wings and things

Boom, crash, opera!

on November 14, 2012

I bought a CD for Anthony one Christmas and we played it loudly. It was opera and it was Ming’s first exposure to any music other than ‘The Wiggles’. He was four and a half.

From the time he heard that CD, Ming sang operatically all over the house. This lasted for about six months. Instead of saying all of his new words, he’d warble them. “Where’s teddyyyyyy?”; “Gimmeeeee gingereeeeeeella [ginger ale] – please Mummyyyyyyyy daaaaaaarliiiing” – were sung so powerfully that I was afraid the windows would shatter.

At pre-school he did the same. With no self-consciousness whatsoever, he’d trill, “I want red tractoooooor”; or “I havta blow my noooooooose.” Everything was sung, so much so that he became somewhat famous for his operatic voice. The other kids would say, “Sing opera, Ming” and he’d sing his little repertoire, grinning when everyone clapped.

Then he started singing an octave lower. When he was being a wolf, his growl would become a surprisingly deep warble. When he was playing cars, his ‘vrooming’ would transform into a thunderous baritone. The first time I heard this, I rushed into his bedroom, thinking he was having some sort of strange fit.

But, as suddenly as it started, the opera-singing stopped – bang. A friend I hadn’t seen for ages dropped in and, over coffee, mentioned she’d been taking opera lessons. I said, proudly, “Ming does opera – he’s amazing.”

She looked doubtful, but I introduced them to each other anyway, telling Ming that Ann was an opera singer.

“Your mother tells me you sing opera,” she boomed. (She was quite a large, boisterous woman). “Sing,” she commanded.

Ming looked at me, then looked at her, then looked at me again. He opened his mouth, then closed it on a croak.

“Do you want me to sing for you, then?” she asked Ming and he nodded shyly, but he didn’t look one bit keen. He climbed onto my lap for reassurance.

For the next five minutes, her enormous voice filled the house. The volume was alarming in its intensity. Ming clutched my hand, eyes wide with shock, and I felt my own pulse quicken with amazement.

After she left, Anthony came in from the dairy and said, “Why did you and your friend have that CD turned up so loudly? We could hear it over in the shed.”

I explained and he roared with laughter. “Where’s Ming?” he asked.

“He’s being a tiger in his room, I think,” I said.

“Are you sure? It’s so quiet.”

We both went and had a peek. Ming had his plastic tiger mask on and was snarling at an imaginary foe outside the window. The snarls were not musical; in fact, they were more like mimes.

He turned around and saw us, then whispered, very seriously, “I don’t do opwa anymore.

Ming didn’t sing a note for days! It was a BeeGees special on TV that finally broke the silence, and we got our little singer back. He still does that falsetto thing marvelously!

55 responses to “Boom, crash, opera!

  1. That must have been scary!

  2. magzmama says:

    Please tell me you videotaped him singing opera!!

  3. FringeGirl says:

    Oh, my. How funny. That is perfectly adorable story!

  4. that would scare me silent for a while too

  5. elizabeth says:

    Aww, how sad that he stopped. But I think that lady’s singing would scary the living daylights outta any kid in such close range. And Anthony heard it all the way in the barn and thought it was a CD! 🙂

  6. adinparadise says:

    Thanks for the laughs. I also find opera quite scary . 🙂

  7. i do love how you write about Mings childhood and get the childlike voie dow in writing. Brilliant.
    Brenda in the Boro

  8. annotating60 says:

    Great story. The way you told it was like watching it on television–though television is usually not that good.>KB

  9. pixilated2 says:

    Love your Ming stories! You make wish I’d had kids. ~ Lynda

  10. Such talent in one family. Does he sing now?

  11. Now this made me think of little Leo who has a habit of saying “hello everybody” in a loud voice when he arrives anywhere and he will say “goodbye everybody” when he leaves also in a loud voice he likes everyone to hear him………..

    If the lady sang that loud she could be heard in the barn then it would be scary for a kid so it is surprising that little Ming didn’t yell at her to stop………..Little Leo would have done…….

  12. terry1954 says:

    that was a cute story Julie!!!

  13. Ming sounds like a talented soul. To assimilate opera in that way: that’s special. Shame the opera singer didn’t read the signs of his anxiety.

  14. neve16 says:

    I think Ming might have been singing to the peahens and that’s why the have flown the coup 😉

  15. victoriaaphotography says:

    Every time you tell us a ‘Ming’ story, I can picture him doing/saying/acting. It’s almost like having a toddler of my own. LOL.

  16. tersiaburger says:

    What beautiful memories you have!

  17. viveka says:

    So funny …. and adorable – glad that little opera singer – has become a big opera singer too – that he can take the tune still, even if not clear.
    I was always singing as a child and teen too – poor my grandma’s neighbors, singing outside everyday – but they said they liked it. Had a okay voice I think because I was in the school choir. Now my friends frighten grandkids … if they don’t behave I will sing for them. *smile

  18. opera always scares me a bit too! 😉

  19. Oh, that is wonderfully hilarious!

  20. dcwisdom says:

    I LOVE it when little kids do things like sing with no inhibitions! Especially opera! What a hoot! Great story, Julie! I think it’s my favorite story you’ve written. 🙂

  21. Ah ah ah ah, staying alive, staying alive! Thanks to the Bee Gees, Ming got his voice back. What a funny story! Does your son remember it?

  22. TBM says:

    I can’t sing at all so I’m jealous he sang opera, albeit briefly.

  23. hotlyspiced says:

    Ming sounds so talented. How lovely to have him singing around the house. I’m a Bee Gees fan too xx

  24. It is great to think back to the times of when our children were little. 🙂

  25. Charming charming Ming story. You do this so well Jules! ~

  26. eof737 says:

    Thank God he got his voice back… that would intimidate even the boldest among us. Phew!

  27. Andrea Kelly says:

    Oh my gosh, that is way too adorable!

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