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Operavore

An 'Opera Teen' Builds an Internet Fan Base

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Harry Rose, a 15-year-old high school freshman from Westchester County, says he wants to run an opera house when he grows up. For now, however, being a star among opera fans on the Internet will do just fine.

Harry is best known by his Twitter handle, Opera Teen, and his resumé also includes guest critiques for the Huffington Post, reviews for industry sites like Parterre Box, and commentary on his own Tumblr blog. This Saturday, he’ll be on the Operavore show to talk about his favorite operatic experiences. As a preview, we ask Harry about his entry into the world of opera, where audience members are typically four times his age.

First opera-going experience: A double bill of Leoncavallo's Cavalleria Rusticana and Mascagni's Pagliacci at the Metropolitan Opera in April 2009. “Even though I was only 11 at the time, I have two very clear memories of the entire evening: one was Franco Zeffirelli's magnificent production, that’s rumored to be replaced next season. The second was mezzo-soprano Ildikó Komlósi as Santuzza. Her passionate volatile mezzo stole the evening.”

Opera characters he’d invite over for dinner: I’d definitely invite Tosca, who would make for some great conversation. Also, Rusalka, a very interesting and enigmatic character. And Guillot in Massenet’s Manon. His motives are screwy but he’s just a funny, funny character.

Most Despicable opera character: Scarpia from Tosca. “He’s the playground bully of Rome. He’s mean to be mean. That’s why he’s despicable. Same thing with Iago from Otello.”

Challenges of being a teenage opera fan: The costs. Harry is too young to take advantage of student discounts at the Met. He recalls attending an opera at La Scala in Milan three years ago (age 11) and paying 110 euros to sit in the nosebleed seats.

What he’s looking forward to: Komlósi as the nurse in Die Frau ohne Schatten (The Woman without a Shadow) at the Metropolitan Opera in November. “Komlósi has mostly focused her career in Europe so an appearance here is a treat.”

Fodder for great Twitter conversation: Dream casting operas with favorite singers.