The Sofia Opera and Ballet's programme for the youngest "Concerts for Babies" turns 9 years old. It was the idea of Acad. Plamen Kartaloff and with the admirable skills of the director Yulia Krasteva, one of the most impressive initiatives for the inclusion of the youngest audience in art has been created. The first performance was on 18 January 2014.
Yulia Krasteva talks about the preparation and work involved in the "Concerts for Babies" programme:
Preparations for the programme began in December 2013, but the idea has been around for a little while. "Concerts for Babies" marks the first encounter of the youngest audience members with classical music. They are told about the seasons, little hands and their fingers, about the beneficial qualities of vegetables and fruits, about the different instruments – violin, piano, flute, oboe, clarinet, percussion. All this happens with the magic of children's songs by our and foreign composers, parts of classical arias and duets, ensembles. The aim is to keep children in constant contact with classical music. These are some of the most energizing performances, filled with lots of emotions and unpredictable reactions from the children. The goal of "Concerts for Babies" is to get children exposed to classical music from a young age. And indeed, over time we see the results. Before our very eyes, the grown-up babies head to the Chamber Hall and many times call out – "We are from the first babies, now grown up".
In the project take part the youngest artists of the theatre. At the moment these are: Anna Vutova, Georgi Dzhanov, Kalin Dushkov, Alexandra Nosikova, Rada Toteva, Maria Nosikova, Hristina Stoyanova, Kristina Dimitrova, Laura Ilieva.
More than 450 performances have been played so far.
More than 35 000 children have attended "Concerts for Babies".
They find it very difficult to leave after each spectacle. They don't want to part with the stage, with the artists. This is the biggest reward for us – the bright eyes of the children, the smiles on their faces, the "grumpy" ones who don't want to leave the hall...
Over the years, the feedback has been direct. There are visitors who are subscribed and come almost every week. When they get a little older, the kids have favourite artists and come for them in the different titles – now in the bigger spectacles. They call themselves – "from the grown-up babies", "from the pillows"... We have a notebook on the wardrobe where impressions are written after each performance.
The concerts have become a favourite for the children over the years. The last three seasons we have also come out to the Park of the Academy of Defence, so our children's audience can be with their favourite artists during the summer. The concerts are evolving in terms of repertoire. We are constantly striving to have new things. Over the years, we have favourite songs that are sung by parents and grown children alike. Only here do we allow them to record a favourite song and after a while, when to the next performance come the children between the ages of two or three, they sing along with their favourite soloist. Very often there are cases when a child does not come off the stage during the whole performance. The contact is very immediate, the trust and warmth is mutual.
And in the new year we will have surprises for our youngest audience with new songs, arias, ensembles. We are always available to organize and celebrate birthdays and other happy events. This was announced by the press centre of the Sofia Opera and Ballet.