Opera for babies on bill

A recent performance of Baby O in Scotland. Photo by Drew Farrell.
A recent performance of Baby O in Scotland. Photo by Drew Farrell.
Even opera-loving babies in Wanaka and Queenstown will be catered for at this year's Festival of Colour.

The programme for the festival that runs from April 16 to 21 was released in Wanaka yesterday.

It includes familiar names such as Michael Houstoun, Don McGlashan, Julia Deans and Emily Perkins.

But it also includes the Scottish Opera Company with its Baby O show for 6 to 18-month-old children.

Festival director Philip Tremewan has seen the opera in Scotland and Christchurch.

''The babies are just totally rapt. They follow the music, they follow the sound and they follow the actions with their eyes and their ears.''

The 35-minute opera was composed by Rachel Drury, who Tremewan says is both a musician and an expert on child development.

''She's keyed in the right sounds, the right words ... and then there's the imagery - Buzzy Bees, washing going on the line, all this sort of stuff.

''So it's perfect for little kids.''

Tremewan, who is also director of the Christchurch Arts Festival, has been involved with Festival of Colour since its inception and said he was always looking for new material.

He considers one of the highlights this year will be a performance of Mike Oldfield's 1973 Tubular Bells LP.

The record was originally produced in a studio using about a dozen different instruments.

The festival show has two Australian musicians - Daniel Holdsworth and Aidan Roberts - frantically playing all the instruments live.

There will also be a premiere performance by pianist Michael Houstoun and soprano Jenny Wollerman, of songs from the past 200 years.