Tag Archives: #operaplot

#operaplot winners announced (irony and post-modernism are shut out)

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The judge has spoken and the winners have been announced. (I was kinda hoping that Jonas Kaufmann would record this momentous announcement in rich Wagnerian tenor in a full orchestral setting).

With almost 1000 entries, narrowing the field to 5 winners was surely a daunting task and there was no doubt that many worthy entries would be passed over. The decision was bound to be a highly subjective one, depending largely on the sensibilities of the judge and his/her own sense of humor.

By almost any measure, Kaufmann has shown himself to have very conservative tastes. The winning entries are largely straightforward summarizations with the only the gentlest of twists. The most “modern” opera is Elektra (1909). It appears that Kaufmann had little appreciation for anachronism, post-modernism, or any pop culture references at all (with the exception of Daniel John Kelley’s txt-speak paraphrasing of Eugene Onegin). Based on these selections, I would guess that were Kaufmann to take a Meyers-Briggs test, he would test very high on the Sensing (as opposed to the iNtuiting) axis.

As a result, there are easily dozens of very clever entries that are going unnoticed, and that’s a shame. I’ve done pretty well myself (the extra effort of recording the Oedipus #operaplot paid off with a “Best creative use of an #operaplot” mention and my Gen-Yers misunderstanding of La Boheme was appreciated by the folks over at the English National Orchestra) but many of my favorite entries from other #operaplotters have been tragically overlooked. Regular readers know I have a deep appreciation for the ironic and the post-modern (and a complicated love-hate relationship with genre mashing). I rank so far on the iNtuitive axis that I have a hard time even making conversation with Sensors (my own wife is an N, and problems still pop up because she’s JUST NOT N ENOUGH DAMMIT!) Clearly my list of the five strongest #operaplots would look quite different. In fact, it would look more similar to the five randomly selected #operaplots that received Decca CDs than Kaufmann’s official list!

So, my fellow ironists, satirists, and post-modernists, I solemnly commit myself  to attaining a level of professional fame and notoriety sufficient to  reach the exalted position of #operaplot judge so that your ironic, satirical, and post-modern #operaplot entries can receive the recognition that they deserve!

3 Responses to #operaplot winners announced (irony and post-modernism are shut out)

  1. […] More #Operaplotting | It’s Time To Admit That I Have A Problem | How To Write An #Operaplot | Operaplot Winners Announced – Irony And Postmodernism Are Shut Out Vancouver Opera Blog – Do You Operaplot? Another Musicology Blog It’s The Most […]

  2. Hi Brian,

    Appreciate your comments/critiques on the whole #operaplot deal, and got a chuckle out of your “scholarly taxonomy” of entries. That is part of the fun, isn’t it, seeing the disparate roads people can travel within 130 characters?

    Having now unexpectedly finished in the top 5 for two consecutive years, and neither time having had what I thought was my best entry selected, I can understand whence you’re coming in your analysis. Both years, I had personal lists of my favorite 3% or so (that included liberal doses of @MMmusing, @nbrockmann, and @frindley), and have been completely shut out in those picks, if memory serves.

    The wild card is always the particular judge’s sense of humor, of course, and so we’re always at risk of something not translating, especially with regard to the snarkier, more irreverent wing of our culture. For my part this year, recognizing that potential for misunderstanding, I tried to spread my entries around: a couple of limericks, a couple mildly snarky ones, a couple with a more ‘literalist’ bent, and a couple of wild cards. I figure it’s my best shot, in case the judge doesn’t share my sense of humor (which tends more toward wordplay and snark. I’m still hoping we’ll get a judge one day who fully appreciates that most elegant of creatures, the #operaplot limerick). I’d like to think others will adopt the same strategy as time goes on; flexibility is key in subjective matters.

    At any rate, my point is only this: the contest gets better when we offer constructive criticism, which you and I and others have done in blogs and on @missmussel’s website. However, you and @jenniferstumm and even @eighthblackbird really put those of us who do win in an awkward spot when you deride the winning entries as “tame”, etc., publicly (especially using what is now an otherwise quiet hashtag). It’s not our fault after all, that the judge chose the entries he did, but as no one else gets his entries critiqued publicly by the masses, could we also perhaps keep criticism of the winners in perspective, too? We’re just opera enthusiasts and logophiles like you, who happened to get lucky, and I think all of us know that we did, so the public critiques come off as particularly harsh in that light.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and consider this. From one extreme iNtuitive (INFJ) to another, I’m looking forward to playing the game with you again next year.

