Memory Boy the opera is based on the novel by Will Weaver of the same name. It’s a post-apocalyptic story set in Minnesota. Post-apocalyptic novels are kind of a guilty pleasure for me. My 10-year-old daughter, who is my usual date for these kind of things doesn’t share that interest with me, so I decided to take my 6-year-old. He’s not as seasoned with theater as his sister, but he is drawn to more adventurous stories.
Memory boy is billed as an “opera for kids of all ages,” and he was not the only younger child there, but it would have been a better fit for the 10-year-old. Even though it was only an hour and sung in English, it was difficult for him to sit through it and difficult for him to remember he couldn’t talk in his regular voice. Although this is an excellent starter opera, I would still recommend it for slightly older than kindergarten. Probably 8 and up.As for me, I loved it and want to read the book now. The story is set in Minnesota a couple years after several volcanoes left the world covered with a volcanic haze that blocks the sun making food scarce. Young Miles Newell and his family choose to leave the Twin Cities on a homemade pedal car to seek their vacation home near Bemidji.
The opera is this weekend only and tickets are no longer available online.
Memory Boy is a production of Project Opera, the Minnesota Opera‘s Youth Training Program. The performers and the orchestra were local teens. Interestingly, last year they performed The Giver by Lois Lowry, which we are reading right now. Project Opera is for kids in grades 4-12. Besides their annual opera performance, they also serve as the children’s chorus in main stage operas.
The Book Memory Boy, is recommended for Ages 12+. We haven’t read it yet, so I can’t give a personal recommendation. However, The Giver, is also recommended for Ages 12+, but I’m reading it with my 10-year-old, and she is enjoying it and understanding most of it. Some of it gives us things to discuss.
I would recommend Project Opera performances for any child who has demonstrated the ability to sit through an hour-long performance or service. It was very accessible.