Tag Archives: Miss Mussel

my favorite #operaplots: a 21-plot salute!

Last week, Twitter was more fun than a barrel of baritones because of the 2011 #Operaplot Contest organized by “The Omniscient Mussel.” Each day of the contest, I savored reading all the opera plots appearing in my Twitter feed, noting my favorites, promising to revisit them after Miss Mussel posted her first comprehensive list of plots.

When The List emerged yesterday evening, I trawled through the entire thing like a kid on Christmas morning tearing the wrapping off gifts, reliving some of my favorite plotting moments last week while experiencing new levels of merriment caused by plots I hadn’t yet seen.

Originally, I was just going to select 10 favorites and post them on this blog. Well, that proved impossible! Thankfully, I can select nearly as many plots as I like, which in this case turned out to be 21 (though I was trying to limit the list to 20, so when I liked more than plot from a single plotter, which often happened, I limited my selection to only one plot per user.)

Congratulations to these talented plotters and best of luck in the overall contest judged by Eric Owens. Winners are expected to be announced on Wednesday. And I’m sorry I couldn’t recognize everyone that I liked. I really enjoyed so many of them, and appreciated everyone’s contributions to #operaplot.

Acis and Galatea
Low on a plain sang lonely sheep-herd. Layee odl layee odl layee odl oh. Skull crushing rock his girlfriends giant heard. Layee…#operaplot — Tim Regan (@Dumbledad)

Attila
Now who’s that super foxy slave girl, gonna kill the King of the Huns with his own sword? ODABELLA! Your daaaaaamn right. #operaplot — Daniel John Kelley (@funwithiago)

Don Giovanni
Guess who’s coming to dinner… #operaplot — Adam Rothbarth (@foundsound)

Götterdämmerung
Look, Wotan, the bottom line is it’s not the end of the world if you…oh, wait, scratch that. #operaplot — @SamNeuman (Sam Neuman)

Hansel und Gretel
Cannibalistic old lady lures welfare kids with promise of junkfood. Years of advice concerning strangers with candy confirmed. #Operaplot — Bryan DeSilva (@countertenorbry)

Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Count A. in Seville: unlocked the ‘Rosina’ badge. #operaplot — Matthew Guerrieri (@sohothedog)

Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria
Ten years, he doesn’t call, he doesn’t write, then this guy who shows up and kills all my boyfriends is him? I don’t believe it. #operaplot — @bachtrack

Il Tabarro
Is that a tenor under your tabarro, or are you just happy to see me? #operaplot — Claudia Friedlander (VoiceTeacherNYC)

La Bohème
Oooh, I’m such a sensitive, poetic, bohemian tortured soul…but I can’t see a dying girlfriend when she’s staring me in the face. #operaplot — Catrin Woodruff (@catrinwoodruff)

La Fanciulla del West
In a cabin in a canyon selling liquor for a dime sits a bible toting schoolma’am and her bandit quitting crime #operaplot — John Gilks (@johngilks)

L’Elisir d’Amore & Tristan und Isolde
Dear Tristan, You’re an idiot. My love potion worked just fine. – Nemorino #operaplot — Eleni Hagen (@EleniH83)

Madama Butterfly
Breaking News: Geisha girl, mother of one, stabs self after recording first episode of new radio show: His American Wife #operaplot —Patty Mitchell (@Pattyoboe)

Nixon in China
Crooked American goes to the Orient with his wife. No, this is at the beginning of the opera! #operaplot — London Opera Meetup (@LondonOperaMeet)

Norma
Her name was Norma. She was a priestess, with a secret Roman lover and two kids kept undercover. Don’t fall in love. #operaplot — Amanda Watson @amndw2)

Ring Cycle
Hello and welcome with Wagner’s Wonder Tour’s!! We’ll take you from Rhinemaidens to Utter destruction in just 15 hours… #operaplot — Rhian Hutchings (@rhchhutch)

