on July 24-26.

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