Infant Opera BabyO is 30 minutes of melody, rhythm and harmony
Scottish Opera’s latest project is aimed at babies aged just 6-18 months
You’re never too young to enjoy a six-part harmony. That’s the theory behind Scottish Opera’s latest project, BabyO. Performed by three operatic singers, a bass, soprano and mezzo soprano, the show is aimed at babies aged just 6-18 months. Yet despite the singers getting very close to their sensitive young audience, so far not a tear has been shed.
‘There has honestly been no crying,’ says singer Alan McKenzie. ‘Sometimes they arrive a bit grumbly if they need a nap, but once they come in they’re completely fascinated by it. It really is amazing.’
Written by Rachel Drury, who has studied the musical development of children, BabyO is 30 minutes of melody, rhythm and harmony, all created by voice alone. ‘It’s really clever,’ says McKenzie. ‘We perform with a recorded backing track of us singing, using repeated musical patterns and themes. It’s set in a park, so we have little duck and bee puppets that we use to interact with the babies, and a lot of the sounds we sing mirror what we’re doing, so it all goes together.’
Included in the ticket price is a CD of the show, so parents and children can enjoy the music all over again at home, although, unless McKenzie’s family is willing to loan him out, not everything can be replicated.
‘Because many babies spend a lot of time with their mothers, they’re used to hearing a woman’s voice,’ says McKenzie. ‘And I’m a bass, which is the lowest voice you can get – so when I’m singing bottom Cs and Ds up close to them, the audience can actually feel the sound resonating as well as hear it.’
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Tue 16 & Wed 17 Nov