Tag Archives: opera bloggers

bywords for year’s end on Operatoonity? profiles galore!

PhotobucketOperatoonity.com boasted lots of new interviews and profiles in 2011.

Why, you may be asking?

To my mind, interviews comprise the Best of Operatoonity.com 2011, for many reasons. For one, I love meeting and talking to performers and other stakeholders in the opera/classical world. For another reason, artists in the thick of auditioning, performing, and training lead interesting and varied lives, often around the world.

Profiles are my modest way of rewarding those enmeshed in a difficult, challenging profession with a little more face time in cyberspace. I also have made some enduring relationships and truly meaningful friendships reaching out to opera singers/opera bloggers/artists in related industries and entrepreneurs.

I added an editorial calendar in 2011, which I plan to use again in 2012, because it greatly helped me anticipate and prepare future content. Next year, I’ll have a new editorial calendar with high hopes of doing even more profiles and interviews.

So . . . who all was profiled on Operatoonity.com in 2011? Thankfully, loads more artists carved out time to talk with me than during Operatoonity’s first year in cyberspace. Some of the artists or their publicists (sometimes their girlfriends) reached out to me. Some I found (okay–stalked) on Twitter. Get ready for a robust list:


Craig Philip Price (February 3)  – get to know bass-bari OperaCraig

Andrew Stuckey (February 21) – meet bari ‘Andrew’ Stuckey

Michael Adair (April 5) – meet @barihunk Michael Adair and Operaplot’s second chair


Michelle Trovato (April 3) – get to know Michelle Trovato, lyric coloratura

Alison Trainer (April 11) – meet Alison Trainer, sparkling coloratura

Samantha Jade Ash (April 13) – meet Samantha Jade Ash, opera lover and opera hopeful

La Toya Lewis (April 15) – meet La Toya Lewis, whose velvety soprano is simply delicious

Amy J. Payne (April 22) – meet Amy J. Payne, British mezzo

Marcy Richardson (April 28) – gaga for Marcy’s #operaplot (a 2011 #operaplot winner)


Nathan Granner and The American Tenors (July 4) – celebrating The American Tenors on the Fourth of July

K.E. Querns Langley (July 6) – meet a teaching tenor, K.E. Querns Langley

Eric Barry (July 8) – get to know the Pavarotti of the Panhandle, tenor Eric Barry

Mitchell Sturges (July 11) – meet @mitchthetenor

David Lomelí (July 14) – chattin’ up David Lomelí: Mexican tenor, toast of NYC!

René Barbera (August 30) – up close & personal with tenor René Barbera, 2011 Operalia triple-winner

Opera Bloggers

Opera Obsession (September 1) – opera is this erudite blogger’s obsession

David Karlin (September 3) – Bachtrack founder’s reviews and posts connect the world to live opera

Zerbinetta’s blog “Likely Impossibilities” (September 6) –  Zerbinetta’s blog, a trove of news and reviews for opera lovers

Stephen Llewellyn (September 7) – up close and personal with Stephen Llewellyn, aka Operaman, two-time #Operaplot winner

Tenor Nicholas Phan (September 9) – half Greek, Chinese. Hence his blog’s name: ‘Grecchinois’

Marion Lignana Rosenberg (September 14) – Marion’s blogs celebrate her devotion to opera greats

 Hairman at the Opera (September 20) – Cardiff ‘Hairman’ has a thing for hair and opera!

Intermezzo (September 30) – Intermezzo – an opera blogger whose actions speak louder than words

Opera Companies/Radio Stations & Recordings/Artists in Related Industries

Canadian Opera Company  (April 6, June 28)  – COC’s contest entries all dolled upCOC nabs three Dora Awards

Sheri Greenawald, Director of the San Francisco Opera and Merola Opera – (August 10) – Merola Opera: where future stars get loads of training and TLC

Opera Company of Philadelphia (September 17 ) – Opera Co. of Phila. launches ‘Carmen’ under the stars

Opera Music Broadcast (November 20) – Opera Music Broadcast, a treat for music lovers & resource for opera companies

Artist Jose Llopis (November 22) – love of opera inspires young Spaniard’s poster designs

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My sincere thanks to everyone who devoted their time to a profile/interview on Operatoonity.com this year. If you or someone you know is an artist or you know some entity related to opera would make an interesting profile subject in 2012, please contact me with more information at galemartin08@gmail.com.