Susannah
Oh Susanna, don’t you cry for me, I’m a man of God who loves your bod, in New Hope Tennessee. #operaplot — Ralph Graves @RalphGraves

Tales of Hoffmann
Dude, you hooked me up with a robot, a hooker, and a hypochondriac?! That’s the last time you’re my wingman. #operaplot — Brendan (@indybrendan)

Tosca
A hectic concert schedule and a dangerous police chief keep this diva on the go. She’s parapetetic. — Rachel Alex Antman (@Verbiagent)

Tosca
“We had a jumper. No time to talk her down.” — Police captain following area woman’s suicide. “Can’t prosecute for murder now.” #operaplot — Marc Geelhoed (@marcgeelhoed)

The Turn of the Screw
Mix one part Mary Poppins and one part Sixth Sense. Turn until screwed. #operaplot — Brian M. Rosen (musicvstheater)

Wozzeck
Keep yourself / Full of beans / And avoid / Bloody scenes / Give your captain / Burma-Shave #operaplot — Sarah Noble (@primalamusica)

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Filed under Contest, Opera and humor, Opera and social media

hunkering down for #operaplot 2011

I don’t know how I missed the Omniscient Mussel’s  Save-the-Date post regarding #Operaplot 2011. But I visited Miss Mussel’s website, and there it was.

Operaplot 2011 will take place between April 11 and 15 (the same days I’ve been called for jury duty–I don’t how I’m going to be affected just yet by that eventuality).

In case you’re not familiar with #Operaplot 2011, the basic premise is that you Tweet plots to an opera–any opera–between April 11 and 15 always finishing with a hashtag and the word operaplot (#operaplot). Describing the entire plot of an opera in 140 characters is the basic idea. Miss Mussel will be sharing more guidelines soon, which may differ slightly with last year’s official rules.

Last year, I didn’t enter. I was new to Twitter so I merely enjoyed the entries filling my Twitter feed. I’d like to enter this year–we’ll see what happens.  Anyway, to warm up your #operaplot chops, here’s a few opera headlines to decipher.

  1. FATHER’S CURSE TRIGGERS EVENTS ENDING IN KIDS’ DEATHS
  2. EVIL MAGICIAN MAKES WRITER’S THREE ROMANCES DISAPPEAR
  3. BOY WINS GIRL THROUGH TRIAL OF FIRE AND WATER
  4. AGING NOBLEWOMAN BLESSES YOUNGER RIVAL’S NUPTIALS
  5. HERO’S DEATH BRINGS DOOMSDAY

I’m not going to provide the answers this time. However, anyone who can answer all five correctly will be entered in a drawing to win this handsome (if I do say so myself) Operatoonity mug.

Please send all answers to galemartin08@gmail.com rather than leave them in the comments.

Start thinking about your entries for #operaplot 2011. (And those of you with nearly inactive Twitter accounts need to rev them up to be ready for April 11).

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Filed under Audience participation, Contest

six opera events to celebrate in 2010

James Valenti Wins Richard Tucker Award (April 16)

The Richard Tucker Award has been called “the Heisman Trophy of Opera.” It’s a $30,000 prize recognizing an American singer on the cusp of an international opera career, and on April 16, 2010, James Valenti was named the winner. Why was this year’s award so exciting? James Valenti is an alumnus of the Academy of Vocal Arts, a premier opera training program for young artists located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, my home state. These  programs are so critical to preparing the next generation of opera performers. Besides grooming and showcasing up and coming talent, they also showcase new works, as in the case of Margaret Garwood’s The Scarlet Letter.       

Jake Heggie's Moby Dick/photo by Karen Almond

 

Moby Dick World Premiere (April 30)

Composer Jake Heggie, librettist Gene Scheer       

Commissioned by the Dallas Opera in partnership with four other companies, Moby Dick premiered at the Winspear Opera House on April 30. Notable for its outstanding staging and performances, it’s also extremely heartening to see opera companies collaborating to bring new opera to the stage.       

