Top 10 Reasons to Support Your Local Opera Company
by Glenn Winters
TOP 10 REASONS TO SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL OPERA COMPANY
10. Ever complain that potholes don’t get fixed in your community, or that there aren’t enough police catching speeders in your neighborhood? A rich selection of performing arts (like, duh, OPERA) provides that valued commodity known as “quality of life” desired by industries looking for a site in which to operate. New industry = larger tax base = greater municipal revenue = cops and street paving crews.
9. Professional opera improves your schools from primary school through colleges. Opera companies provide educational programs for all grades and levels. Children’s operas for kids, master classes for grad students; you name it.
8. It helps stabilize other performing arts organizations in the area. Opera companies employ orchestral musicians, dancers, and other arty-types, helping those artists remain in the black – or be less in the red, anyway.
7. Look, you don’t want your city’s only claim to fame to be some dumb sports team, do you? Do you really want people to know you for a bunch of sweaty, over-paid prima donna athletes who demand a king’s ransom for playing ball and then sit out the game if they get a sore toe? REALLY? You think Domingo cancels when he’s got a sore toe? Ha! Besides, Domingo is nearly seventy and he’s still out there performing; those sissy ballplayers retire in their forties.
6. Opera performances help bolster the local economy in ways you might not have considered. Did 1600 people just attend Carmen downtown? Gee, do you think any of them might, you know, eat something before or after the show? Are they paying parking fees? Buying gas? Paying tolls? Could some of them be staying overnight and making a getaway of it? Cha-ching, baby…
5. What are you going to do with an empty opera house, exactly? Too small for monster truck rallies, too big to rent out for bar mitzvahs.
4. If your opera company goes belly-up, it’s one less job for the music critic at your newspaper. Do you really feel good about hastening the death of old-fashioned print newspapers?
3. Once opera is gone from your town, it’ll be the devil’s own business to get it back. Remember from high school: “An object at rest tends to remain at rest; but a soprano on stage tends to remain singing.”
2. Opera companies rely on local artists – some of whom may be your friends and neighbors – to provide the chorus. For many of these folks, who likely dreamed of a career in music in bygone days, singing in the chorus is their only remaining outlet for performing. If you take that away from them, they’ll be desperate and (I’m just warning you here as a favor) might show up at your doorstep at 4 a.m. to sing the “Anvil chorus”. And finally,
1. You should support live opera because you know it’s the right thing to do, and every time you do what you know is right it makes you feel happy.
To see more from Glenn Winters, visit the following link: The ABCs of Adult Opera Education
Glenn Winters received the Doctor of Music from Northwestern University; he also holds the B.M. and M.M. in piano performance from Indiana University. His background includes teaching college-level piano, arts administration at two universities, and extensive performing experience as pianist, operatic baritone, and published composer. His original children’s operas History Alive! And Tales From the Brothers Grimm were commissioned by Virginia Opera and enjoyed successful state-wide tours. Mr. Winters joined Virginia Opera in 2004 as Community Outreach Musical Director.