An Argument for Opera

Opera is not just meant soley for the stage.

My friend and talented man himself, Brad Morrison, pointed out an interesting couple of "fellowes" on the cover of OPERA America!!

Opera Parallèle made this production, starting from a proof of concept in 2021. The film debuted on Dallas Opera's media network, picked up a prestigious jury prize at Arizona International Film Festival, and premiered as an amazing Immersive Experience earlier this year.

One production.

What I'm saying is that an opera company can get THAT much traction from a film ... It's so much easier to store a film in the can, than it is to watch entire sets, production after production, year after year, just be literally thrown into the heap. (because storage facilities are not cheap).

We could be doing some radical (in the 80's meaning, like, so freaking cool) things with hybridizing stage and film for opera.

Opera is theater, it is NOT solely meant JUST for the stage, at least as we think of "the stage" today.

The same director Brian Staufenbiel, who directed Everest, as well as Flight (in the magazine, this film is highlighted too)directed my beloved opera, Goodbye, Mr. Chips by Gordon Getty, as a cross between a film and a staged opera. In this Chips production, you could see there were seven different sets on the soundstage. And there is most DEFINITELY an operatic element in the film, //which I DO hope more of you have a chance to see in the years to come.// But the cool thing was, is that the film isn't the finished deal. Brian didn't direct it these films to be THE one and only perfect rendition of the opera.

Opera is for our community. That is the real reason it exists. My definition of Opera is that is created to talk to each other and experience as viscerally as possible, empathy, reflection, and celebration, and offer a sense of commonality.

With opera on film, on Zoom, on youtube and( in the case of Everest), PIPED IN through 7-channel surround sound on giant speakers that give clarity and HI-FI and subwoofer bass, and a feeling of being INSIDE a graphic novel... we have delivered far and above what our thought has been of "outreach." We are going to meet our audience, where and in some part, WHEN they want to experience things.

If Painting were only to be done with "paint," well shoot... humanity wouldn't have seen the need to invent photographs or movies. or broadcast images via a television. It would have been out of the question, and that you'd be reading this missive by yours truly today, on some type of screen, much less on a graphic interface invention, why, it would be as real as our "flat" earth, lol!

SO Kudos to the innovation of Opera Parallele and the whole team. To all of the innovators, The filmers, the singers, the admins, the players, the engineers and on down, who have struggled and struggle still to bring us all truly amazing things that go completely outside of our own imaginations, until they appear in front of us, from your brains.

Thank you for casting me, and thanks to Opera America, who have been stalwart enough to recognize (once again) that opera on film does not preclude opera on stage, in fact, it buoys it!

It Keeps us ELEVATED.
(that's my mission -- the elevation of the opera arts and of those in it and around it)

*note - - not that anyone has asked, but I Do support SAG-AFTRA and the Writers strike.
When I mention all of the folks it takes to make a film as mentioned above, you have to know that every single one of them and us deserves to make a living. Should be able to have health insurance. Should at some point be able to retire. It cannot be that people at the top make exponentially more than thelowest-paidd workers. This isn't just about the performers and the writers, it's for everyone to have a good standard of living. A standard of living is just saying a minimum of cool things in your life. Like... shelter and a bed, heat, decent and healthy food, and to see cool opera on the stage and on the screen (sometime when it's all good).