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Classical Music for Children, Fall 2005

Mini-Critic and I have reviewed some classical concerts for children together: one of the National Symphony's kinderkonzerts and the production of the Opera Summer Camp for Kids. This fall, I am trying to keep track of all of the performances of classical music one might take children to hear. Mini-Critic and I will hopefully be reviewing some of them.

Coming up soon, on October 1 (Saturday, 1 pm), the CityDance Ensemble and Levine School of Music will present that perennial favorite for children's concerts, Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf. This performance, which combines dance with the narrated score, will take place in the Education Center (Room 405) of the Music Center at Strathmore. Tickets are very reasonable, $5 each. To order, call (202) 686-8000 ext. 1302.

For whatever reason, most of the children's concerts do not happen until November. The National Symphony Orchestra hosts three kinds of concerts for children. The Family Concerts feature the full orchestra in the Concert Hall but are generally the manageable length of about one hour. The Kinderkonzerts, for ages 4 and up, are in the smaller Theater Lab, with a smaller group of musicians and shorter musical excerpts. The Teddy Bear Concerts are intended for very young children (3 to 5 years old).

The first example of the latter type, which is a new series this year, is scheduled for November 6 (Sunday, 12 pm and 1:30 pm). Violinist Marissa Regni and harpist Dotian Levalier encourage children to bring a favorite stuffed animal for the NSO Teddy Bear Concert: Tunes 'n' Tales, in the Kennedy Center Theater Lab. Tickets: $15. Here is the schedule of the remaining NSO concerts for families:

Saturday, November 12, 11 am and 1 pm
NSO Kinderkonzerts: Brought to You by the Letter "B" (Bach, Beethoven, Brahms)
Ages 4 and up
Carole Bean, flute; Dotian Levalier, harp; and William Wielgus, oboe
Kennedy Center, Theater Lab

Sunday, November 13, 1 pm
NSO Ensemble Concerts: Connections: History and Music (developed by NSO cellist Yvonne Caruthers)
History and music of colonial Jamestown, the Lewis and Clark expedition, the post-Civil War era, and the 20th century
Ages 9 and up
Kennedy Center, Theater Lab

Sunday, November 20, 1 pm and 3 pm
NSO Family Concerts: Rip Van Winkle and Other Musical Tales
Ages 7 and up
Kennedy Center, Concert Hall

Saturday, November 26, 1:30 and 3:30 pm; Sunday, November 27, 1:30 and 3:30 pm
NSO Kinderkonzerts: Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf
Kennedy Center, Terrace Theater

In November, the Salzburger Marionettentheater will present two marionnette performances of Mozart operas: The Magic Flute on November 8 (Tuesday, 7:30 pm) and Don Giovanni on November 9 (Wednesday, 7:30 pm). Both performances are listed as 2 hours in length and will last too long and too far past bedtime for very young children. However, they should be excellent performances for older kids (and even adults will enjoy them). The troupe uses great recordings of the operas and stages the action (somewhat abbreviated) with incredibly lifelike puppets. These shows take place in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater.

Finally, take the choirboy or girl in your life to see concerts by two of the most famous children's choirs in the world. The Choir of Westminster Abbey will perform a concert at Washington National Cathedral on October 23 (Sunday, 4 pm). And on December 11 (Sunday, 3 pm) the world-famous Vienna Boys Choir will be at the Music Center at Strathmore.

Also, I have just learned about the Child-Centered Look-In Performance of the Gershwins' Porgy and Bess on Saturday, November 5, 11 am. This 1-hour program will be hosted by WJLA-TV/Channel 7's Maureen Bunyan, in the Kennedy Center Opera House. It includes some child-oriented explanation of the story, the sounds of jazz, and staged excerpts from the opera. Tickets: $10 for children, and either $15 or $35 for adults. Call (202) 295-2400 to reserve your seats.

On November 13 and 19 (both at 3 pm), Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia will present the Lyric Opera of Chicago's children's adaptation of Rossini's The Barber of Seville. Performances are held in the Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre in Arlington. Call (703) 528-1433.

The Central Pennsylvania Youth Opera will give a special performance of Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel, in one of the Saturday morning children's shows at the National Theater, on December 3. These special, short performances, on most Saturdays, are free, starting at 9:30 and 11 am. There are no advance tickets or reservations, and the seating is limited. Tickets are distributed on a first come, first served basis, beginning a half-hour before curtain.


Princess Alpenrose said...

Kudos to the little writer dude.

ps -
those Marionettes are WAY TOO COOL!

Princess Alpenrose said...

And it's Maria Stader singing! Wow, hearing that voice is gonna be a real treat on Nov. 8th!

Die Zauberflote K.620 (Pamina)
w.Streich; Haefliger; Fischer-Dieskau; Greindl;
RIAS Kammerchor;Berlin RSO; Fricsay
(Berlin, June 1955) DG 18 264/6; DG 18 267/9; DG 2701 015; DG 2728 009; DG 2730 014; Heliodor 2701 003; Decca DX-134

Brief Bio:


Princess Alpenrose said...

Fischer-Dieskau, too? And look at the voices on the Don G. as well. Wo, too much fun!

And you're right it is the Bergman movie version I was thinking of. We saw it like 3 times when it came out ('74 I was 12, okay?) in the movie theater, and it was ultimate on the big screen.

I'm going to get a life now...