Antonio Pappano: Opera is not for young audiences

Antonio Pappano: Opera is not for young audiences


norman lebrecht

February 27, 2020

From my Spectator interview with the music director of the Royal Opera House:

…. He has his own view on who the audience should be. ‘In this country,’ says Antonio Pappano, ‘I’ve observed that despite all our talk of wanting to bring in younger audiences, opera is something that you come to… later. Younger people tend to be restless. We’re asking them to sit sometimes for five hours on end. I’m comfortable with classical music, in general, that you come to it later in life.’

More here.



  • I’am 100% agree with him. It’s the same thing for classical exept if you play an instrument. We don’t have to be obsessed by the age of the audience. And it could be frenquently the same thing for painting.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Indeed. Sometimes one sees very old people standing so long in front of a canvas in the National Gallery that they have to be carried-out of the building at 5 o’clock. Occasionally it transpires that they have fallen asleep, but that is OK, it is the same with sitting through the Ring.

      • This pression around the concert halls and the opera houses is stupide for the average age of the audience. The only pression they must have is to find the goods artists, to have the good price politic and to have a maximum of people for the shows! And we are all getting old!

      • And by getting old there’are some things you appreciate more at the National Gallery like Lake Keitele by Gallen-Kallela

      • sycorax says:

        I was 14 as my teacher invited me to Bayreuth – Tristan and Isolde. I fell asleep although the seats in Bayreuth are really a bit of a folter.

  • Bloom says:

    There is a snobbish opera audience , older or younger, that attends big ROH “star studded ” productions just to show off and to rave on Twitter after or during the show. There are also others , younger or older spectators, that visit the opera houses mainly for the music and for the freshness of the cast and of the staging concept. And the current ROH is not their favourite location, I fear.

    • Allen says:

      Show off to who?

      Going to an opera house, ROH or otherwise, doesn’t generally impress these days. Quite the opposite in many instances.

      • Robin says:

        ‘Doesn’t impress? You must be a hard nut to crack – unlike the sell-out crowds for every ROH performance.

        • Allen says:

          I think you’ve missed the point. A ROH audience is hardly representative. That’s not a criticism of the ROH, it’s just that it isn’t.

          The UK has far fewer opera houses than, say, Germany. Sadly, not only is opera off the radar of many people, the word can actually be toxic in some circles.

          Regietheater doesn’t help – people read press reports of its worst excesses and wonder how “their” money is being spent.

          Big fan of Pappano though. I’d like to see him on television more often. In fact occasionally would be a big improvement. He has the ability to get through to ordinary people, a little like Previn did years ago.

          • sycorax says:

            I’m German and as I moved to the Northeast of England I thought I’d get rarely opera now. But I have to say there’s more offered as one thinks. It starts with the Scottish Opera which gave me a few real great nights (their “Magic Flute” was one of the most impressive I’ve ever seen, their Figaro and Don were well done and I liked their Traviata a lot). And then there are some “semi amateur companies” – for example: The opera society of the university of Durham is rather good and what they lack at funds and professionalism, they often make up through their enthusiasm and freshness.
            And in London isn’t only the ROH, but ENO too – though I have to say I left the last two times in the interval (as a German and especially as someone from Stuttgart I’m used on Regie theatre, but what ENO delivered was too much even for me) and opera at Holland Park which I rather liked …
            Of course, not everything is on the “star” level of ROH, but in Germany you don’t get that either. On the other hand in Stuttgart you often get to hear young singers which are really, really good – like Johannes Kammler or James Rutherford. And the Deutsche Opera am Rhein in Düsseldorf isn’t too bad either …

  • Michael Turner says:

    I take Sir Antonio’s point. Certainly, there is repertoire that I could not cope with as a teenager that I now love and respect as a 50-something.

    However, as I discussed with a friend who recently came to opera (from a background principally focussed on non-classical music) , there are lots of operas that I think are perfect for younger people and new converts to engage with (a point I also made in a comment on Sir Simon Rattle’s recent repertoire announcements with the LSO).

