Children in Opera

Andrew Thomas SUTHERLAND

Research output: Book/ReportBook or reportpeer-review


This book provides a musicological investigation into operas that include children. Just over 100 works have been selected here for an in-depth discussion of the composer, the children, and the productions, and around 250 relevant works from around the world are also referenced. Four composers to have most significantly proliferated the medium are discussed in even greater detail: César Cui, Benjamin Britten, Gian Carlo Menotti, and Peter Maxwell Davies. Since opera began, it has been inextricably linked to society, by reflecting and shaping our culture through music and narrative, and, as a result, children have been involved. Despite the contribution they played, for several centuries, their importance was overlooked. By tracing the development of children’s participation in opera, this book uncovers the changing attitudes of composers towards them, and how this was reflected in the wider society. From the early productions of the seventeenth century, to those of the twenty-first century, the operatic children’s role has undergone a fundamental change. It almost seems that contemporary composers of operas view the inclusion of children in some way as ubiquitous. The rise of the children’s opera chorus and the explosion of children’s-only productions attest to the changing view of the value they can bring to the art. Some of the children to have characterised these roles are discussed in this book in order to redress the disproportionate lack of acknowledgement they often received for their performances.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Number of pages406
ISBN (Print)1527561666, 9781527561663
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2020


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