Monday, June 29, 2009

Opera and Bob

Great work at Pride everyone!  It was such fun to hear you this weekend!

Maggie has written about the reactions she received this weekend to the word 'opera'.  I think that the responses are part of the reason we chose Opera Bob as our name. Maybe the word combination causes people to think 'opera' (okay-- love it or hate it) 'bob' (huh?this sounds interesting and kind of quirky. What is it?).  

As musicians, we all know and love and get the 'opera' part.  However, the 'bob' part is trickier. This weekend made me stand back a little and ask myself, as our website asks, who exactly is bob? 

Is bob clever marketing designed to get people in the door?  Is bob the adventuresome side of artists willing to think and work outside the box?  (And if so what box, and how far outside?) Does bob represent a style of production that presents classical music in unusual ways? Or does bob perform unusual music?  Or does bob pair unusual music with classical tradition such that both are heard differently? Or is bob an open book policy for experimentation? What aspects of our Opera Bob performances this weekend were authentically bob and really worked for the audiences?

As a member of Opera Bob's official publicity and marketing advisory committee of course it is my responsibility to ask these questions and to make sure that our identity is reflected in the marketing material.  As an artist, these questions tap into larger questions for me about classical music and its role and presentation in the 21st century....





Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pride Day 1

End of our first day at the Twin Cities Pride Festival. We made a lot of new friends for Opera Bob. People who love opera are ready for more opera here in the Twin Cities. We have two performances at Pride in the History Pavillon, so if you are coming to Pride on Sunday the 28th stop by and hear our singers and Eric at 1:30. It is exciting for me to be a part of building something new. Producing is a new job in the opera for me, I have a huge learning curve and I am surprising myself. I was the girl who couldn't sell Girl Scout cookies but today I was hunting down advertisers for our Fringe Festival program. I guess my love of opera won out.

Post by Janet Fried, a very new General Manger

Opera Bob comes out to Pride!!

I learned 2 things today...

1. To get noticed at Pride, dress appropriately: BRIGHT COLORS and BLING!! It's amazing how far you can get with those two things. Tomorrow I intend to add glamour hair and gloves, if the weather allows. I'll report back.

2. The opera stigma is pretty entrenched and needs some serious retooling.

As soon as you say the word 'opera,' you get one of three responses:

1) positive,
2) curious and tentative, or
3) hostile/disgusted.

And sadly, the last of these is the most common. It's would be one thing if we were a haughty, mean-looking bunch of people, it would be one thing. But we're normal (or at least close), outgoing, friendly, and non-threatening. I think this might be OperaBob's greatest challenge...enlightening new audiences. Opera is fun, inspiring, and can really speak to modern audiences, if they're just open to the experience and willing to accept the form as something different from film and Broadway. And yeah, it's not something mainstream audiences come into contact with every day, there's a few more layers to it than anything Jerry Bruckheimer puts out there. But it's not like you need a Masters' in opera to get it. In fact, I know TONS of people who have that very distinction, and STILL don't get it.

If anyone out there in the blogosphere has ideas on coaxing shy, curious opera virgins out of the shadows (or ideas on defusing the savagery from the anti-opera crowd that is merely operating out of ignorance), give a shout out.


The Tent Is Up!!!

Eric, Janet, and Jill finish setting up the tent for Pride.

Phil and Jill begin the set up for Pride.
You probably thought that being a composer just meant writing notes-didn't you?

Post by Phil

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Opera Bob at Pride!

Bob’s singers are hard at work preparing scenes for our performance at the upcoming Twin Cities Pride Celebration on Saturday, June 27. The cast is working diligently in nightly rehearsals, reaching for the perfect balance of musical and dramatic perfection. Selections for Pride include a wide variety of pieces, new and old: scenes from Conrad Susa’s Transformations, Ambrose Thomas’ Hamlet, Mozart’s Clemenza di Tito, Alexander Borodin’s Kismet, and world premieres of several pieces by Opera Bob’s own composer-in-residence, Dr. Phil Fried.

Performances will take place in the History Pavilion on the east side of the lake in Loring Park. Opera Bob will take the stage at 2:30pm on Saturday, June 27 and 1:30pm on Sunday, June 28. The forecast is for beautiful weather, and it will be a great day to enjoy opera in the park. Come see and hear Bob’s best!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fringe Pic and Info

Pic by Doug Freeman, of Anna, and yours truly Phil Fried the Axeman.

At the 2009 MN Fringe Festival

Opera Bob Opens His Drawers


Sat, Aug 1 at 8:30 pm
Sun, Aug 2 at 10:00 pm
Mon, Aug 3 at 7:00 pm
Wed, Aug 5 at 7:00 pm
Sat, Aug 8 at 1:00 pm

U of M Rarig Center
330 21ST Ave S


or call (866) 811-4111

Will Graham, Director
Eric McEnaney, Music Director
Phil Fried, Composer
Janet Fried, General Manager

Tricia Van Ee, Parker Anderson-Genne, Anna Brandsoy, Obed Floan, Angela Keeton, Tara Laberge, Maggie Lofboom, Chandler Molbert, Noelle Noonan

Opera Bob is off and running!

Hey Folks!
A tid-bit of our work
Featuring: Tricia, Chandler, and Anna with Eric on the piano.