#Operaplots 2010 (around May 3-7-entries submitted earlier)

Sam Neuman--Grand Prize #Operaplot Winner

 

 Miss Mussel orchestrated an enormous mini-contest celebrating not the masterplot but the microplot–only 140 characters allowed to summarize the plot of an opera. Oh, and the hashtag “#operaplot” had to be included! More than 900 entries representing 200+ different operas were read, sorted, alphabetized, and categorized, etc., at Tweetning-fast speed. Winners were announced the week of May 3. What a fabulous and most entertaining of display ingenius brevity!       

Met in the Park 2010

Met in the Park

 

The Metropolitan Opera performed six concerts in parks in the five boroughs of New York City from July 12-29, 2010. I was sitting in a bar in Soho two weekends ago, when a woman I just met told me how much she enjoyed the program that came to Crotona Park (Bronx) on Thursday, July 15 that featured Monica Yunus, soprano; Matthew Plenk, tenor; Donovan Singletary, bass-baritone; and Jonathan Kelly, pianist.       

Rigoletto a Mantova, September 4 & 5

Rigoletto a Mantova

 

The live simulcast of ‘Rigoletto’ a Mantova was a brave and beautiful project filmed on location in Mantua, lending the entire enterprise the scope and versimilitude of a major motion picture. It featured an all-star cast including Plácido Domingo, Julia Novikova, Vittorio Grigolo, and Ruggero Raimando.  The production values, the direction, the musical direction, the soloists, the orchestra, the conductor, the setting, the choral numbers, the cinematography, the costumes, the singing, the singing, the singing were all squisito.  With any luck, this production set the stage for more such live simulcasts.  Grazie, Plácido.    

Opera  in the Outfield (September 19) and Aida at the Ballpark (September 25)

Aida in Giants Park, San Francisco

 

Two major opera houses obtained corporate underwriting to offer free simulcasts of live opera in major ballparks in 2010. “Play Ballo!” was the motto of the Washington National Opera‘s third annual “Opera in the Outfield” event. Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera” was broadcast from the Kennedy Center live in Nationals Park, to 11,000 fans. Aida in the Ballpark in the San Francisco Giants home park for approximately 50,000 fans.       

Opera Company of Philadelphia’s Random Act of Culture (October 30)

Six hundred singers filled Macy’s Department Store in Philadelphia and sang Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” What a beautiful celebration of spontaneous performance! It’s as much fun to see the crowd’s reaction to the live performance as it is to hear the singers.       

YouTube Preview Image

I’m certain there were many other wonderful things happening in the world of classical music during 2010. If I’ve not mentioned your favorite event, please mention it in the comments section. And here’s to more inspiring events in 2011.

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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Audience participation, Best of Operatoonity, Classic Opera, Live opera performance, News Roundup

“best of” countdown #2 – 2010 #operaplot entries for ‘Don G’ sparkle

(first published May 3, 2010)

For opera-involved (-crazed, -cranked, -obsessed, etc.)  individuals, the Twittersphere was crackling with entries last week in #operaplot 2010, or, how to reduce the plot of an entire opera to a Tweet–140 characters including a hashtag and the word #operaplot.      

This brainy battle of the curt, terse, and pithy is organized by Toronto music critic Marcia Adair, aka Miss Mussel, classical music’s champion of the short and sweet.  Since “Operatoonity” wouldn’t  exist in the blogosphere without Mozart’s Don Giovanni–the opera that inspired my novel DEVILED BY DON–with Miss Mussel’s permission, I thought I would share all the entries this year for Don G:      