    My friend’s first leap into opera was to see a streaming of Porgy and Bess. She loved it. Did I then suggest that she tried Verdi, Puccini or Wagner. No. “Try Wozzeck, or Lady Macbeth of Mtensk or Peter Grimes”, I said. They are all pieces that have a more direct link with the visceral world that we live in. Want something lighter? The Marriage of Figaro is great but also The Love for Three Oranges.

    As a youngster, I found opera a difficult part of the classical world to get to grips with and it was the “threat” of the more obvious operatic greats that I found daunting.

    Let’s cast our nets wider.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Entirely agreed. Nothing more to be said!

    • Hilary says:

      Sage advice.

    • sycorax says:

      I think if young people like opera is a bit of a question of how they get to know it. I grew up with classical music (while my mother was pregnant with me she loved to listen to Bach and Händel. Whenever she was a bit exhausted and had time to put her feet up, she heard Water Music or the Brandenburg concertos). My grandfather was a carpenter and I loved being in his work shop – where he often sang the Mozart baritone arias. It was kind of funny: As I heard the entire “Le Nozze” for the first time I recognized a lot because my grandy had often sung it.
      And as I was four or five years old I was first time taken to the opera – Hänsel and Gretel it was. And then came Magic Flute and Boheme (I cried buckets) and the Mozart operas. Besides I started to learn the organ as I was 10 and with 12 I finally could start with bassoon.
      For me opera was always part of my musical “diet”. And most people I know who liked opera even as young people came from houses where the parents listened to opera, too.
      And the other hand: I had a friend, highly intelligent, a scientist in HIV science. He came from a really poor area and his mother, as lovely a person she is, is rather … how shall I put it? Her favourite music is German folk and she sees Andre Rieu as a great artist.
      He’d never heard “real classic” as a child and was around 22 as we got to know each other and he got to listen to “my” music. Funnily he became a great Wagner afficionado (which I’m not!) and travelled already three times from Amerika where he now lives to Bayreuth.
      And by talking about Wagner: The brother of a friend of mine, student of architecture, was around 22 too and he was a bit interested in me. First I thought “well, why not? He likes classical music, he’s cultivated and intelligent …” And so I let him invite me to a night in his house (it was his parent’s house, his sister was in the next room, his father had his office above – so no danger of something odd happening). Well, it became a memorable night. He’d gotten videos from a complete “Ring” and for five hours I had to watch the first of it. And then he asked me if I’d like to come the next nights for watching the others. I declined – that was definitely too much Wagner for me.

  • educating the young says:

    Countless German opera houses have halls filled with kids for programs designed specifically for them. Here’s a video score and orchestra simulation of an opera for children (and their families) that was recently composed:

  • Raphael J says:

    Opera is a culture that millennials don’t understand. I am ten years old, and I listen to it every day on the radio and I go to live operas whenever possible. Actually I am seeing Madame Butterfly next week! I am so excited!

  • Paul Dawson says:

    Statements like this from such a central figure in UK opera serve to raise the barriers, which is disgraceful.

    I felt intimidated when buying my first opera ticket at age 22 in 1973 – Penderecki’s The Devils of Loudon – but I was a big Penderecki fan and overcame my nerves.

    After this first, I started taking dates to the opera and they also had nerves: how should they dress, when should they clap, what do they say in the intervals, when more experienced audience members will overhear them?

    A comment like this brings all these memories back and is thoroughly unworthy of him.

    The statement also contradicts the ROH’s stated purpose that Arts Council funding “will be used to support networks and initiatives that expand and deepen arts and cultural opportunities for all young people across the region.”

    One might expect senior figures at the ROH to be singing from the same hymn sheet.

    • V.F. says:

      Thank you for mentioning Penderecki’s The Devils of Loudon I “came to” when I was in high school. Frank Zappa also admired the work.

