An 'Opera Teen' Builds an Internet Fan Base

AUDIO: Harry Rose on how he became a 'Superoperavore'

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 12:34 PM

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.

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Comments [4]

Bo from Long Island

Have spotted Opera Teen, Harry Rose at my daughter, Kim Feltkamp's performance at Vassar with Carol Castel's opera program. He is a regular on the OperaRox live videostream and has an extensive knowledge of opera! It is wonderful to see the younger generation discovering the amazing world of opera. Go Harry!

Apr. 25 2013 11:32 AM
Christopher Hosford from Riverdale, NY

Very good comments, and good job Harry! I'll never forget my own first opera, at the age of 15 (Otello). If the Internet existed then, maybe I could have been the first Opera Teen myself! Keep it up, Harry.

Apr. 24 2013 02:59 PM
Marianna @OperaAbecedaria from Manhattan

Bravo @OperaTeen! We follow you lovingly with a touch of envy on the side. Go to it kid.

Apr. 23 2013 04:12 PM
Richard from Memphis,tn

I've been a twitter follower of Operteen for a while. Nice to know what he looks like. Don't tell him I sat in the nosebleed seats at La Scala for 26 euros.

Apr. 23 2013 03:55 PM

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Operavore is WQXR's digital 24/7 audio stream, blog and weekly radio show devoted to Opera. The Operavore blog features breaking news, expert commentary and reviews by writers Fred Plotkin, David Patrick Stearns and Amanda Angel. The stream features a continuous, carefully programmed mix of classic and contemporary opera recordings. The Operavore radio show on WQXR, features opera news bulletins from the around the globe, previews of new recordings, and interviews with the players and personalities on the scene.

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