Don Giovanni (Mozart)
Vankan0 – it 640 de 231 fr 100 tr 91 es 1003. Kill father. Dress up as servant. Seduce farmer girl. Supper with ghost. Go to hell.
Gerrit Theule – A rake’s progression goes from woman to woman to woman to hell. His poor servant, left to explain things, escapes at least.
Gerrit Theule – Three strikes and the Don’s out. The Commendatore wins every time. Except at the beginning. He doesn’t fare so well there
Patrick Swanson – I tell ya, Leporello-life is good. Bangin hot chicks, breakin hearts. Pass the butter. *knock knock* Who’s there? Oh shit.
Paul JZ – The Don’s Hectic Calendar: Seduce. Rape. Duel. Kill. Flirt. Lure. Flee. Regroup. Accuse. Swap. Fool. Invite. Revel. Refuse. BURN!
Paul JZ – “Questo è il fin di chi fa mal!” So, don’t seduce, rape, accuse, fool, desert, lure, beat, or kill, lest you be dragged to hell!
Thos Carpenter – A cautionary tale for serial rapists everywhere: never invite a walking, talking statue from hell to a dinner party.
MMmusing – Cad kills Commendatore. Conquests cataloged, courts country cutie. Cry creates chaos. Cast Commendatore comeback cues comeuppance.
MPR Mike – 1003 in Seville is plenty.
Paul JZ – I’m too sexy for amor—too sexy for Seville. I’m a charmer—I shake my lil tush on the piazza. I’m too sexy for this opera. *burns*
Fabtab – Man leaves Playboy mansion to compete for a virgin; sings a rap so filthy even the Pope digs it.
Oliver JMC – By some miracle, he didn’t experience any burning sensations until after the 1003rd.
Eric Mahlzeit – Cunning Spanish nobleman murders, seduces, serenades, and throws one hell of a dinner party.
Where’s Runnicles – How many? I don’t believe you. Seriously, I made a list. Where do you think you’re dragging me off to and why is it so hot there?
CTMCC – Go to hell Don G says mad woman, sad woman, nearly-bad woman, their menfolk and many many others.
MPR Mike – In which our hero learns that, in Spain, he should have stopped at 1003.
Pattyoboe – He’s made a long list, checked it more than twice. Everyone knows he’s naughty, not nice. Dinner time for Statue & Don.
Otterhouse – Leporello: “Drink wet cement and really get stoned.”
Shevinka – Hi lep, remember that old dude we killed? Well he got me b4 the stds did! give your wife *one* for me :p, see you in hell xx
Lattavanti – No reference from former boss because he went to Hell for killing some chick’s dad. Here’s a list of other gfs—see, he trusted me
Henri Drost – I can’t get no satisfaction tho I’ve tried 2066 times. No no no says Leporello but I’d be damned to decline an invitation.
Le Boyfriend – Kissed the girls and made them cry. Stabbed one’s dad and watched him die. Offered chances to repent, he opted to be Hades sent. Men!      

Aren’t they all fantastic? Which is your favorite?  I  can tell you mine. Drumroll, please . . .      

Henri Drost gets my first-place blue ribbon. I love how he added up all the conquests from Leporello’s “Catalogue Aria.” Very clever!!     

Second place goes to Paul JZ  for the I’m too sexy for amor . . . I’m too sexy for this opera. *burns*

Third place goes to MMmusing  for the totally alliterative entry.  

Honorable mention goes to Pattyoboe for her “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”-inspired Tweet.

Read all of this year’s entries (almost a thousand based on more than 200+ different operas) at The Omniscient Mussel.      

The overall contest winners judged by Jonas Kauffman [were] announced on May 7!

Addendum to original post from The Omniscient Mussel: 

Runners Up as selected by Jonas Kaufmann

Name: Stephen Llewellyn (@LeBoyfriend) Portland, OR, was named a runner-up for his Don G entry.
Tweet: Kissed the girls and made them cry.Stabbed one¹s dad and watched him die. Offered chances to repent,he opted to be Hades sent. Men! [Don Giovanni]

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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Best of Operatoonity, Don Giovanni, favorites

meet a winning operaplotter–Daniel John Kelley!