    • Robin says:

      ‘serve to raise the barriers, which is disgraceful.’ Wow! That’s a bit strong for a music director that has done more to widen the appeal of the ROH than anyone could have hoped for in their wildest dreams twenty years ago. I suggest you see Alice’s Adventures Under Ground next time it’s on (as it’s sure to be – ‘modern classic’: the Times) – and look around you at the audience – so many children rapt.

      • Hilary says:

        Not my favourite Gerald Barry opera but I was also struck by the interest of the many children. As an earlier post suggested, the key is to cast the net beyond the usual suspects.

        As a 13yo I was captivated by the Ring Cycle as broadcast in instalments by the BBC and calmly introduced by Humphrey Burton (not the wild breathless enthusiasm of today which can be a turn off).
        Yes, it had the advantage of a very coherent production (Patrice Cherau) but it sowed a seed. I find the Ring a tougher nut to crack now.

        In summary, Pappano’s observations are a little generalised. Education remains a key factor. Education/access is far from evenly distributed in the UK.

  • anon says:

    High culture is not meant for everyone, it takes high education to understand, constant refinement of taste to enjoy, high income to compensate the artists.

    And as the wealthy patriarch in Parasite says, the lower class has a distinct odor, so I’m not sure they are suitable to be seated in an opera house.

  • Karl says:

    “Younger people tend to be restless. We’re asking them to sit sometimes for five hours on end.”

    He does have a point there. Sometimes young children can’t keep still or quiet. Zander asked for a noisy toddler to be removed from Symphony Hall before a Mahler 9th performance a few years ago.

    But I have seen children behave perfectly at times too. I even see many PLAY incredibly well.

  • HAMILTON says:

    I heard my first opera at 9, (66 years ago), attended my first operatic performance at 14. Been a fan ever since. Blanket statements never apply to everyone.

    • Robin says:

      And ‘quotes’ like this should be taken in the context of the track record or the person quoted. Maestro Pappano has done more to make Covent Garden accessible than any single person. Alice’s Adventures/ Hansel & Gretel anyone?

  • sycorax says:

    As I was a kid my family (no, not rich! Both my grandsfathers were craftsmen, the one a shoe maker, the other a carpenter. But both were in music. The shoemaker had the nickname “Hans Sachs” because he was singing, the other played the trumpet and sang rather nicely, too) held eight subscription for the opera and at our table names like Windgassen, Lehmann, Kleiber (sen.) were common.
    I was not even in school as my parents took me first time with in the opera. As far as I remember it was “Hänsel und Gretel”, then followed Magic Flute and Boheme. As I was around 14 I started to go myself – rather spontanously looking up what they would give in the night, going there, buying a (rather cheap) student’s ticket.
    However, as I tried to get my nephews later in the opera, it wasn’t such a success. Although both are musical, although both learned an instrument (the one classical guitar – and he still plays. The other learned trumpet and played in his school’s orchestra) they weren’t too happy about what they got to see. They liked the music, but they hated the regie. I tried twice or thee times again, but always with the same result. They dislike regie theatre – even more as I do,.
    However, by now they listen to opera – from old DVDs. They like the old ROH Boheme, a Schenk Meistersinger from the Met (which I find rather stuffy), the older one even has gotten some DVDs which I find too old and stuffy!
    I’m afraid a lot of young people see the opera by now as something rather strange and often “gaga”, something for the “intellectual elite” or people who want to be seen as such. And once I was invited to “Cats”in Stuttgart – and was kind of shocked how young the audience was! I think in a way these people were a “potential” for the opera – if the opera would serve them digestible productions.
    Last year I saw a wonderful magic flute in Glasgow – and the house was packed and there weren’t only old people! As I went for the second time there (and if I would have been able to make it possible I would have gone a third nd fourth time too. I’m the one who once went times to the Cinema for Bergman’s magic flute) were even more young people. And as I showed some little videos to my nephews, they were delighted and regretted they hadn’t seen it.
    I really don’t believe one must become older for enjoying opera. However, the opera must cater for the young people too – and many of them aren’t keen on Rusalka on a waste dump, Don Giovanni at the bus stop and Wagner with rats.

