There are a couple of things on OperaGene that are long term projects and frankly I could use help finding examples. I have devoted sections on the website to both thing one and thing two. The first thing is opera education or Opera Ed for short. Now, there is a tremendous, let me repeat, tremendous, amount of information available about opera. These days there is an overwhelming amount of information easily accessible about everything just by computers/mobile devices alone. But saying this is a little like saying, “You want to make friends? Here is the world. There are 7 billion people in here. Make friends.” It is true and relevant, but not all that helpful. Plus, who these days has time for friends. I hope I am joking, though I recall the MIT mantra: sleep, good grades, social life; pick any two. Time pressure rules most of us these days and the first things to be sacrificed tend to be the soft subjects, the things we need, but that don’t seem urgent. Like music.
Ok, I’m getting a little off track here. I am going to assume we agree that learning more about a topic, like learning more about a friend, enhances our appreciation of the subject of our attention and allows us to derive the most pleasure from the relationship. So, it is with opera. The question is how can we identify the most useful information, organize the information available so that it is subservient to us, and make it work for our schedule. Here the analogy to friends breaks down, at least the subservient part. The internet is a great source for information, but I think we are less likely to read things or watch things on the internet the longer the length. So, for Opera Ed, I will try to post the most interesting and relevant information I can find and organize the information to make clear what it offers you, but always with an eye to the time required. For these reasons I have renamed this section as Opera Ed To Go.
I will list some opportunities for opera education on the page that are more time-consuming and offer a bigger payoff, (I am a fan of and truly value in depth learning) but the main focus of the Opera Ed To Go page, and what I hope to grow over time, will be teaching moments, online content that lasts about one to five minutes that is also entertaining. I am looking for moments that teach us something about a specific opera, or opera in general, or music in general that educates us painlessly and increases the non-expert’s awareness of music and opera, creates an Ahhh moment, where the opera fan says internally, “Oh, I get it.” Short time commitment, entertaining – people might try it. One I have listed so far that best represents what I am going for is rather clunky in its navigation, sorry; you have to sweep through a longer web post to pick out the moments, but it provides insight into how Verdi used music to create tension. Check it out on the Opera To Go page.
If you are trained in music and opera, Opera Ed To Go will not be your page to peruse, but it could be your page to contribute to. In fact, I especially appeal to folks trained in opera and music. If you are not trained in these areas, it can be your page to contribute to as well if you run across Opera Ed To Go moments that strike you as helpful, and you want to share. Point these out to me, please. I will keep plugging away, but all contributions will be gratefully received.
Thing two, the “For Parents” section, will be covered in a follow up posting.