Well, I had the same experience with an opera. When I was a kid, my musician-parents made a real effort to bring my sister and me along with them to many of their jobs. We accompanied them at various times to all kinds of rehearsals, dress rehearsals and performances. It was something I enjoyed a lot, especially the operas and ballets, but it was also just a way of life. I never considered that maybe this was an unusual way to grow up.
Then as an adult one summer, I played in the pit orchestra for Engelbert Humperdink’s “Hansel and Gretel”. I hadn’t thought about or heard the opera for years, but it was one that my parents played and brought us to a number of years in a row. And it was like that first adult whiff of a box of crayons. So many emotions and images came flooding back, old and forgotten but familiar. Not only that, but I finally understood why my response to the music of Wagner, Mahler and Bruckner was, “I knew
I think this is a great introduction to opera for kids. The story is familiar (but some productions can be very dark, I would caution you to preview this if you can), the music is fantastic, and the words are often sung in English instead of German. We don’t live in a big city any more, and opportunities to take my own children to things like this are limited. But with the help of Interlibrary Loan and our university library, I am working to give them a similar experience to the one I had. Maybe someday they’ll have that “box of crayons” moment themselves.