BambinO is a pioneering opera that reinvents operatic language and traditions for infants aged 6 to 18 months. Produced by the Scottish Opera the opera is currently presented at Centquatre in Paris, until April 20, before performing at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House.
The 40-minute “opera” was created by British director Phelim McDermott who has directed at opera houses around the world and set on music by Lliam Paterson. It is a celebration of the possibilities of music and the power of the infant imagination.
BambinO follows a bird, called Uccellina, who discovers an egg. The egg grows to a magical size. It hatches, revealing a baby bird, called Pulcino, who takes Uccellina for his mother. He explores the world. Uccellina is initially overjoyed, though passingly annoyed at his hyperactive behaviour! The pair reconcile quickly, elated to have found each other.
Uccellina tells Pulcino of the sky and its wonders, and that it is his destiny to fly the nest. Although saddened at the thought of being separated, they are soon caught up in the excitement of his imminent flight. Ready to take to the skies, the birds sing a final duet of farewell. Pulcino takes flight and soars among the clouds, and Uccellina ponders his journey.
During the performance, babies are free to interact with singers, musicians and each other. The youngsters watching the performance have reacted in varying ways, according to McDermott, from some being “really engrossed” to others who are “terribly moved and cry”.