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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Best of Operatoonity, Classic Opera, Interviews, North American Opera, profiles, Q&A

Triberr makes spintos of everyday bloggers

In the same way that tenors and sopranos with lovely vocal qualities might not have enough ping in their voices to reach the back of the opera house, sometimes really great opera bloggers’ posts go without a sufficient number of readers.

There are plenty of opera bloggers whose sites I’ve visited who have few or (even more commonly) no comments on their blogs.  If these bloggers are anything like me, they’ve put hours and hours into posts that maybe a handful of people read. How frustrating.

If only there were something bloggers could do, to make us spinto bloggers, to help our blog posts reach the back of the house every time and climb to the top of organic Google rankings.

There is, dear readers and bloggers. There is.

It’s called Triberr. The concept is simple: You join a tribe with bloggers you like. Everyone in the tribe (usually 8 0r 9 bloggers max) tweets out everyone else’s links. What makes me really like this concept is that not only do you have control over what tribes you join, ensuring that you aren’t promoting bloggers you don’t want to promote, but you also have the option to moderate the links you tweet out. So, even though it’s automation, it’s automation with a lot of moderation.

Since I also have a writing blog, I tried for months to get myself invited to a writing tribe–to no avail. I was hanging out on Twitter one night and replied to someone who wanted to be invited to a tribe. Lo and behold, I got an invitation to a great tribe whose followers total 8,000 on Twitter. Now, I have 630 followers on my @Gale_Martin Twitter account. But now that I’m part of a Triberr tribe, my blog posts get Tweeted to 8,000 followers every time. I’ve tripled hits on my writing blog and increased the number of followers on all my social media sites as a result. It would take me at least seven more years of Tweeting to get to 8,000 followers. I have that large of a reach now for blog posts because of Triberr.

Make no mistake. I blog because I enjoy it. But I sure enjoy blogging a lot more when there are people reading and responding to what I’ve written.

Now that I’ve been invited to a tribe, I get to be a chief of my own tribe, which is what I wanted to accomplish all along, since there were no opera/classical music bloggers tribe. So, I started a tribe of Best Opera Bloggers and happily recruited two tribe members in @artlifestiletto and @taminophile. I have about a half a dozen slots left, and for Triberr to really be effective, you need a full tribe.

I’m looking for intelligent, thoughtful bloggers who post about 3-8 times per month. Since I’m the chief, it’s my call regarding acceptances. I issued invitations to my Best Bloggers Tribe that sadly have gone unanswered.  That means if you have an opera or classical music blog, have a Twitter account, and are interested in being part of my tribe, give me a shout.  DM me on Twitter and let me know you are  interested in the Best Opera Bloggers tribe. Or leave a request in the comments along with the URL to your blog so I can check you out. And if you become a member of my tribe, you now have the privilege of also starting a new tribe of your own.

I love blogging, knowing I have an audience who appreciates what I do. Thanks to Triberr, I’m a spinto blogger, and I’ve never felt more loved.

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If you want more info on Triberr and how other bloggers feel about it, here’s a great article!


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Filed under 21st Century Opera, opera blogs, Uncategorized

Intermezzo – an opera blogger whose actions speak louder than words

Editor’s note: Opera Bloggers’ Month concludes with this Q&A with the intrepid, wholly devoted, and widely admired blogger,  Intermezzo.

the intrepid Intermezzo

Who is Intermezzo? By her own admission, she is a “charlatan soprano and ex-pianist” who spends most of her free time at London operas and concerts. She thinks London is the greatest place in the world and can’t understand “why anyone would ever want to live anywhere else. Even when it’s raining.”

Intermezzo is the mastermind behind the opera blog of the same name. Her real identity is veiled from readers, part and parcel of her mystique. And though you may not know who she really is, if you read her blog with any frequency you certainly feel like you know her. Or at least, you know what matters to her:  novelity, celebrity, intensity, immediacy, personality, and quality.

The sidebar of her blog is filled with names operas, houses, and performers. Why? Because Intermezzo readers are counting on her for the inside story, the photo exposé–all the information that conventional media don’t normally cover and that performers’ publicists seldom release about the stars they serve.

Welcome to Operatoonity, Intermezzo!

