Saturday, March 1, 2008


We were fortunate to take in another highly anticipated evening at the opera this week. This time, Puccini's Tosca at Seattle Opera.

We thoroughly enjoyed the performance, which featured Lisa Daltirus in the title role, and some dude in the orchestra who really got to blow his trombone. Not quite the light-hearted romp that was La Boheme, which was sweet and funny in spite the whole fatal illness thing, it nevertheless delivered with drama and exceptional musicianship. Tosca is an opera singer, and as in La Boheme, the lead tenor plays an artist. The drama features the requisite gruesome twists to the evening's entertainment: there's murder, attempted rape, prison torture, execution, and suicide, followed immediately by giddy applause as the curtain falls. It's a lot like headline news, but with fabulous costumes and beautiful music.

My only complaint was the two 25-minute intermissions. Perhaps the $8 glasses of wine and $2.50 "honor coffee" comprise an important revenue stream, but these long intermissions seemed excessive. Granted, my attention span is large, as is my bladder, so perhaps I'm better suited evolutionarily to endure the long performance. But perhaps the second intermission could be a bit shorter, say 15-minutes, especially considering that the third act was shorter than the intermission.

In any case, all this quality time allowed us to brainstorm innovative alternatives to intermission, revisioning them as halftime activities for fan interaction. We've both served stints in the world of non-profit development, so we're sensitive to the monetary challenges that face arts organizations. Greg offered that the opera might employ halftime entertainers that we enjoy at NBA games. Anyone who has seen Red Panda at a Sonics game can testify to the spellbinding entertainment she provides by balancing bowls on her head while straddling a Yao Ming-height unicycle.

But our key contribution to solidifying the allegiance of Seattle Opera-goers is the t-shirt cannon. It's just what the doctor ordered for an audience wearied by arias of tragedy. The man-beast for the job, of course, is Squatch, who may be looking for work soon. Furthermore, the t-shirt cannon, in addition to delivering exhilaration, can also deliver any soft promotional item, from hot dogs to logo lap blankets, all the way up to the nosebleeds, I mean, the second tier. Add some pumpy "hooked on Wagner" music and young dancers in Spandex, and you've got a recipe for maximum donor excitement.

(BTW, if anyone at Seattle Opera is listening, offering tickets to a young blogger might provide an innovative approach to attracting the interest of new audiences while generating discussion about opera as a vibrant, contemporary art form. Just an idea...)


Andrea said...

If you are 21-39 years old, you can join Seattle Opera's BRAVO! Club for a small fee, get reduced tickets and free wine and coffee during the intermission and much much more! Go to and check them out.

By the way, I was on the edge of my nosebleed set too! Great show!

32 Months in Prison said...

You helped me find Tosca. I loved it. Thanks.