Bambino – The First Week

I have had a truly special and humbling week! It was the premiere week for Bambino as part of the Manchester International Festival. We have performed in 12 shows with over 258 babies, their parents and family, and some very special guests. It has been an exciting experience and I can’t stop smiling.

The Whole Cast and Crew
The Cast and Crew

I arrived in Manchester on Monday evening in Scottish Opera’s people carrier along with the team and the wonderful Stuart Semple who had driven us down from Glasgow. We settled into our apartments after being welcomed by the magnificent Manchester International Festival team (MIF). I have been working closely with Angela, Sophie and Tracy and many many wonderful volunteers over this week, all of whom have made the show a huge success.

For the first couple of days, we performed in the centre of Manchester in the Pavilion performance space, in Albert Square. It was wonderful to be performing at the heart of the festival and the vibe of MIF was incredible, hosting great food, drink, and music accompanied by a wonderful atmosphere. If you are in the area during the Festival it is well worth a visit.  It was here that I met Emma and Giuseppe Belli’s sweet and fantastic children. They came to watch the first performances in Manchester, making it extra special.

The babies in each show are very inquisitive and engaged in the performance. There is at time some crying but it rarely lasts for longer than a few moments so perhaps they are just overtaken with emotion 🙂    But as my Mum pointed out, there are a lot more chuckles, laughs, claps and plenty of singing along. Whatever their reaction you can guarantee that every show is individual and very special. And as our director Phelim McDermott said, ‘My hope is that in later years, there’ll be adults who are asked, when they’re at the Opera, what was the first opera you saw? and they’ll be able to say, Well, I was 11 months old when I went to see an opera” and they won’t be pretending when they say that.  It will be absolutely true’.

Drawing By Eva
I was thrilled that Eva Belli ( Aged 4 ) , Emma and Guiseppe Belli’s daughter, drew me this beautiful picture of Bambino.

Sophie, one of our producers, helped organise tickets for two other shows for us to attend in the evening after our daytime performances. I was able to go to Bridgewater Hall to watch the BBC Philharmonic perform ‘The World Was Once All Miracle’, and ‘Available Light’ a dance choreographed by Lucinda Childs at the Palace Theatre. It was a wonderful performance and took me back to my contemporary dancing days at Knutsford High School.

Available Light

After completing our performances in Manchester City Centre we started taking the show to places outside of the city centre such as Wigan and Hyde. These shows are so important and it brings music out to communities and venues that aren’t usually used for these events. Everyone deserves the chance to experience live music and theatre. I hope that this can continue!

In Wigan, I had the wonderful treat of my best friend Ellie and her family, Rory and baby Annabelle, come to watch the show! This made it extra special for me. I’m sure I’ll be visiting them again soon and we can sing the songs together. Ellie said Annabelle was mesmerised and that as well as Annabelle it was Ellie’s first opera too!

I’m having a day off at my family home tomorrow to recharge and then I’m back into a busy week ahead. I can’t wait!  We have performances in Heywood, Oldham, finishing in Salford.

To finish I must admit that it was very exciting to see the production mentioned in interviews for BBC radio and for the BBC Regional News I’ve shared the links in my facebook if you’d like to take a look.


57 thoughts on “Bambino – The First Week

  1. A fantastic idea! Would love to have come though my kids are no longer bambinos!

    I am loving the new look of the site as well. (If it is new – I usually read on the reader!)

    1. We had lots of Dads come to watch the show it was great to see and hear from them afterwards that they enjoyed it.

      I updated the blog a short while ago to fit into my website, my Dad did most of the work on it at the weekends. WordPress were really helpful.

