Scoring an opera hit with babies

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Sophisticated infants in Wigan can ditch nursery rhymes and lullabies and savour a pioneering opera crafted especially for babies.

Toddlers won’t be expected to sit still for strictly adult fare like La Traviata or Madame Butterfly, when BambinO hits The Edge on July 6 and 7.

The audience of ankle-biters will be encouraged to crawl around the auditorium and coo while singers are in full flight at the former Pier Centre.

Scottish Opera’s Lliam Paterson, who composed the score, said: “It is so exciting to create a colourful and vibrant work that can engage both babies and adults fully, while conveying the drama and passion of opera.”

Part of the Manchester International Festival (MIF), BambinO receives its world premiere at the city’s Pavilion Theatre the day before, with director Phelim McDermott having six to 18-month-olds in mind. She said: “We all know babies respond to music and we want to nurture and stimulate that relationship through their very first opera.”

Using a colourful set, fashioned by husband and wife designers Guiseppe and Emma Bellis, the production features singers Charlotte Hoather and Timothy Connor, cellist Laura Sergeant and percussionist Stuart Semple.

John McGrath, MIF artistic director, added: “We are pleased to support Phelim, Lliam and Scottish Opera to make work that encourages babies – and their parents - to engage with what is often considered a difficult form – opera – at an age when they are open to everything new.”