The Musician: A Horror Opera for Children


OPERA REVIEW


The Musician: A Horror Opera for Children

as part of the Belfast Children’s Festival


"Would I let a child watch it?"




If I buy four tyres, an engine, lots of bodywork and some electric wires, then connect it all together with some other parts, do I end up with a car? And, if so, is it a good car that matches up to the high expectations I aimed for at the start of the process? Here lies my problem.


[Sarah Richmond as The Boy]


The Musician: A Horror Opera for Children has 16 musicians, a conductor, original music and lyrics, four singers, one dancer and an imaginative design with a backdrop for projections, plus a story as old as the hills - does it make an opera? And, if so, is it a good opera that matches up to the high expectations it aimed for at the start of the process? I am not so sure. All the components are there but the whole entity somehow lacks, in my view, cohesion and flair.


[Paul Carey Jones as The Musician]


There is much to like in this production - but would I let a child watch it? Probably not a child that is new to opera. Its slow start, ominous tones, dark characters and brash score would make a difficult introduction to the genre. The whole tone was surprisingly ‘adult’ considering, at its heart, it is simply a modern re-telling of The Pied Piper of Hamelin. All this even though the musicians were wonderful, the performers were brilliant and the design was vibrant.


[Matthew Cavan as The Traveller and Rebecca Murphy as The Vile Little Girl]


Or, maybe, it’s just me. But I wasn’t gripped and I am renowned for my childlike approach to the world…


[Maeve McGreevy as The Mouse]


Filmed in Belfast’s Lyric Theatre and closing this year’s Belfast Children’s Festival, this was just one show in a packed programme of theatre, music, dance and workshops for children of all ages - this year, of course, all events were online.







Photography Neil Harrison

Producers The Belfast Ensemble and Young at Art as part of the Belfast Children’s Festival

Supported by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Culture Island and Belfast City Council

Performers Paul Carey Jones, Matthew Cavan, Rebecca Murphy, Sarah Richmond and

Maeve McGreevy

Director/Designer Conor Mitchell

Conductor Tom Brady

Running Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Ages 6+

Twitter @belfastensemble, @Young_at_Art


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