Tag Archives: opera bloggers

Bachtrack founder’s reviews and posts connect the world to live opera

David Karlin, founder of Bachtrack

Editor’s note: This is the second in this month’s series about Opera/Classical Bloggers.

Being the techno-mastermind behind U.K.-based Bachtrack–the world’s best way to find live classical music–might be achievement enough for some.

Not for Bachtrack founder David Karlin. Though he and his wife Alison Karlin are responsible for all the administration and marketing of the site, David has also stepped out as a masterful reviewer in addition to being Bachtrack’s blogger-of-record.

Reviews are a mainstay of many opera bloggers. Some only do reviews. Some do news and postcards. David does it all with a signature blend of respect for classical arts, great writing, technical savvy, and essential enthusiasm.

Welcome to Operatoonity, David.

O: When did you start blogging and why?
I started about three years ago, a few months after we started Bachtrack. We realised that to get search engine visibility for the main listings site, we needed to have original unique content, and I figured that the best way was to try writing some. I started enjoying the writing, and things got slightly out of hand.  . . . By the way, due to oddities in the way the site is structured, most of my writing appears on the reviews pages rather than the blog–something I’ll fix one of these days. I use the blog for anything I fancy writing about that isn’t a review.

O: What is your biggest challenge? Biggest thrill?
David: On the opera side of my writing, the biggest challenge is to be fair about Regietheater. I instinctively loathe the kind of opera production which tries to marry a perfectly good opera to a visual narrative that has little or no connection to it; I try hard to write about these on their own terms while bearing in mind the director’s artistic intent, but it’s a struggle to be polite.

David's review of Anna Nicole on Bachtrack

There are two big thrills.

The first is that I get to see and write about some fantastic opera that I wouldn’t necessarily have gone to. The best example was the Royal Opera’s production of Steffani’s Niobe, regina di Tebe: I wasn’t expecting it to be anything special and was completely blown away. The other big thrill is when it turns out that people actually enjoy what I write and send in interesting bits of information.

O: What is your favorite post and why?
David: My favourite post is one of the shortest: the diagram I did to illuminate the impenetrable cast list of Adriana Lecouvreur. (http://www.bachtrack.com/adriana-lecouvreur-cast-guide) The review I’m most proud of is the one of Anna Nicole (http://www.bachtrack.com/review-anna-nicole), which is also the longest (but there was a lot to talk about).

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You can find all of David’s reviews on Bachtrack here and access the site’s blog here.

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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Classic Opera, Classical Music, opera and technology, profiles, Reviews

opera is this erudite blogger’s obsession

Editor’s note:  This is the first in a month-long series of profiles about opera/classical bloggers.

Lucy, grad student

Meet Lucy. She’s a twenty-something grad student by day and opera-goer by night. Not a singer, not a music student, but increasingly obsessed with opera in NYC. For Lucy, blogging is an outlet for her unbridled enthusiasm for the classical arts (one in particular) and an impetus to self-education.

Her blog is called Opera Obsession.” However, don’t go to Opera Obsession expecting to get the 4-1-1 on Lucy. Not much personal information on her blog at all. You will, however, learn more than you ever dreamed possible about opera and classical music reading “Opera Obsession” (and the comments–the comments are packed full of insights, too.)

Opera Obsession: a vibrant, exquisitely wrought online resource of reviews and loads of other info for opera enthusiasts

Opera Obsession, which dates back to January of 2010, is an exquisitely wrought and meticulously written compendium of opera and classical reviews with a liberal dose of her insights and academic expertise thrown in.

Welcome to Operatoonity, Lucy!  And let me thank you publicly for being a devoted blogging colleague to so many of us who do what you do (“Operatoonity” included) by carefully reading and generously commenting on our posts.

O: How did you get your start?
L: I started blogging  for a number of reasons. For one thing, I’d had the prose organization of a recent academic essay excoriated, and thought that this might make a good sphere for practice. For another, my father had been suggesting for some time that I should write about my opera-going experiences in some other, more public format than the rambling e-mails I would send him, decorated with multiple exclamation points! Perhaps most selfishly, I wanted to give additional direction to my own opera obsession. Blogging was a good motivation to be more organized in how I researched opera, and good training in how to process it. One of my biggest hopes was that I’d be helped along in my process of self-education about opera through readers chiming in with additional information and shared or contrasting opinions.

O: What have been your biggest challenge and your biggest thrill thus far in your opera blogging?
L: Biggest challenge? I’d say “finding the time,” but, honestly, I couldn’t keep myself away from reading about and going to the opera if I tried! Biggest thill? The opportunity to have online discussions with other, often more experienced opera lovers; the longer the comment threads are, the better I’m pleased. And it’s always nice to be quoted by companies or singers.

O: Do you have a favorite post?
L: The answer to that is the same as to “What’s your favorite opera?” — I couldn’t possibly choose! It’s always most exciting, of course, to write about the really great nights, the ones that make your hair stand on end and remind you of all the reasons you love opera… and maybe show you a few new ones.

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At present she’s featuring her timely study of Anne Boleyn as a romantic heroine (in advance of course of the Metropolitan Opera’s season opener Anna Bolena with Anna Netrebko) on “Opera Obsession.” Do drop by. You can also follow Lucy on Twitter, where she is equally ebullient as @singingscholar.


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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Classic Opera, Interviews, North American Opera, profiles, Uncategorized