  • Zelda Macnamara says:

    It’s not helpful to generalise. I saw my first operas when I was 14 (Faust, Don Giovanni, Otello – Scottish Opera in Glasgow) and was hooked from the start. (This was after having been brought up on Gilbert & Sullivan and Russian ballet films). Young people often have an excellent capacity to immerse themselves in things which they find worthy.

  • Brian v says:

    I love orchestral music and chamber music I cannot sit through an opera. It is nothing to do with age it is what you like. But I enjoy lieder especially Kaufman


  • Charles Clark-Maxwell says:

    ===The best sound in this house is where the cheapest seats are.

    Interesting. More than once I saw Bernard Haitink sitting up there for other people’s shows

    • Bruce says:

      I find that’s generally true. Up in the balcony is where the sound has space to come together. Ticket prices seem to be based on how many people can see you, not on what you can hear.

  • Allen says:

    He’s quite right, there are many things that just don’t seem to appeal to younger people. Red wine and whisky also spring to mind. They need time.

    • Ruben Greenberg says:

      Allen: actually, I find that there are more young people at the opera than at concerts (at least here in France) and that they find opera more accessible than concerts because of the appeal of the production (acting, costumes, libretto, etc.) As for red wine…I began at a very early age and still keep in practice!

  • Cubs Fan says:

    I find that as I get older I have less patience for long operas. Even the symphonies of Mahler and Bruckner now seem too long. Puccini operas are just the right length; I don’t care if I ever sit through a Wagner monstrosity again. On the other hand, maybe my decreasing attention span means I’m getting younger!

  • Edward says:

    Wayy to general. There are many operas written specifically for children. I was in the boys chorus of Carmen at 8 years old and that definitely struck a chord with me. Of course parents should have enough sense to not take their 5 year old to Salome or long Wagner. Magic Flute? Sure.

    Children need some exposure and it really is better if it is live rather than online. I grew to appreciate the athletic feats of unamplified singing from formative experiences. A noon hour concert or even just one act of something can be pretty influential for a child age 6-10. I think most youths age 11-17 can manage a 2-3 hour show.

    If youths don’t equate opera to being a viable career path then they won’t bother ever exploring it.

    • John Rook says:

      Of course parents should have enough sense to not take their 5 year old to Salome or long Wagner

      Disagree. I took my then five-year-old to Rosenkavalier and she loved it: fascinated by the music, the costumes and the silly man. Not all small children respond this way but we should certainly give them the chance and not assume it’s all too difficult for them. It’s fairly presumptuous to believe we always know what they’ll like.

  • Joel Lazar says:

    First opera I saw at 8 was “Love for Three Oranges” at the NY City Center. Loved it…but was admittedly hooked on classical music already [late 1940s].

  • Araragi says:

    “Younger people” is awfully vague. Does he mean adolescents? Millennials? Pappano is 65 so younger to him is anywhere between 0 and 64. Doesn’t the genre of opera also matter? An 8 year old would likely be more entertained by Hansel and Gretel than Wozzeck. Many young people may think they don’t like opera because they haven’t been exposed to it (we’ve seen stories on SD about students attending their first opera and being enthralled). There are many reasons younger people may be under-represented in opera audiences. I don’t like generalizations about groups; this one is particularly odious.

    • Robin says:

      The Maestro is (just) sixty – and a very young sixty at that – and this comment is being taken far too seriously by people who obviously have no knowledge of his profound commitment to productions that suit all ages. Did no one on here see Alice’s Adventures Under Ground last month? Or Hansel & Gretel with the divine Jennifer Davis?

