Composer Misha Dutka's children's opera, "The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge" premiers in Philadelphia this fall
Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge
Nov. 4th at 4pm
Misha Dutka is a a prolific composer whose works have been performed in Delaware, Philadelphia, and New York. His works are tonal paintings that stir the listener regardless of age; his body of work includes several children's operas in addition to his pieces that are intended for a more mature audience.
We were wondering, what compels a composer to write works for children, so we thought we would ask!
Why is it important to have opera written for children?
As the song goes, 'I believe that children are our future,' and nowhere is that truer than in the world of opera. As adults, we write children's books so children will learn to love reading, to love literature, and it should be no different with opera, or any other form of classical music. The opera-lovers of 2040, 2060 and 2080 are five-year-old children right now, and unless we constantly instill in each new generation an appreciation for the joy and wonder of opera, we run the risk of having this magical musical form relegated to a dying art, patronized only by an aging, dwindling clientele.
What was the first live staged show you remember seeing?
The Marriage of Figaro. I must have been five or six, and my parents took me to the City Opera. I liked music, especially Mozart, and I liked plays, and I remember thinking, 'Wow! It's a play with Mozart's music! What a great idea! Who thinks of these things?!'
Did you put on shows of your own as a child? Do any stand out in your memory?
Yes, I put on little skits when I was in Grade School, and when I was in High School, I wrote my first play, which was produced by the drama department.
So many stories written for children have very dark moments or themes. Why do you think that is?
G.K. Chesterton wrote, 'Fairy takes do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.' Children know more than we give them credit for, and when we talk down to them, showing them worlds of love and light, without any hint of darkness, we not only lose their interest, we lose their trust, because they know we're not being honest and genuine with them. We can't appreciate the beauty of the sunlight without the shadows.
What was your favorite story as a child?
Depends on what age. When I was little, I love The Forgotten Door and A Wrinkle in Time. When I got old enough - The Hobbit, and of course, The Lord of The Rings.