Friday, April 23, 2010

What You Need To Know About #Operaplot 2010

In just a few days time, one of the hottest classical music events of the year will be happening on Twitter. That's right, it's time for #Operaplot again, the competition to condense an entire operatic plot into 140 characters or less (actually 129 characters or less, since every entry needs to have the #operaplot hashtag added in order to be an official entry).  The contest starts on Monday, April 26 and runs until Friday the 30th, after which Jonas Kaufmann will be judging the entries to determine the winner of the grand prize, a flight to Dublin to see the Opera Theatre Company's production of The Marriage of Figaro. All this is brought to you from Toronto-based freelance music critic Marcia Adair (aka @missmussel on Twitter).

If you're unfamiliar with Twitter, all is not lost - I will be putting up a real-time widget at the right-hand sidebar so that you can see the #operaplot action as it happens. If you want to compete, you'll have to create an account on Twitter. Here are some links to help you navigate the hoopla:
Marcia Adair was also kind enough to send along the following press release:
OPERAPLOT 2010 - The Lowdown

Dates: 9am EST Monday 26th April to midnight EST Friday 30th April.
Judge: Jonas Kaufmann
Headlining House:  Opera Theatre Company based in Dublin is offering two tickets to their Marriage of Figaro production in May, 3 nights hotel stay and up to 1000€ towards flights.

Other participating houses (full details here - updated as new houses join)

Atlanta Opera, Edmonton Opera, Fort Worth Opera Festival, Opera Australia, Opera San Jose, Portland Opera, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Scottish Opera, Seattle Opera, Vancouver Opera,

Other prizes
Universal has put CD and DVD sets of Wagner, Haydn and Mozart into the pool.  In addition to be fantastic in their own right, these prizes help solve the problem of opera houses not being especially portable....a bit of a snag in a global competition.  Tickets for the Vancouver aren't very useful to a winner living in Atlanta.

How it works (full rules and FAQ here)
  • Anyone can enter. Contestants must have a Twitter account.
  • The idea is to summarize the plot of an opera in 140 characters- the Twitter maximum - or less.
  • Each tweet must carry the #operaplot tag, so everyone can follow along.
  • Contestants can enter up to 10 times.
  • 5 winners will be chosen by Jonas.  They will each get to choose a prize out of the pool in a randomly selected order.
A few facts about last year (the whole story can be found here)
  • 32 opera houses in 4 countries
  • Over 500 entries
  • Danielle DeNiese judged the comp
  • It ended up with Priscilla Barrow, an inner city school music teacher in DC, getting an Opera Ball fairy tale courtesy of the Washington National Opera and #operaplot winner Stephen Llewellyn
  • Compressing the plot wasn't enough of a challenge for some.  By the end, people were writing haiku, limericks and even doing the whole Ring cycle in one tweet.
Top 5 from 2009
  • @leboyfriend – There was a young lady called Fricka Who . . . who . . . *snore* 'Wake up -- it's over.' It's good, I just wish it were quicka.  [The Ring]
  • @wordsmusic – Here's my castle. Are you afraid? No, I'm going to open all those damn doors! Are you afraid? No, let me in! Who's that? Oh shit. [Bluebeard]
  • @musicbizkid – Let me get this straight: unfathomable treasure if I betroth my loopy daughter to a ghost? Deal. She'll meet you by the fjord. [The Flying Dutchman]
  • @DrGeoduck – Who wants to live forever? Me! No, wait, i changed my mind. *dies* [The Makropolus Case]
  • @voxdixit – Monk: Repent, courtesan! (Meditation) Courtesan: Okay! Monk: Wait, there is no God after all! Courtesan: Too late, I'm dead! [Thais]
A bit about me
A freelance classical music journalist and ghostwriter from Toronto. I write a lot of books on business as well as arts journalism for the Toronto Star, the CBC and Sony.  Online, I am Miss Mussel of  I'm doing this mostly because it's really fun.  Opera fans are usually pretty nerdy and love to play games, so #operaplot is a really good fit.
Good luck to everyone! You can also follow me on Twitter - I'm @chrisfoley.

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