Tag Archives: The Omniscient 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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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

“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)

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

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