December 2, 2012

Top 10 Ways the Tough Economy Has Impacted the Opera World

You know, it's been a while since I wrote a blog post consisting of a Dave Letterman-style Top Ten list.

You've missed those, right?  Am I right?   ........Hello? <crickets>


Well, TOO BAD FOR YOU, because that's what I'm offering this week.

We all know that the recession has been tough on everybody. Even though recent headlines express cautious optimism that unemployment figures and other economic indicators are showing signs of recovery, many people are still "hurtin' for certain". Every segment of society has been affected by shrinking revenues and slashed budgets, right? What you may not realize is how this has affected the opera world. Dire straits, people, DIRE, I tell you! So without further ado (because, really, who needs ado?) I present


No. 10 
Companies planning to produce Verdi's I Due Foscari can only afford one Foscaro.

No. 9 
In that merry operetta Die Fledermaus, the revelers now sing a rousing toast to "King Apple Juice".

No. 8
In Act I of Puccini's La Bohème, Schaunard's groceries now consist of a couple of packs of chicken-flavored ramen noodles

No. 7
Due to the rising cost of fresh flowers, Madame Butterfly and Suzuki now toss corn chips instead of rose petals in their famous ensemble, to be known as the "Cool Ranch Doritos duet".

No. 6
Worcester, Mass. Look - on the left - that's Minnie!!
Minnie, Puccini's Girl of the Golden West, can't come up with the cash for a stage coach, so she now stars in The Girl of Worcester, Mass. 

No. 5
In Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, Octavian now presents Sophie with a rose he made out of a pipe cleaner and some Reynolds Wrap.

No. 4
Good news - Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten remains unchanged! ...The frau still can't afford a shadow.

No. 3
Another downsized production: Prokofiev's The Love for One Orange and Two Seedless Grapes.

No. 2
In Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, the shepherds' gift to Melchior, Balthazaar and Kaspar consists of a bag of microwave popcorn. Not the butter kind, either - just plain.

No. 1
Vaughan Williams' Riders To The Sea? They're hoofing it on foot or they're staying home.

My book THE OPERA ZOO: SINGERS, COMPOSERS AND OTHER PRIMATES is available from Kendall Hunt Publishing. Order online or by phone from customer service: 1-800-344-9034, ext. 3020.

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