    Very best,
    James (@musicbizkid, aka the luckiest #operaplotter who ever #plotted an #opera)

  3. Brian Rosen says:

    Hey there James. Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

    I certainly was concerned about trying to state my observations and opinions about the winning selections while being sensitive to those who did win (yourself included). I tried to use objective criteria, noting the nature of the winning selections rather than imposing too much judgement. (“Straightforward” and “conservative” is as harsh as I get.)

    I do agree that the best gift we can give each other as #operaplotters is the gift of attention. No one likes slaving over a clever bon mot only to see it lost in a sea of other #operaplots, which happens all too easily. I’d venture a guess that if not for the added value of actually producing an audio track, my Oedipus #operaplot would have been completely unnoticed. (I’m still frustrated that my own Nixon in China #operaplot has barely registered a blip on anyone’s radar. Come on, that’s frickin inspired!) I ultimately decided to write this entry not to dismiss the winning entries, but to ensure the many many un-winning entries that their efforts were not for naught, and to reenforce their suspicions that being declared an official winner should not be considered the sole yardstick for success.

    Unfortunately as an ENT, I know that I can easily bruise an INF without even realizing it. That certainly wasn’t my intention. Hopefully it’s nothing a nice dinner at Mangia! and a good opera won’t solve. 😀

    Oh… did you take any classes with my good friend Jon Holland at Berklee? He was my “little brother” at Interlochen Arts Academy way back when…

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How to write an #operaplot

Looking through the 900 odd (sometimes very odd) #operaplot entries, I started noticing some distinct trends, a number of “schools” of #operaplot authoring. This isn’t that surprising, there are only so many ways one can distill a multi hour convergence of music and theater into a coherent series of 140 characters (130 excluding the #operaplotContinue ReadingContinue Reading

12 Responses to How to write an #operaplot

  1. Chickenfeet2003 says:

    “Batter my ears three noted score” was Dr. Atomic

  2. Dale Matt says:


  3. Irene Vartanoff says:

    Irene Varatanoff (to my knowledge) does not exist, and this entry is not one of the 25 I submitted under my correctly spelled name. But the entry is very good, so whoever wrote it, congrats.

    • Brian Rosen says:

      Ah. You’re right. I copied that off of the OM summary, but searching the twitter archives shows that its actually RalphGraves’ submission. Thanks for letting me know!

  4. Brian/MvsT: This is a fabulous collection and assessment! Thank you! I love being defined a lyric…but, you see, I’m really a dramatic coloratura trapped in a lyric’s body! 😉 😉

    You too have proved that the body of strong entries is quite large… 30 or so, me thinks. Honestly, I think J.K. should just set up a pin-the-tail-on-the-entry to pick the top 7, it’s so subjective this year.

    San Francisco, eh? Perhaps our paths will cross one of these days.

    Enjoy my “Best of…” here:

    • Brian Rosen says:

      Yah. I have my favorites, but it will all depend on his sensibilities.

      I’m sure our paths will cross. I’d venture that we have several facebook friends in common. And if the ROTL prod of Into the Woods you were in was the one with Maggie as Cinderella (as far as I know, the only one they’ve done), I’ve seen you on stage.

      • NO WAY! That was indeed the production, and Maggie was my Cindy. TOO FUNNY! (Is she a friend?)

        That was in the earlier beginnings of ROLT. They just won 6 BATCC Awards…they’ve come a long way!

        Take care!

        • Brian Rosen says:

          Yep. Maggie’s a good friend. We’ve been in several shows/operas together. She’s played my wife at least once. She’s actually the main reason I saw that production (I had just finished music directing her in A Little Night Music.) I’ve heard great things about ROLT these days. Lots of friends in their productions. I would have LOVED to do Jerry Springer this time around, but I’ve got prior commitments. 🙁

  5. […] wrote a fantastic assessment of several emerging categories of entries titled: “How to write an #OperaPlot.” My La Traviata/Copa Cabana entry was grouped under “Lyrics.” I jokingly posted […]

  6. […] my above “Copacabana” Traviata entry was included in musicvstheater’s “How to write an #operaplot,” under “The Lyrics,” on his blog Music vs. […]

  7. […] Digestible Opera Chunks | More #Operaplotting | It’s Time To Admit That I Have A Problem | How To Write An #Operaplot Vancouver Opera Blog – Do You Operaplot? Another Musicology Blog It’s The Most […]