It was like Christmas in springtime or watching an online Oscar ceremony (only more entertaining). Today, the winners of the 2010 Operaplot contest selected by tenor Jonas Kauffman were announced on The Omniscient Mussel and regaled on Twitter, of course, and many other places in cyberspace.
 
This was an enormous mini-contest celebrating not the masterplot but the microplot–only 140 characters with “#operaplot” included! More than 900 entries representing 200+ different operas had to be read, sorted, alphabetized, and categorized, etc., at Tweetning-fast speed. Entries had to submitted last Friday. The final complement of winners were announced today.
 
(“Miss Mussel can move mountains”; “Miss Mussel for president,” the masses clamor.)

Browsing through the alphabetized entries is the most healthy, cognitive fun I’ve had in a year! Thank you, Miss Mussel, and thank you, contestants for oodles of operatically-themed entertainment. I think everyone who entered is a winner.                  

A 2010 Operaplot winner--Daniel John Kelley

 

Since I’m a student of creative writing, I saw a kindred creative-arts spirit among the winners’ circle announced today, playwright Daniel John Kelley, creator of the children’s theatre series Monster Literature, and invited him to be a guest on “opera-toonity.”                  

Here is Daniel’s prize-winning #operaplot, which he Tweeted using his sardonic Twitter identity @FunWithIago:      

So I wrote this guy this EPIC love letter & he’s like “No thanks”, but now I’m married & rich & he’s all “OMG I LURV U!!” WTF? [Eugene Onegin]                  

Pretty clever, eh?

Earlier today, I dashed off my questions, and Daniel responded with gusto and good grace for your reading pleasure.                  

Daniel, is this the first time you’ve entered #operaplot?
Nope. I was part of the contest last year, but didn’t win anything at all.

How many entries did you submit to #operaplot 2010?
I entered 4 this year.                   

Did you have a favorite–yours or anyone else’s?
I thought Brian Rosen’s Oedipus Rex rap #operaplot was brilliant. Probably made more brilliant by the fact that he recorded it: http://blog.musicvstheater.com/2010/04/30/operaplot-madness/                  

(I agree that Brian’s rap was an inspired effort. You have to listen to the recorded version.)                  

How much time did you spend coming up with entries?
Mostly it was at my day job and on the subway, so probably like twenty minutes each.                   

Do you have a favorite opera?
 I love Verdi’s Otello– I have like 14 recordings of it. For me, as an opera, it’s the perfect combination of music and drama. I feel like the music really does a great job of psychologically following the characters in each scene, and I find it to be one of the most powerful works in the canon.  But I also feel bad saying it’s my favorite, considering the lead role is still done in blackface all over the world. I can’t invite people to see it with me who don’t know the opera or are familiar with opera, because all they see is a man in blackface and they’re like “Dude, WTF?” Understandably. I read that the UK had their first black Otello…last year. I don’t know that there’s ever been one in New York. If folks want to bring opera into a new century (like maybe the 20th century?), forget twitter, let’s start with that.                   

Iago, from San Francisco Opera's Otello, 2009

 

How did you arrive at your Twitter username, @FunWithIago? Funwithiago has been my internet handle forever– it used to be my livejournal name when people did such a thing. It’s from the villain in Shakespeare Othello (and Verdi’s opera). His name is hardly synonymous with “fun”, given how things end up for him and everyone else in the play, and fourteen-year-old me thought that was hilarious.                   

How long have you been Twittering? Why did you start Tweeting?  I started tweeting late last year. Actually, my dad (@rpmkel) got me into it. I was like, “This looks stupid.” And then I did it, and found the great opera and theatre communities on twitter. And it was awesome.                   

Thanks Daniel, and congratulations on your selection for a top prize! Oh, and if you interview Daniel, he sends his answers already hyperlinked. What a cyberhip and accommodating guy!                  

To find out what prize he selected, visit  “The Omniscient Mussel” website and view the official winners here, including the Operaplot Side Pot winners.                  

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Filed under Classic Opera, Interviews, Opera Marketing