    • Bill says:

      He’s 60, not 65.

  • Maayan says:

    Hello my name is Maayan; I am 15 years old, and I live in chicago. As a teenager I love to listen to opera and learn about the history of the different roles. I admire the singers who have roles such as the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute or Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. I am more knowledgeable about the older operas which are not sung in English. I am part of the Youth Opera Council of Lyric Opera Chicago, a renowned opera house. We are a group of teens who try to make opera more accessible for youth, because we love opera and wish to share it with other young people.

  • Bruce says:

    I remember hearing Henry Fogel (a longtime manager of the Chicago Symphony and then a longtime eminence grise of the American orchestral scene) talk about how they once did a survey in Chicago and found out that their audience’s average age was 55. “OMG, our audience is old and they’re all going to die” was the response. This was decades ago — I forget when, but let’s say it was the 1970s.

    They did another survey ~20 years later, and found that the average age of their audience was… 55.

    • Bostin'Symph says:

      Excellent point, Bruce. Yes, it’s all those older people pushing up the average age. They do insist on going out and enjoying themselves!

      In the 90s I took 20 pupils at a time to ROH Schools’ Matinees, and most of them loved the experience. Highlights included a colourful Zauberflöte, an impressive Billy Budd and a Bohème where, knowing there is a long scene-change pause between Acts 1 & 2, the ROH raised the curtain so the kids could see it.

  • Simon Behrman says:

    I share some similar experiences as others above. I was taken to see Joseph Losey’s film of Don Giovanni around the age of 8 and David Hockney’s production of The Magic Flute when I was about 10. I loved both. At around the same age I used to go to bed listening to Mozart piano sonatas. On the other hand, as a teenager I saw Britten’s Death in Venice and was bored to tears.

    Now my kids (6 and 8) can’t get enough of Four Organs, Brandenburg Concerto No.1, Turangalila Symphony and Bolero.

    It depends on the person and on the piece.

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    I remember at the age of seventeen listening to the entire Solti Ring Cycle recording in one sitting (with short breaks obviously). The idea that classical music is for older people says a lot about the state of culture today. This applies not only to music but to all spheres of culture. We are losing serious newspapers, bookshops are struggling to survive, in the process drastically reducing their humanities sections. The interest in anything outside of the most trivial is diminishing by each new generation. In the next hundred years we may not only experience catastrophic climate change, but also cultural barbarism.

  • Clo says:

    This is the first time I find Pappano wrong on anything! The opera has many points in common with children’s books: we often see over-sized, over-simplified heroes and bad characters just like in legends and cartoons! Kids understand opera very well.

    • Allen says:

      Yes, but it’s not what opera is that presents a problem, it is the way that people perceive it. In the UK at least, and I suspect the US as well, it often gets a bad press (if it gets any “press” at all). Opera is not “cool”.

      Many operas are capable of reaching a much wider audience, the issue is how to achieve that when the media and many schools show no interest whatsoever. Full support to those that do though.

  • Mark Desiderio says:

    Young people don’t know shit from shinola.

    • Save the MET says:

      It is all in their education. It can be done right or wrong. Unfortunately it is mostly done wrong today. See my post below.

  • We were all young once. says:

    What is so very sad about his statement is that he is a current and next generation conductor. He is still quite young and his career could advance for years. The youth he holds such contempt for could shun him for his sentiment one day. Did he feel like this when he was a coach at City Opera?

    • Robin says:

      ‘the youth he holds such contempt for’ – where did you get this from? Social media – amongst which comments sections such as these must be counted – do have an awful lot to answer for.

      Would the ROH have put on Alice’s Adventure Underground or Hansel and Gretel under a Music Director who held the young ‘in contempt’?