      Best wishes

    1. Thanks Maria, it was quite cute when I went into the supermarket after a show in Oldham to buy some lunch as I was walking back and there was a sea of babies all giggling at me. I was surprised because I was out of costume. An old man stopped me as he was so surprised and asked if I was a baby whisperer 😄, I told him I’d just done an opera for the babies, he was on his way to use the Library in the centre we were in and wished he had a baby so he could come to watch.
      Best wishes

  2. I can only imagine how exciting this was, for all concerned. Babies “get” music. I believe it stimulates their brains and helps them grow. Brava for your contribution to the futures of these wee ones. <3

    1. Lots of these babies really did ‘get’ the music, I had so many parents tell me after they were surprised it held their attention for so long and several surprised that their babies had sat still as since they’d started crawling they usually just wouldn’t.
      Best wishes

  3. Charlotte, you were in Glasgow? I wish I had known. I met you a few years ago in Cup in Glasgow. I was with my sister Cheryl MacNeil who lives in Tasmania. She told me she had been in touch with you recently and sent me the link to your blog. I had read about the Bambino and meant to send you a note asking when you would be in the city. Sorry it looks as if I missed it. Continued success in your endeavours.

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    1. It was a lovely relaxing day thanks Darlene. This week I’m helping out in the office, I’ve got some new music to learn too, sitting enjoying my lunch break and catching up with my blog friends 😊.
      Best wishes

  4. That was exciting and fun time you had. I feel energized long too. I am also wondering what effects the babies who had first hand experiences as such be 5 years or 10 years later.

  5. Have a restful day off with your family and best of luck with the performances this week. I am so pleased it is a success – thanks for the link to the news broadcast xx

  6. Wow, sounds like a wonderful show for all! Congrats! Best of luck with your next shows. You are certainly a busy young lady, Charlotte! Have fun! 🤗😘

  7. I’ve seen the video clips and they look fantastic. What a fabulously new concept, the babies look as though they are loving it! The set looks so relaxing and inviting. Well done for being brave enough to try something so new and different. Have a lovely rest and enjoy. X

  8. Wonderful idea and congratulations for being part of it. By the way, not only BBC but also mentioned on Classic FM, my usual daytime companion.

  9. Dear Charlotte,
    The performance in Bambino has been outstanding. May the Lord continue to bless you and the crew. So great even the babies are being blessed. Out of the mouth of babes God has ordained praise. Enjoy your time off with your family so you can recharge. God bless you real good my beloved friend.

    1. The Centres we were in did a fabulous job promoting the unique baby opera and they admitted they were surprised how popular it was. Thank you.
      Best wishes

  10. Thanks for sharing this beautiful experience with us Charlotte! I love how the babies are involved!! Hope you’ve recharged now and best of luck as you continue to perform! XO, Violet

  11. Babies! What an experience, and good to expose them to music so early. I would have done that with my kids if there’s been an opportunity. We did take them to symphonies and musicals, though. Looking forward to more of your adventures…

  12. Hope you have been keeping those “Artist” credentials every time you perform. My daughters have kept their credentials from their early horse show years – some are beginning to fall apart. The laminated ones from the bigger shows, they’ll probably last forever.

    Sorry I haven’t commented much since your 12 days of Christmas series, knowing you’ve been pursuing your special career. Stay well. 🙂

  13. Kudos Charlotte…. Seems like a great project with a very special “target” so to speak 😉 What an enjoyable experience it should have been for you… Not to mention, the personal gratifications 😀 Hugs & happy weekend

    1. Thank you my friend 😊. I wonder if the ancients entertained small children with the classical arts, in Italy in the summer they have lots of street opera performances and often entire families sit out at night to enjoy them together.
      Best wishes

  14. Dear Charlotte

    I have been following your blog with interest (I’m a Londoner, trying to learn to sing in my 50s!) and so I was delighted to read this lovely review in The Guardian.  You may have seen it by now but if not, it calls you ” (the outstanding, bewitching young soprano Charlotte Hoather)” here’s the link below

    Congratulations and best wishes Lindsay

    | | | | | |


    | | | | BambinO – opera for real beginners By Fiona Maddocks An audience of under-twos is captivated by Scottish Opera’s latest new work – and so is our critic

    1. Thank you Lindsay it was a beautifully written article, thank you for your message 😊. Hope your singing is going well, good luck with your learning it’s a great study and there is always something new to learn.
      Best wishes

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