Finn and Levy Review: Opera Saratoga's HMS Pinafore

operaFinn: 6 years old and Levy: 5 years old wrote this review (with a little help from me...) Here is a synopsis of the opera from the Opera Saratoga website to give you a little background: "For the second year in a row, the masters of operetta, Gilbert & Sullivan, present Opera Saratoga with a story permeated with charm and hilarity. H.M.S. Pinafore revolves around forbidden love and madness. A young woman, Josephine, secretly loves the “common sailor,” Ralph Rackstraw. Unfortunately, under the orders of her father, Captain Corcoran, she is betrothed to the haughty Sir Joseph Porter. Pinafore features humorous antics and comic surprises."

Mom: What did you think the opera was going to be like?

Finn: I didn't know what the opera was before we went. I thought it was just going to be music, and that you would have to make up the story in your head while listening to the music, like Peter in the Wolf. (editor's note: I explained what the opera was about four times before we went)

Levy: I thought the opera was going to be like the Nutcracker Tea with hot cocoa. (ed note: I also explained that there was no hot cocoa at this opera)

Mom: What did you think once we got there and it started?

Finn: It started out really cool, with singers coming in from behind us and walking right down past us to the stage, that was neat.

Levy: Yeah Miss Buttercup walked past us, I think she was late for the show.

Mom: So do you remember what the story was about?

Finn: Well it was about this girl and a boy, and they loved each other and wanted to get married, but they couldn't because the father found out and they put him in the dungeon, and there were pirates...

Mom: They weren't pirates Finn, they were sailors, remember?

Finn: Remember that one with the eye patch? That one was a pirate! (Dick Deadeye: pirate name yes, eye patch yes, but not a pirate)

Levy: The father found out they were going to get married and he put that one sailor into the dungeon. And the girl was sad, but at the end they let him free and they got married and all the sailors were happy.

Who was your favorite character?

Finn: I liked the captains, both of the captains. The big one (Captain Corcoran) and the little one (Sir Joseph Porter). They were both really silly, especially the little one, he was funny. It was funny when he came in he took that lady's book (playbill) out of her hands and signed it like she wanted his autograph. I don't think she knew he was going to do that she looked surprised.

Levy: I wish he took my book. I do want his autograph.

Finn: But he's not really that captain, I wonder if he signed it captain or if he signed it like his real name.

Levy: I liked when the big captain had to help the little captain down the ladder by holding his butt, that was funny. Then he said they're married now in other countries. (something along those lines)

Levy: My favorite person was the girl (Josephine) because she had a pretty dress on and pretty hair. And I liked Miss Buttercup and the sisters and cousins and aunts, there were a lot of them. But they all had pretty hair.

Mom: What else did you like?

Finn and Levy: The pom poms! (The sailors at one point all whipped out cheerleader pom poms as part of their routine, it was hilarious, and they also did a pyramid, very funny)

Levy: I liked when the sailors tricked the captain and put a banana on his fishing pole line and he pulled it up and ate it. I also liked the giant fortune cookie that Miss Buttercup had, but I don't think it was real.

Finn: The sailors were really funny, I liked their dancing. And I liked when they huddled up and made plans to help the one guy get married. They were all friends, it was cool.

There was an intermission in between the two acts, which was perfect timing to stretch our legs, get a little snack and use the restroom. I was half expecting the kids to want to just leave, but they couldn't wait to go back in and see the captains again.

Mom: Would you guys go see the opera again?

Finn: I would. I would want to see a different one. I liked it because it was something new. And I liked being able to read what they were singing, they should always do that. (The opera is in English but there are subtitles above the stage anyway)

Levy: Yeah, just because I liked it, I thought the clothes were really cool. And I liked to be able to see the instrument players in the background and that they were dressed as pirates (ed note: sailors) too. And that one guy that bowed was the captain of the instrument players (conductor). If I was in the opera I would want to be either the girl (Josephine) or the instrument captain person, but I would wear a dress not a pirate costume.

Thank you to Opera Saratoga for a truly incredible family experience. This was the first time the kids have been to the opera, and for it to be such a positive experience the first time will hopefully lead to them wanting to see more. Finn was so excited at the end that he wanted to give everyone a standing ovation! There is only one more chance to see HMS Pinafore this season on Saturday, July 6th. Don't miss the opportunity to take your kiddos to the opera, right here in Saratoga! Click here to purchase tickets and for more info.