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CLASSICAL  November 2005

CLASSICAL November 2005

Subject:

The "Flute for Kids" and My First Byline

From:

Janos Gereben <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 12 Nov 2005 22:05:07 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (87 lines)

   "The Magic Flute for Kids"
   By Marcus Weiss
   
   A byline, I found out today, is when a newspaper article says
   on top that it is BY somebody.  "By Marcus Weiss" is my byline,
   my first one, but that's OK because I am only 7.  I am already
   in second grade, in Sunset Elementary School, which is a very
   good one, see the website at
   http://www.greatschools.net/cgi-bin/ca/other/6438
   
   This is a story about the San Francisco Opera's "Magic Flute for
   Kids" that I saw this afternoon, with my friend Janos.  He writes
   stories about operas, but he asked me to write this one because,
   he said, I am a kid and he isn't.  I said OK, if he takes care
   of the spelling, and finds out the names of the singers.
   
   I also must say that this was not my first opera. My Grannie
   Susan and my Grandpa George have been ushers in the War Memorial
   Opera House for many years (Grannie says more than 30), and they
   let me see operas and, especially, ballet, which I like even
   more. For operas, my favorite is "The Pearl Fishers" because it
   has dancing in it, and I also saw half of an opera about a prison.
   (Janos thinks it's called "Fidelio.")
   
   The first thing I thought when I saw the stage today, with the
   chairs for the orchestra and lots of kids sitting on the floor,
   was that there is no space for dancing..
   
   I saw only the chairs for the musicians because they didn't come
   in until the show began. They were led by Donald Runnicles, the
   conductor, playing a drum, and they played music like a marching
   band. The boss of the Opera, Pamela Rosenberg, spoke to welcome
   us, and she said "girls and boys," putting girls first, but
   that's OK with me.
   
   In the back of the stage, there was a big picture of the balcony,
   looking back at the real balcony of the house, and neither Janos
   nor I know what that meant. It showed us that we were in the
   Opera House, but I already knew that.
   
   After playing what Mr. Runnicles said was part of the overture,
   the bird-catcher Papageno (played by Lucas Meachem) came through
   the audience, and he was talking to us for a long time about all
   kinds of things, then suddenly mentioned this prince, Tamino,
   and Sean Panikkar, who played the prince, sang, and that was
   very beautiful - only when Jane Archibald sang the Queen of the
   Night, with very high notes, was as good.
   
   There were words I didn't understand in the story - and almost
   nothing in the singing, and I didn't see supertitles either,
   which helped in "The Pearl Fishers" - such as "trial" and
   "initiation." Also I don't know what "incongruous" means, which
   is what Janos said when suddenly the story stopped and Mr.
   Runnicles introduced the instruments in the orchestra, and we
   had to yell out the names of each. With only one hour for the
   whole show, half the time was about something else. Then there
   was more "Magic Flute" and then some more instruments, and
   suddenly make-believe animals were all over the place, in the
   audience, dancing to Papageno's magic bells, and that was cool,
   especially because I didn't think there would be any ballet.
   
   Then Papageno said the prince and the lady he loved (Kimwana
   Doner was the name of the very good singer) "reached the height
   of human pleasure" and I think that's the same as "happy ending."
   Oh, and when Papageno wanted to kill himself before because of
   Nikki Einfeld (the really cute Papagena he didn't meet yet), Ms.
   Rosenberg came out, dressed as a golden tree, with a noose hanging
   from her, so Papageno could hang himself. In the program, there
   was a star next to Ms. Rosenberg's name, and on the bottom of
   the page, there was the explanation: "San Francisco Opera debut."
   Even for her first time, I thought she was a very funny tree.
   
   I didn't understand the story (what kind of name is "Monastotos"
   and what was he doing there?), but I agree with Janos that the
   important thing is the music, and that's really nice. I kind of
   liked everything, but would have liked less talk and more music
   and dance. Maybe I will think differently when I grow up, but
   now I think music is the most important thing about opera. As
   the prize for writing this review, I got a CD of "The Marriage
   of Figaro" and I will listen to it soon.
   
   If you want to see my picture, it's at
   http://home.earthlink.net/~janos451/marcus3.jpg. Bye now.

Janos Gereben
www.sfcv.org
[log in to unmask]

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