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>And we don’t care about the young folks

>Angel-Juan Diego Florez (wow, is he good-looking) did not repeat his repeat of “Ah! mes amis, quel jour de fête!” in the Met’s “HD Live” transmission yesterday afternoon. Good for him, although he perhaps needn’t have implied, in an intermission interview, that he decided against the encore because the audience didn’t clap hard enough.

It was fun, opera with popcorn (Richard) and ice cream (me). But talk about blue-hair city, I swear I was the youngest person in the (sold-out) theater, and I ain’t no spring chicken. But my fears for the future of the art form are comforted by the fact that almost everybody up on the stage/screen was younger than I, and that my fellow audience members probably listened to Elvis and the Beatles in earlier days. At least Joan Baez. The Met does transmit these performances to a few NYC public schools for free viewing (and has other educational outreach to youth as well) so they’re demonstrably concerned with the graying of their audience, but maybe some art appreciation takes time. There was an old (even then) storybook of opera plots I took out over and over again from the public library when I was nine or so, but I didn’t get into opera itself until college, and I was spending a semester abroad in London, where students could see the English National Opera for a couple of pounds. My first was Salome, with Josephine Barstow as the crazy (and, ultimately, naked) lady. I was hooked.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. >Speaking of good-looking, I went to Chicago in March to see two things at the Lyric, one of which was to be Juan Diego Florez AND Nathan Gunn in Barber of Seville, and they BOTH cancelled. Ouch.

    When I was a child my father took me to see the Met traveling company when they came to Cleveland (somehow it was always Aida) and I have childhood memories of it. I remember a positively little man playing Radames, wearing platform shoes that to my eyes looked like he’d borrowed them from Herman Munster, in order to come halfway up the soprano. I remember real elephants (can that possibly be right?). I remember my mother’s hairdresser, Tony, being an extra, marching across the stage with a bunch of other shirtless slaves. And I remember spectacle. I can remember thinking that the singing was so very odd and unatural and pretend-sounding. As an adult, while I can remember thinking that, I can’t recapture the sensation; now I just love the singing. I don’t mind the pageantry, and I even get caught up in the drama every now and again. But it’s mostly the singing. I’m no good at the desert island disc game, but I’m pretty sure that, whatever the disc, Janet Baker would be singing on it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    >I had my kid and a friend watch the Met production of the Magic Flute (two 11 year old boys) and though I wouldn’t say they loved it, they didn’t think it was all bad. I think exposure for kids and opera is the way to go. Hopefully like me when they get to college they will say…I remember that…and then they may even love it.

  3. >The first thing that popped to mind was “Missing Angel Juan”…No wonder!

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