When did you start blogging and why?
Remember Usenet? I’ve been active on social networks since the mid-90s. Back then, all the classical and opera discussion was stuffy, yawny and male-dominated, so I gravitated more towards my other passions: fragrance, art and fashion. When my dear friend Victoria began her fragrance blog “Bois de Jasmin” in 2005 I was inspired to follow suit. Then I realised opera needed me more! From the start Intermezzo has focused on live performance and the latest news, with a strong visual element – areas served poorly by traditional media. As the list of contributors and commenters has grown, the balance has shifted away from my own concert experiences in favour of subjects that readers find more relevant – like discounted tickets and artist cancellations. And feline pianists.


What is your biggest challenge?
I average 4-5 concerts/operas a week. Combined with a full-time job and other social activities, that never leaves me enough time to blog about everything I’d like to.

Biggest thrill?
When readers are as excited about a performance as I am.

What is your favorite post and why? (if you provide the URL, I’ll include it in the profile).
I believe the old adage that actions speak louder than words (despite that fact that a blog is, er, written….) So I was delighted when readers got behind me and forced the Royal Opera House to retract their threat to ban me from their premises for the ‘crime’ of taking photos after performances. To their credit, they’ve recently started sharing their own photos with audiences. I’d like to think our little run-in had something to do with that. I was also secretly thrilled to make the front page of The Stage and The Lawyer on the same day – not a lot of people manage that. You can read about this experience in Intermezzo’s words at this link.

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You can  follow Intermezzo on Twitter @inter_mezzo. Also Intermezzo has made it on to the final shortlist of the 2011 Cosmopolitan Blog Awards. Go to http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blog-awards-2011-vote and vote now.

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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Best of Operatoonity, opera blogs, profiles, Uncategorized

Cardiff ‘Hairman’ has a thing for hair and opera!

Editor’s Note: Opera Bloggers Month continues with this lively, well-written blog, “Hairman at the Opera.

Hairman at the Opera

He’s a man based in Cardiff, Wales, with hair who’s got a thing for opera.

Surprised that nobody had set up a blog dedicated to Welsh National Opera (WNO), Hairman ignored common sense and give it a try. Hence the name of his blog–Hairman at the Opera!

He’s created a delightful place to hang out with reviews, news you can use, and occasionally the talking teddy bear.  Hairman’s blog allows readers to feel like insiders at WNO–a world class touring opera company–even if they’ve never seen a show there.

Welcome to Operatoonity, Hairman!

O: When did you start blogging and why?

Hairman: I started blogging roughly two years ago, more by accident than by intent. I’d written a few Cardiff Singer posts for Intermezzo’s blog, and she suggested that I start a blog of my own.  Although I wasn’t a stranger to the ROH, and probably saw more performances there than anywhere else, I felt that it, and many other big name opera companies, had more than their fair share of blogs devoted to them, so I decided to take up blogging about my own nation’s company, Welsh National Opera (WNO). It wasn’t a hard decision to make, as it had irritated me for quite some time that WNO performances I saw rarely garnered the level of attention they deserved in comparison with ones I saw in London and beyond. Of course, WNO isn’t the only company to suffer in this way, there are plenty of other companies who endure a similar lack of genuine international recognition, which is a shame, because exhilarating, electric nights, are to be found in more than just the same old places.

O: What is your biggest challenge? Biggest thrill?

The Wales Millennium Centre, home of the WNO, photo by Ian Britton / Freefoto

Hairman: My biggest challenge has been in finding the right “voice” for my blog. Having no musical training I knew, from the beginning, that my blog would rely on how I wrote about opera, not what I wrote. I am never going to be able to expertly dissect a performance and comment if a soprano fails to hit F6, so I have tried to adopt as personable an approach as possible, appealing, I hope, to people a bit like myself, whose only exposure to opera has been through the usual channels – ads, films and music montages from football events. This hasn’t exactly been plain sailing, the blog has seen several “voices” – including a period where a monkey was the ghostwriter…I kid ye not.

My biggest thrill is more of a biggest pleasure – and that’s getting to know people from all over the world who I never would have come into contact with if it wasn’t for opera.

O: What is your favorite post and why?

