As part of its continued digital evolution in the wake of COVID-19, Victorian Opera has adapted an opera for babies and toddlers into an interactive online children’s book: Baby Bilby Sings.
The book takes readers around the world following the adventures of native Australian animal Baby Bilby, as he burrows to different countries and meets extraordinary operatic characters along the way.
Throughout the story, children can hear highlights from some of the world’s best-loved operas, such as Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and Delibes’ Lakmé, performed by Australian artists.
“It has been a wonderfully collaborative process as we realised Baby Bilby Sings as an online book. Victorian Opera’s Costume Supervisor, Mel Serjeant, has shared her talents as an illustrator and created a beautifully immersive world for children to explore,” notes company Education Manager, Ioanna Salmanidis.
The opera on which the book is based was presented in early March and created to introduce babies and toddlers to the joys of the art form.
“Our various education programs highlight how children of all ages can engage with opera; there’s such wonderment at discovering this music in its purest form. Through reading our book, we hope that children across Victoria and far beyond will experience just how special opera can be,” adds Ioanna Salmanidis.
Artistic Director Richard Mills, who composed the refrain heard throughout the book, notes: “Victorian Opera is incredibly agile. Our company has pivoted online swiftly and Baby Bilby Sings is one of many projects and programs we’re offering for our communities to enrich our collective spirit throughout this pandemic.”
Baby Bilby Sings is available to read free online with an option to pay what you feel. Readers can start the adventure via: www.victorianopera.com.au/early-years-program