How can you go to London and miss amazing Shakespeare at the Globe theatre? Family travel means taking advantage of every fun educational moment and this place thrilled our souls! We were not really suppose to take pictures during this stupendous performance of King Lear, but I just couldn't help myself. We were so close, we felt like we were part of the play!
Mozart loves Shakespeare and opera and has been seeing both regularly since she was 18 months old. I know that seems odd, but she actually asked for opera at a year old and had an uncanny interest. We'd long loved Shakespeare and all theater, but neither DaVinci or I knew anything about opera. At first I thought she just loved the word opera, but it soon become apparent that our baby actually loved opera. ( We only had one opera CD that I bought when pregnant because somewhere I read it was good for babies to hear the languages, so I occasionally played it).
Her interest was so strong that I bought a new classical instrumental cassette for the car of opera tunes and the day I first played it ( when she was around a year old), she kept saying "Papageno". I had no idea what she was talking about. Remember this cassette was an instrumental, but sure enough, it had the song "Papageno" on it (which took me some time to realize). I was distracted and confused about why she kept saying that for the next week whenever that was played at home or in the car.
Somehow I eventually figured out that it was a fairly well known opera song by Mozart, I think I looked it up on the internet or something. Then I was really puzzled, but eventually decided to take her to an adult opera at 18 months. She always had a real affinity for and unusual connection to music and was absolutely mesmerized by her first "family symphony" at 9 months by the wonderful Cabrillo summer festival.
She actually got her nickname "Mozart" when she was 5 months old and stood on her own in the middle of baby MusicTogether class and clapped in time to the music. ( She was the youngest, had been crawling all over from 4 months and none of the other babies were moving or even sitting up yet, so the other mothers started calling her that for her unusual abilities). Kid's all have their own unique paths and Mozart just seemed in a hurry in many ways and on her own path ( walking and talking at 6 months!).
The Cabrillo Festival had an opera the summer that she was 18 months old, so I thought it was my chance to follow her lead and see if she really was interested in opera or if I was imagining things. I am a strong believer in following a child's lead, but this was unusual even for me and I think they thought I was a little nuts at the ticket counter. I explained to her before going that it was an adult venue and if she made any noise or wanted to move around that she would have to leave immediately. (I was also encouraged by our family Pediatrician MD who said that she was developmently like an 18 month old at 9months and that I should always follow her development and not her age.)
She absolutely loved it! I had expected to only stay a few moments, but we stayed the whole first act. She wanted to stay longer, but I didn't want to push our good luck. So that is how she started going to opera and then Shakespeare at such an early age. She adored them & behaved, so we kept going even though she was the only child in the audience and most people there were old enough to be my parents.Upon a friends advice, I even bought her a bunch of opera videos from the Met in NYC which she relished like most kids her age loved Barney.
She was and is an extremely active child, so you can imagine what my seat mates thought when I sat down with her at a very expensive performance. They looked horrified! She needs to move, so I always let her move as much as she needed before lights out and that really made them nervous. But time after time, they were always amazed at how intense she was about watching the shows and were always stunned and profusely complimentary at the intermission and after the show.
I think she was better at two in some ways than she is today, perhaps because it was all still so new to her. We often went to smaller venues, so she would luck out and get held by "Carmen", "Madame Butterfly" or "Hansel and Gretel" after the performances and we usually got front row seats. She doesn't have the same passion for opera that she did as a toddler, but she still loves opera and Shakespeare and performances of all kinds.Thus with this background, you can understand why King Lear at the Globe was particularly exciting to us. (We're really looking forward to seeing more this year in Vienna and Budapest.)
This wonderful theatre is a faithful reconstruction of the open air, thatched roof, theatre-in-the-round like the original, performing the plays exactly as it would have been in 1599 and as Shakespeare intended them ( without amplification). Tickets are usually sold out months in advance in the summer high season. Not only did we get in, but we were right up front and it was absolutely FREE! Just the kind of travel scoop I love.
It was one of those serendipity moments in travel. We arrived a few moments late and were told there was no chance even for "groundling" tickets ( standing near the stage like peasants use to do). But a positive thinker like me never says die, so as we got our bearings and as I was thinking about plan B, it began to rain. I saw three people start to leave and boldly asked them if we could have their tickets. ( I had read this was an appropriate thing to do). They were gracious enough to do that and we were in like Flynn!
We did get a few sprinkles on us,( which was actually perfect as it aligned with the storm in the play) but we were dressed for it ( after all it was London...summer high season or not) and soon miraculously the sun peaked through. We don't get to see as much theater or performances on the road as we did at home, so this was a highlight for us, along with all the theater that we saw in England.
I'll write more about this stunning experience and have more pictures, but wanted to at least share this much. I didn't know I was going to give the whole backstory, but sometimes things don't make full sense without it. ( Ha! These Family Travel Photos are not suppose to be wordy, but rule breaker and stream of consciousness kind of personality that I am, we must allow exceptions).
The artistic director of the globe was the magnificent director and lead actor David Calder was stunning and these reviews will give you some idea about our extreme fortune to experience this. Just look at that theatre....that alone was a rare treat, then afterward we went and explored the Tate Modern. Talk about a fun, educational day that we will never forget!
How have musical or theater performances enhanced your travel? We love catching gems everywhere and I can not imagine visiting London without partaking in the wonderful theatre.