I'm interested in learning about opera. That means my kids are, too. Well, maybe not interested, but it means I collect kids' opera materials and strew them about my house (thats the reason its such a mess). Opera has historical, story-telling, and EQ value.
I've previously mentioned my love of the Classical Kids CDs. Many in the series focus on composers of symphonies, though a couple touch on operas, like Mozart's Magic Flute, which has two CDs to its credit. Though, Mozart's Magic Fantasy, follows the story of the opera more so than Mozart's Magnificent Voyage, which includes more historical background of Mozart's life. Robbo over at the Butcher's shop shared his thoughts about Mozart's Magic Fantasy and its relationship to the original opera.
We also have World's Very Best Opera for Kids, which I've enjoyed. We don't listen to it much, though. For those who may feel thats a dumbed down version for kiddies, I will simply note that I decided to take a pass on the Beethoven's Wig series. That and I'm dealing with a husband who whenever he hears Largo Al Factotum from the Barber of Seville asks me if it makes me think of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. Small steps over here at the unclimber basecamp.
We've looked at a number of picture books for kids that tell the stories of famous operas. I can't say my kids have shown much interest, but I like to have them around. I picked up a beautiful book, At the Opera, for what seemed like a bargain from Daedalus books ($10), but, alas, its sold out now.
Other books we've looked at from the library:
The Barefoot Book of Stories from the Opera
The Random House Book of Opera Stories
Sing Me a Story
If opera doesn't float your boat, several of those publisher's put out similar books of ballet stories (Barefoot books, Random House, Dance Me a Story). Speaking of ballet stories, we like DK's book and CD set.