Hairman: I haven’t got a specific favourite post – normally the one I care about most  will be the one I am working on at any given moment. However, there was a series of posts centred around WNO’s Meistersinger (April to July 2010) that have been invaluable to me in my appreciation of opera productions as a whole. As well as enabling me to get closer to the music, and the text, than of any other opera, the posts, thanks to the kind help of WNO staff (including ASM Katie Heath-Jones) gave me an insight into the amount of effort required to put on a production. I’d known, but frankly paid lip service, to the idea of the teamwork involved in productions, but it was only through following the preparations did I truly comprehend how much hard work, from a wide variety of skilled professionals, it takes to put on a show. In many ways it seems unfair to me (now) that though you get to applaud the singers and orchestra at the end of the evening, you don’t get to applaud all the other people who put in an almighty effort to give you a night at the opera.

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Do drop by Hairman’s blog or you can follow him on Twitter @HairmanWNO.

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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Interviews, Opera and humor, opera blogs

half Greek, Chinese. Hence his blog’s name: ‘Grecchinois’

Tenor Nicholas Phan's blog

“The only time it all consistently makes sense is when I sing.”
–Nicholas Phan, host of “Grecchinois”

Tenor Nicholas Phan has been singing all over the world  for years. In 2011 alone, he’s been to Torino, Florence, Helsinki, and Paris, just to name a few world-class cities. Yet as busy as he is–touring, recording–he makes time to blog regularly at “Grecchinois.”

“Grecchinois” is a philosophical blog that is part travelogue and confessional. One-hundred percent compellingly written, enlightening, and at times heart-wrenching. (See his post On Being Out).

As Nick travels around the world, he takes “Greccinois” readers with him, sharing highlights from the varied places he’s performed, reflecting on the works he has sung. His blog also allows his non-performing readers to vicariously experience the life and lifestyle of a classical singer on the international circuit.

Welcome to Operatoonity, Nick!

O: When did you start blogging and why?

Nick: I started in May of 2006.  It mostly began as an experiment – I’d always harbored dreams of becoming a writer when I was a child, and I figured that it could be a nice way to make writing a hobby to distract and occupy me during my down time while I was on the road.  I guess I also started blogging, because it was a way to muse about life in a formal way – it’s a way to ponder all of my life experiences and the world around me, yet there is an audience. Even though I am pondering and musing, I am pulled out of my own head, and into a dialogue of sorts.  In all of these years of blogging – and I really never expected this as a side-effect – I have noticed that it has helped me really define my artistic philosophy when it comes to being a musician.  Somehow, by writing about music, singing, and my work/life in this field, my ideas about process, performance, why I do this, and why it is important that I do this have become quite clear and defined in ways I never expected them to.

Tenor Nicholas Phan

O: What is your biggest challenge? Biggest thrill?
Nick: My biggest challenge?  As a blogger – it’s to find the bravery to begin writing something.  I find it terrifying to begin most posts, because I am so petrified that what I have to say is meaningless, empty, and silly.  The biggest thrill is when I’ve posted something, and people comment – showing that whatever I’ve written has somehow resonated with them and touched them in some way.

O: Favorite post(s) and why?
Nick: I have a few favorite posts that I am proud of – I am not sure I could pick just one.  I’m proud of them for their honesty – it’s incredibly scary to expose yourself for the whole world to see.  A few friends have described my writing as a bit “self–deprecating,” but my goal in writing this blog is to share aspects of my life’s journey and how its twists and turns push me to grow.  There is a parable that once a young man dreamt of changing the world, but, as he grew older, he realized that he couldn’t change the world, so he set about trying to change the town he lived in.  Then he realized he couldn’t change the people in his town, so he focused on trying to change his family.   Finally, as an old man, he realized he couldn’t change his family, and he decided that the only person he could change was himself.  Once he began to focus on changing himself, he realized that in doing so, he had the power to change his family, and that his family could then change his town, and then his town would have the power to change the world.  When I blog – I aim to be that man in the final stages of his enlightenment.  The only way I can affect and move the world around me is by sharing my life stories – hopefully, those experiences will help inspire, move, and lead others to a better place, as well.

    1. Making It and Getting There
    2. Stepping on Out
    3. On Being Out
    4. The Cognitive Power of Breath
    5. Small Yoga
    6. Downward Dog

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Stop in on his blog, “Grecchinois.” You can also visit Nick’s official website,  follow him on Twitter @grecchinois, or “Like” Nick on Facebook. His debut solo “Winter Words” comes out Tuesday on Amazon. If you love the wonderful music of Benjamin Britten, you can order a copy here.

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Filed under 21st Century Opera, life on the international opera circuit, opera blogs, Performers