The Death of the Barber of Seville
A Night at the So-Called OperaIn early May of 2004, we went to a matinee performance of The Barber of Seville, put on by Opera Colorado. We've been to quite a few Opera Colorado performances over the years, and we've generally enjoyed them - sometimes moderately, sometimes greatly. There was nothing to alert us that Opera Colorado has been taken over by faddists on a mission to broaden the operatic horizons of us hicks with or without our cooperation. In this case, "broaden our horizons" means "subject us to sophomoric garbage."
An Angry LetterThe details of the garbage are contained in the angry letter we wrote to Opera Colorado a few weeks later. Click here to read our letter.
A Smirking LetterWe wondered if we'd get any reply at all. What we did get was a letter making it clear that Opera Colorado doesn't hesitate to lose long-time customers. Click here to read their response.
An Alarming ReviewThe review, or article, mentioned in the letter from Opera Colorado is here.
Note the cloistered elitism of the music world, the adolescent know-it-all condescension: "[Y]ou've got to educate your audience." No, you silly child, you've got to listen to your audience. You have to be able to admit to yourself that you can learn from them.
Goodbye to Opera ColoradoDid we really expect a ticket refund and a promise never to stage another opera in a way that would earn our disapproval? Of course not. We did think it reasonable to expect a polite letter and a sincere expression of regret that longtime Opera Colorado customers had been so disappointed that they would not be coming back. We did not expect a smug, arrogant "f--- you."
So is this the public face of professional opera in Colorado? Opera fans should think twice before giving these twits any of their money.
PostscriptSome time after all of this had happened, I put up the Web pages you're reading now. This has had a few results.
The person at Opera Colorado who had responded to our first letter read our Web site and sent us (via e-mail) a slightly less unapologetic one, which you can read here.
Still later, the Denver Post's Kyle MacMillan wrote approvingly about Opera Colorado's plans to murder Rigoletto. He included this:
Which in turn brought a few lovers of opera to our site. From their e-mails, some of which you can read here, it's clear that we're not alone in our desire to see operas performed unmangled.