Random Acts of Culture

I have been woefully absent from Blogging lately. And I feel like I probably should have taken the time to write several entries after moving my blog so I wouldn't lose all my readers, which I fear has already happened. But today I finally felt inspired again, so here goes. At least my mom is still reading (I think...).

I was browsing facebook this morning when I came across a posting from a former colleague of mine turned Artistic Administrator of the Florida Grand Opera. The young artists from that company had participated in something they are calling a "Random Act of Culture" where they surprise people in a crowded setting (often a shopping mall) by suddenly breaking into song. It's similar to those now popular Flash Mobs, where a group of people suddenly breaks out into song and or dance for the unsuspecting crowd. Here's the clip I saw this morning:

I loved watching the faces of the unsuspecting shoppers as the opera singing suddenly descended upon them - they were unabashedly delighted. It just goes to show you that this business about opera being inaccessible is nonsense, it's just that in its traditional form, people are often intimidated by it. But when it takes them by surprise - when they have no chance to get their preconceived notions all lined up about how Opera is either uptight or overwhelming, they can't help but enjoy themselves. 

I was a panelist on this weeks OperaNow! podcast, and one of the articles we discussed was about the possible closure of Cleveland Opera. Michael has created a section on the Podcast called "The Weekly Dirge" where they talk about all the articles related to the downfall of various opera companies in the U.S., and unfortunately hardly a week goes by where there isn't another opera company falling victim to the economy. I made a comment about the fact that it is becoming our responsibility within the American Operatic community to become more creative than ever in our efforts to entice new audiences to come experience and support the opera. And surprising the public into watching opera, and then using the viral videos to then promote the company seems like a brilliant step in the right direction.

 Here is another video that my boyfriend shared with me this morning. It made me smile - especially seeing the little boy stand up and listen in wonder. Who knows if that little guy would have another opportunity to be surrounded by music like that (although the video comes from Canada, where they still support the arts, so you never know). It's good for putting you in the holiday spirit. Enjoy!