Category Archives: creative promotions

Fly on the wall at a ‘dazzling’ Met Opera cast party

New York City’s Metropolitan Opera premiered a new production of Handel’s Giulio Cesare on April 4, 2013, which was celebrated with a pre-opera dinner, followed by a cast party after the performance.

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall at the Metropolitan Opera’s Giulio Cesare gala cast party on opening night!

Well, I’ve got the next best thing, dear readers. Some beautiful photos to share with you from that early April Lincoln Center gala, a sparkling event–literally–thanks to art jewelry designer Gilbert Albert, who sponsored the evening.

Met cast party w/jewelry

Carol Miller (left) is wearing the “nouvelles ecorces” necklace with emeralds. Mezzo-soprano Patricia Bardon, who sang the role of Cornelia, is wearing the Unique “ecorce” necklace with modlavites, freshwater pearls, quartz and diamonds.

Gilbert Albert’s three-story New York boutique recently opened at 43 West 57th Street though the company turns 60 this year. One of their immediate goals was to support the arts in New York City. In an official press statement, Majid Pishyar, Chairman of 32Group, owner of the Gilbert Albert brand said, “Gilbert Albert believes the quest for excellence in opera and all the arts perfectly complements our own goal of producing the finest quality jewelry. It is with great pleasure that we are supporting the Metropolitan Opera’s gala this spring.”

dazzling cast party

Alice Coote (left) is wearing a Gilbert Albert necklace with fulgurite (sand struck by lightning). Sharon Ray, vice president of Gilbert Albert, is wearing the “perle” necklace with azurite stones.

The boutique displays necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings, and pendants that are unique, one-of-a-kind works of art inspired by nature.  Each piece combines gold and precious stones with a variety of natural exotic materials including crystals, meteorites, corals, shells, scarabs and, most inspiring of all, fossilized dinosaur bones. Many of Gilbert Albert’s pieces are adorned with both cabochon and rough cut stones, a contrast that is magnificent and rarely seen in fine jewelry. The pieces also use fulgurites, which are tubes of glass formed by the extraordinary release of energy when lightning strikes the desert sand.

This is not the first time the designer has been involved in the arts; Gilbert Albert and Prima ballerina Nina Ananiashvili together founded the prize “Star” for young ballet dance talents an annual award that has been presented since 2008 at the Rustaveli State Theatre in Tblisi, Goergia.

What could be better following a winner of a new Giulio Cesare, which Forbes Magazine called “sparkling, playful and musically rich,” than a cast party with extra dazzling fine jewelry, courtesy of Gilbert Albert.

Miller and Ziff

Carol Miller (left) and her husband Richard J. Miller, Jr., opera guild president, flank Met Chairman Ann Ziff, who is donning Gilbert Albert earrings.

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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Baroque Opera, creative promotions, North American Opera, opera events, Uncategorized

ENO makes BIG splash with mini comp

If writing for opera sounds like something you’ve always wanted to try, but you never dreamed you’d have a chance to try it, you need to know about English National Opera’s (ENO) new Mini-Opera writing competition.

Somebody’s going to win BIG with something mini, and it might as well be you.

Who should enter this competition? The better question is who shouldn’t enter this competition. No one, that’s who. If you can write, compose, create with film, there are no barriers to trying your hand at writing opera.

But you better get on it–the script-writing portion is already underway.

See, the ENO is seeking the next generation of opera talent–librettists and writers, composers, and filmmakers–and has devised a brilliant way to engage up-and-coming artists.

And if you win the competition, you have a chance to be mentored for a year by some of the  most talented and successful creatives working in opera today: Jeremy Sams, Nico Muhly or Leo Warner.

ENO’s Mini-Operas has three parts:

  • Script Competition (March 26 to May 21)
  • Soundtrack Competition (June 4 to July 23)
  • Filmmaking  Competition (August 6 to September 24)

ENO has made the whole competition timeline available here.

Since every great opera starts with a libretto, that’s where this competition begins.

For starters, some wonderfully inspiring writers — Will Self, A.L. Kennedy and Neil Gaiman — have each generated seed stories. Those interested in entering the script competition must read the seed stories and pick one that inspires them to write a script for a 5-7 minute opera based on that story. In terms of inspiration, anything goes: a single word, title, a mood or even a character name, as the guidelines suggest. All scripts must be in English.