  • Mezzosaskia says:

    What a pity you think so, Sir Antonio. Probably you haven’t been in Vienna for a long time. There are so many children and young people coming to Musikverein, Konzerthaus and of course to the opera. And – big surprise for you – if you ask them, they love and prefer the last old performances we still have, not the grey-in-grey new crazy things, modern directors bring on stages.
    It’s a question of education to open the door to the world of music. It’s the job for parents and people like you to show our children the opulence of classical music.
    See what for example Sir Thomas Allen does for young people since decades now, or Rolando Villazón who goes to schools and brings classical music to the children. Juan Diego Flórez is very active in his country, in Perú, with programmes for young people bringing classical music to them. Look at Daniel Barenboim – they all are models in what’s to do to inspire and thrill the youth.
    Of course, if you just show to the expensive places behind you and to the first row in the loved, there are mostly people with 50+ who have the money to pay it. But if you look around and behind those places, you will find enough young people who are interested and no, they are not all music-students but the audience from tomorrow.
    It’s up to you to go to schools, to invite young people, to show them that classic music isn’t just for rich and elder people. Take the hands of our youngsters who haven’t interested parents and show them a new world would be better than to repeat all those old stereotypes.

    • sycorax says:

      Amen to that. Don’t complain about lack of interest in the youngsters – just offer them opera and its potential!

  • fflambeau says:

    For many reasons, I completely disagree:

    1) “We’re asking them to sit sometimes for five hours on end. I’m comfortable with classical music, in general, that you come to it later in life.’ ” Sorry, it’s 5 hours for old farts too and they are not in as good a shape as younger people;

    2) Lots of older audience members go only to show off/see jewelry, their clothing, or make deals. Usually, this is not the case with the young people.

    3) the main themes of the opera: love, love lost, redemption, heroism in the face of terrorism, war, lust etc. are completely understandable to the young, in fact to all;

    4) good music and the spectacle of art doesn’t belong to any age group.

    5) All musicians and artists have a duty to encourage the young to be active in art and music. This sends the wrong message.

    • Robin says:

      ‘Lots of older audience members go only to show off/see jewelry, their clothing’ – I wish. You’re more likely to see shorts and flip-flops in Covent Garden these days.

      I would expect all the opera buffs on here to be judging Maestro Pappano on his exemplary track record rather than a single off the cuff – and completely reasonable – comment in a press article.

  • Matt says:

    I wonder how many extra years the regular audience will need to enjoy the new fidelio production.

  • fflambeau says:

    Sorry, but this is a ridiculous generalization.

    What about all the great performers who began young? Placido Domingo at the age of 16 (debut); Maria Callas at the age of 5( public debut at the age of 15); Luciano Pavorati made his professional debut at the age of 26 (public debut much earlier). Renée Fleming appeared in an opera role at the age of 25 (other appearances, much earlier). Kirsten Flagstad made her first recording at the age of 18. Danielle de Niese, soprano, began as a teenager in the Met’s young artist program. Lauritz Melchior made his professional opera debut at the age of 23; he began studying at the Copenhagen Royal Opera at 18. There are many other examples.

    Perhaps the Maestro needs to return to school?

    • Robin says:

      Generalisation? Definitely. Ridiculous? No. I think you are taking a single comment far too seriously.

    • sycorax says:

      Perhaps a visit to the Northeast? Sir Thomas Allen started the Samling founddation and nowadys they have a program called “Samling Academy” where they invite youngsters for summer courses. They do a opera and the results are mosten amazing.
      Besides there are the first Samling pupils who are now professional singer – like the young Rowan Pierce. She’s started at Samling Academy as she was 14 years old, studied at the RCM in London, went to the Samling program for professionals and is now on a very good way.

  • fflambeau says:

    Antonio Pappano conducted his first opera at the age of 28.

    Was he too young, restless, or at his advanced age, has he forgotten all this, and much else?

  • Save the MET says:

    If children are not exposed to the performing arts and their parents do little to stimulate their interest, this is the result. I have a friend who exposed his son, who by the way is also an A+ athlete to opera at a very young age and the kid loves opera. I have cousin who exposed her athletic and straight sons to ballet from a young age and they regularly take dates to the ballet. It is all in the way kids are exposed and how they adapt. If it is viewed as fun and educational, than great.