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It’s time to admit I have a problem…

I wrote one more #operaplot tweet today. It’s for Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex. But as a rap. I thought that would be particularly appropriate, since the whole show is about Oedipus’s hubris, which seems to fit right into the rap genre.  So this is what I came up with… Oedipus Rex Ego Rex,yo! With my madContinue Reading

16 Responses to It’s time to admit I have a problem…

  1. Dave Moschler says:

    I have to say Brian, this is pretty amazing. Sort of like Prince Paul meets PDQ Bach. Definitely one of the best #operaplots I have ever seen (does #operaplot allow submissions for opera-oratorios?).

  2. Becky says:

    Love this Brian!

  3. Andy Mayo says:

    Actually, it sounds like Humpty. I think you’ve got an 80’s thing going on, or perhaps an early 90’s thing. But don’t quit the day job…

  4. Jennifer Peterson says:

    Word, yo. #operaplot

  5. Michael Fitch says:

    Guess what Stravinsky is going in his grave right now?

    (Ha ha, you thought I was going to say Rolling over!)

    Truly one of the best raps I’ve heard in the CIR (Caucasian Intellectual Rap) genre.

  6. […] with shimmy. This year’s competition features Jonas Kaufmann as the judge, and inspired a rap song and a movie trailer. I am a total […]

  7. […] rhyming couplets and limericks as well as dazzling displays of wit.  There’s even been a rap and an epic film […]

  8. Sister says:

    Oh no he di’int’.

  9. […] A hysterical rap by Brian Rosen. Watch out, he’s going neo-classical on yo’ ass. […]

  10. Gale Martin says:

    This was brilliant!!!! Good luck from a fellow wangsta.

  11. […] Best Creative Use Of An #Operaplot: Brian Rosen (MusicVsTheater) for his Oedipus Rex rap […]

  12. […] auch ausgehen mag Music Vs Theatre – Easily Digestible Opera Chunks | More #Operaplotting | It’s Time To Admit That I Have A Problem | How To Write An #Operaplot Vancouver Opera Blog – Do You Operaplot? Another Musicology Blog […]

  13. […] Did you have a favorite–yours or anyone else’s? I thought Brian Rosen’s Oedipus Rex rap #operaplot was brilliant. Probably made more brilliant by the fact that he recorded it: http://blog.musicvstheater.com/2010/04/30/operaplot-madness/  […]

  14. […] my way back to the office, I stopped to grab food, and ran into our friend Brian of the #operaplot rap back in the day, and a very sweet member of the Adler fellowship, also named Brian. He was studying […]

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More #Operaplotting

Instead of working on my own opera I seem to be spending the night trying to summarize other operas in under 130 characters. Hmmm… Maybe in a few years people will be trying to summarize Failing That in under 130 characters. Assuming I’m finished in a few years. Here’s the latest batch: La Boheme “OMG,Continue Reading

2 Responses to More #Operaplotting

  1. Andy Mayo says:


    Do we shiver in anticipation or dread when she takes her clothes off? And is it less horrifying than the head of John the Baptist?

  2. […] Mich Nicht | Wie es auch ausgehen mag Music Vs Theatre – Easily Digestible Opera Chunks | More #Operaplotting | It’s Time To Admit That I Have A Problem | How To Write An #Operaplot Vancouver Opera Blog […]

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Operaplot: easily digestible operachunks.

If you’ve been following my tweets, you may have noticed that it’s #operaplot season! What? You haven’t heard about #operaplot, the brainspurt of that blogging genius over at The Omniscient Mussel? Well, it’s high time you learned. The rules are simple. Summarize an entire opera in one tweet (ie 140 characters, including the hashtag #operaplot). YouContinue Reading

2 Responses to Operaplot: easily digestible operachunks.

  1. gerald rosen says:

    How about some classics:

    La Boheme
    Sub-let available in Soho walk-up. Previous occupant denied treatment by insurance company.

    Madam Butterfly
    Mixed race child up for adoption. Mother comitted suicide because of misunderstood e-mail.

    Sheriff murdered by opera singer. Met contract cancelled. Prominent artist shot in suicide pact.

  2. […] Solang nicht aller Tage Abend – Oper In Kurz | Twitter Will Mich Nicht Music Vs Theatre – Easily Digestible Opera Chunks […]

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