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Subject: Advertising Cast Names
From: Howard Hood <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Sat, 8 Apr 2000 10:03:47 EDT
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In a message dated 04/08/2000 8:40:29 AM Central Daylight Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:

<< Our local companies in North Carolina don't advertise the casts either.
 Personally, I think this is a great mistake on the part of the companies.  It
 seems to send a message to the public that the casts are not important and
 the singers are not worth mentioning.  I find myself asking if I should pay
 to go see a bunch of no-names when I can stay home and listen to an all-star
 cast often for free. >>

Opera companies need to sell tickets.  Their advertising is designed to do
so.  I often question the judgment shown in ads which attempt to equate an
opera production with the current hit movie or television program.  This
implies that opera has no value on its own but must be misrepresented as pop
culture in order to appeal to audiences.  The same mistake is made by opera
directors who attempt to change the basic story or setting of the opera in
order to make it seem new.  Or who try to lure people in the door with the
promise of nudity or simulated sex.  Opera should be sold as great music and
drama performed by talented men and women.

If Pavarotti is appearing in an opera, the opera company can be expected to
inform the public of that fact because Luciano sells tickets.  Regional opera
companies such as ours here in Nashville cannot afford to cast Pavarotti or
other stars well known to the public even to opera fans.  The fact that
Papageno will be sung by a talented but unknown baritone is not something
that will help in a publicity campaign.  To fail to mention the name of this
non-celebrity doesn't denigrate him or the importance of the performers
generally.  It may only mean that the opera company thinks it would be better
to have pictures of children in animal costumes in their expensive ads and
commercials.

Whether opera fans choose to buy tickets to see live performances by talented
performers who don't sing at the Met and who don't have record contracts or
press agents is an individual decision.  As a member of a local opera chorus,
I believe that it is important that young singers have a chance to perform
and develop and that audiences be able to see opera in the theatre and not
just on television.

Howard Hood

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