SOME of Scotland’s finest opera singers are set to perform to their most inexperienced audience yet – a theatre full of babies.
Making its Fringe debut, BabyO and SensoryO will bewitch a fresh-faced crowd of nippers – aged from six months to three years – with an ambient collection of opera music performed by a professionally-trained ensemble.
The interactive shows - hosted at Paterson’s Land, a new venue on Holyrood Road - are designed to pique the sensory and rhythmic instincts of infants with relaxing 30-minute acts while also helping hone their language skills.
Composer and creator Rachel Drury said: “Sometimes the babies will sing back because we are using vowel sounds and patterns of music that are easy for babies to replicate.”
And she added: “It’s a peaceful, unique way for babies and toddlers to experience opera, and a very engaging half an hour. Not many of us can say the first time we saw opera was aged six months either!”
Coming to the Fringe in August, BabyO – for toddlers – and SensoryO – which has more audience participation – have already enjoyed sell-out shows from Christchurch in New Zealand to Abu Dhabi.
Emma-Louise Beeson, owner of Baby Sensory Edinburgh Central, welcomed the infant-friendly Fringe option.
She said: “I would think it’s an exciting and different show to take a young child to and would say it’s really refreshing to have something young children are being encouraged to go to in the Fringe.”
Nicole Syme, director of Gymboree Edinburgh, a pre-school activity centre, thinks toddlers and parents will love it. “I think it will be fantastic,” she said. “It doesn’t sound like anything I have heard of before. I know from our classes music and calming songs like lullabies are very engaging and grips the children. You have children who can recite a nursery song sometimes before they can communicate in conversation.”
Alex Reedijk, a director with Scottish Opera, said: “They have been so well received everywhere they’ve gone that we felt sure they would make a great addition to the offering for parents and children at this year’s Fringe.
“I never cease to be amazed by the reaction of the babies and toddlers to our singers’ voices. However restive they are before the show, as soon as it starts silence falls and they are absolutely enthralled.”
The shows run from August 9-26.