    By the way, I’ll throw another one at you. I have a neighbor who pushed her two kids into piano. She decided to teach them herself via some program she found on the internet. They were each (there are two) given one piece to practice at a time ad nauseum. No variety, no additional stimulus and did not advance them to the next piece for months, even after the kids mastered the piece and then got sloppy as it no longer challenged them. At this point both kids got bored and quit.

    Point is, there is a right way and a wrong way.

  • fflambeau says:

    A. Pappano must have heard “no” from the Concertgebouw. Any chance he had of moving up is now gone as any new orchestra will find this ridiculous nonsense as undermining outreach.

    • Robin says:

      What are you on about? He’s just signed a new contract with the ROH and is committed to Santa Cecilia for the foreseeable future. I expect everyone reading your comments is beginning to suspect your motives.

  • Nick2 says:

    I totally disagree with Pappano’s point and absolutely agree with there being “a right way and a wrong way” as put forward by Save the MET. I come from a totally non-musical family. I only took piano lessons from the age of 6 because my sister was sent to a piano teacher and I was jealous! She gave up after a year. Because I had a brilliant teacher who made music such fun, I continued.

    As for opera, I first heard Nozze di Figaro on the radio as I entered my teens. I thought it the most beautiful music and asked my parents if they could buy me the LPs for my next birthday – a lot of money for them in those days. Although our city depended on touring opera, I had seen several operas during my teen years, and before I was 20 had made the trip to London to hear one of Solti’s Ring cycles.

    When I left university and started working in London, I joined the Young Friends of Covent Garden (not sure if it still exists). Each year this gave me 12 half price vouchers for seats in the Gods. I used every one.

    What I believe is vitally important is how young children are introduced to opera. Throwing them into a theatre to sit through a work with a complicated storyline is all but a waste of time. Even worse are school parties. Not so long ago I sat through half of an Aida performance with a party of about 40 clearly bored schoolgirls in front of me. Equally clearly, they had been given comp tickets because the theatre was far from full. They had no idea what was going on and so quickly phones came out resulting in all nearby suffering a dreadful experience. And not a teacher or person in authority in sight. I left at the interval.

    Introducing people of any age to opera can certainly be done in interesting and fascinating ways that leave a positive impression in their minds. Expecting most children to swallow an entire evening of an art form/entertainment they know nothing about will of course leave them totally bored rigid.

  • T says:

    My favorite response to say as a mid-level arts administrator “this is why orchestras and opera companies go out of business” which also happens to be the same reason why we can’t pay you more money. How can one be so ignorant as to say an entire art form is unsuitable for children is beyond me. Get over yourself.

    • Robin says:

      I would just like to clarify one point – are you saying ‘Get over yourself’ to Antonio Pappano, one of the greats of the opera world? Someone who has done more than anyone else to introduce young people to opera? Who supports young singers and musicians year-in-year-out (Jette Parker Young Artists anyone)? I think you should a) read the WHOLE article rather than react to the clickbait at the top of this blog and study the career of the person in question before you make a fool of yourself in public – again.

      • T says:

        First, I’m not making a fool of myself nor am I a public figure like Mr. Pappano, who I’m suggesting should be more careful with his words. And IMHO, most conductors need to get over themselves. If you’ve spent any time working in this field, you would know that. Finally, let’s stop with the idol worship. I’m not trying to downplay anyone’s accomplishments, certainly not Mr. Pappano’s, but one should realize that in his careless statement there is an underlying message that he is comfortable with the status quo. (His bank accountant is doing just fine, right?) But his assumption is incorrect and dangerous. Opera matters for all ages and one should not be so dismissive of younger audiences. It’s hard work getting them to come out time and again. Work that matters.