OperaGene: Taking Stock and Seeking Suggestions

Original OperaGene logo

Original OperaGene logo

OperaGene.com went live on Feb 29, 2016.  The website was started with a mission and certain goals in mind.  OperaGene’s mission is to help opera fans, and potential opera fans, to access and enjoy opera; for convenience I categorize those who are opera fans as sharing the opera gene.  As a relatively new opera convert, I wanted to share what I had learned pursuing my interest in opera.  And to offer a wider perspective than just the DC area where I live, I decided to cover opera companies and performances that I could reach in half a day’s drive; this roughly corresponds to the U.S. mid-Atlantic region.  The principal feature of the website is the blog where I report on things opera, including opera schedules and performances.  I also installed other pages on the website: an About section; a three months sidebar performances list; seasonal lists of opera schedules; info on other opera websites/blogs, venues, and critics; an info for newbies page, and a for parents page. 

One goal that I had for OperaGene, that has not materialized is generating and supporting discussions about opera performances and other opera topics.  In fact, very few comments have been received.  I have come to realize that views, discussions, and opinions these days have moved to social media.  There are several professional opera critics that I follow and, when I look for comments to their articles in newspapers, very few if any comments are received, with rare exceptions.  Articles on sports and hot political topics still get heavy comment traffic on newspaper articles. I will leave the comments section intact for now, but I also now have Twitter and Facebook feeds (Twitter: OperaGene @douhavethegene; Facebook: facebook.com/operagene).  I’m more active on Twitter right now; Facebook presents some problems I'm still working out in having a personal Facebook and a separate page for your blog or business.  I use these feeds to point to new OperaGene blog posts that have been added, but also to point out or muse about current topics in opera.

I am doing OperaGene for the enjoyment of it, my avocation in retirement.  It provides me an outlet for writing, which I enjoy, and a place to express my personal opinions about opera and opera performances.  I try to emphasize that my opinions are those of an opera fan, not an opera authority; I refer readers to professional critics for professional reviews.  The website also provides me with motivation to see more operas and to take mini-vacations to attend operas in other venues in the mid-Atlantic.  I have learned a great deal about the large array of opera companies and performances in the mid-Atlantic each year and still have not covered it all.

Beyond my personal enjoyment, however, I would like OperaGene to have an audience and to attend to the needs of those readers.  So, I am using this post to ask for suggestions on how the website might be improved to better serve reader interests.

Some questions to stimulate your thinking (you can see a month by month listing of the blog reports in the Archives section):

Are there features of the website you especially like or dislike?

Is there an opera feature that you’d like to see added to the website?

What blog topics interest you the most:

comments on performances,

descriptions of upcoming performances,

comments on “in cinema” performances,

informative blog reports on different aspects of opera?

Other topics?

Please send me any thoughts you are willing to share.  Critical comments intended to improve the website are welcomed.  You can use the Contact page to comment; to respond anonymously, do not fill in your name or email address on that page (just type your comments and hit the send button), or you can email me directly at Mike@operagene.com