In May, ENO will pick 10 scripts going through to the next round.  Those scripts will become the seeds that people will compose soundtracks for in the next leg of the competition.  Remember that the script will be set to music by someone else and that words can take a lot longer to sing than to read, so “less is definitely more.”

Writers have until May 21 to write their scripts and enter them using ENO’s online form.

For those who might benefit from some extra coaching in the script-writing department, ENO’s  resident author Tamsin Collison has written examples for each story.  They plan to add more expert help to the site before the May 21 deadline, so do check back at the Mini-Operas site for more tips.

What do have to lose? Your mini-opera could be a BIG winner!

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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Classical Arts marketing, Classical Music, Collaborative opera, creative promotions, opera competitions, opera milestones

video trailer for my soon-to-debut opera novel

Life gets busy, doesn’t it? There have been times when friends and acquaintances have done important things professionally–opened a boutique, starred in a show, recorded an album, launched a book, had a gallery show–and I didn’t know about it or find out until months later–if at all. I promised myself that if I was ever in a position to share the kind of news that people might want to hear, I would make a concerted effort to inform them, which is the rationale behind this post.

I’m delighted to announce that my debut novel DON JUAN IN HANKEY, PA will be published by Booktrope Publishing, a Seattle-based firm.

Electronic versions for Kindle, Nook, and from iTunes stores, etc., are expected to be available on November 28, Cyber Monday. I’ll be hosting an online book launch from my website that day. Stay tuned for details and the launch countdown. It should be a blast! Entertainment, prizes, even some singing-celebrity blurbs. Will they be opera singers? Of course, they will. Print copies will be able to be purchased by December 10 at personal events such as readings and signings, at, and at selected bookstores.

So, what’s DON JUAN IN HANKEY, PA about?

My novel adapts both gothic and comic elements of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, recasting them in a contemporary tale to include aria-singing poltergeists, May-December seductions, and murder. The story centers on a down-on-its-luck, dysfunctional opera guild from the fictional Rust Belt town of Hankey, Pennsylvania, that needs to mount a successful season-closer or shut the opera-house doors forever.

As author and reviewer Lenore Hart said of the book:

“It’s one part mystery, one part romance, and seethes with wild jealousies, convoluted mysteries, wry comic turns, resident ghosts, mysterious assailants, bold intrigues, longing, love, and lust.”

Here’s a trailer for the novel (accompanied by music you might recognize):

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Filed under Classic Opera, creative promotions, Don Giovanni, opera and fiction, Uncategorized, Video

COC’s contest entries all dolled up

Cinderella at the COC

The Canadian Opera Company (COC) sponsored a dress design contest to promote their upcoming production of Rossini’s La Cenerentola (opening April 23) called the “Cinderella Outfit Challenge: Send your Doll to the Ball!” The only catch was that the dress had to fit a Barbie doll. 

Entrants were required to submit a photo of their homemade doll costume, inspired by Cinderella, all to win a prize package including four tickets (plus lounge pass and drink tickets) to the opening night La Cenerentola, an overnight stay at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Toronto, a gift basket from Cheese Boutique valued at $200, and a chance to meet the members of the cast after the performance. 

Well, the entries poured in–sixty of them–according to contest organizers.  

The general public can still vote on the entries today, April 6, 2011, at the COC’s Facebook page. The five entries with the most votes will become contest finalists. A panel of celebrity judges, including Jeanne Beker (Host of CTV’s FashionTelevision), Steven Sabados and Chris Hyndman (hosts of Steven & Chris on CBC TV), David McCaffrey (creative director and designer of McCaffrey Haute Couture) and COC General Director Alexander Neef, will select the grand-prize winner from the top five finalists on April 15. 

Here are a few of the Cinderella designs submitted (and as someone who adored her dolls as a kid, I am so jazzed): 

Golden Cinderella


Off To The Ball

Fashionably Late Cinderella

What a fantastic group of entrants! Only 56 more to review. (Glad I’m not a judge!) 

Congratulations to the Canadian Opera Company on a vibrant promotion for your upcoming production of La Cenerentola!

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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Audience participation, creative promotions, North American Opera