Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Opera Wednesday

You'll understand when I say I don't want you to take this the wrong way. I'm grateful to live in a city that has live opera; when we lived in the Metroplex, we had two, and here in the Twin Cities, we're fortunate to have one that has frequently staged good productions, some very good.

That's why I wondered what we were to make earlier this month of a press release that announced a new mission, vision, and visual identity for said opera company, the Minnesota Opera. First things first, the new visual identity - or, as we used to call it, the logo. It's a flexible logo, we're told:

According to the press release, "The rotation of key letters within the logo shows the Minnesota Opera is always looking to present opera in unexpected ways." Now, I don't know about you, but when I see this, my first thought is, "Hey - it looks like someone kicked over the R!" Granted, that would be unexpected - I know of no reason why anyone would want to do such a thing, but there's no accounting for behavior anymore." Anyway, if the R was really flexible, it would have bounced back instead of laying on its back like a turtle, wouldn't it?

Then, there's the vision. I would have thought that the new logo - er, visual identity - was the vision, but apparently not. The vision, which tells you what the Minnesota Opera envisions, is - and I'm taking this verbatim, in it's entirety - "Minnesota Opera will sing every story." Which is a good thing, because if I'm not mistaken, an opera that doesn't sing its story is called a play. (An opera that only sings part of its story is called a musical, because it's usually rather lighthearted, unless it's sung in German, in which case it's called Singspiel, and it's probably written by Mozart. That would also be peformed at the Minnesota Opera, but it's probably best not to ask them to explain it.

Finally, we come to the mission. Again, I might have thought that the mission was to sing the story, while the vision was the new logo, but be that as it may, the vision of the Minnesota Opera is as follows: "Minnesota Opera changes lives by bringing together artists, audiences and community, advancing the art of opera for today and for future generations." Actually, as mission statements go, that's not a bad one, although you can tell it was probably crafted by a committee; I might have suggested something a little simpler, such as "Minnesota Opera makes lives better by introducing to them the pleasure that only opera can bring, performed to the very best of our ability."

So that's our hometown opera. If I sound a bit harsh, I really don't mean to. Regular readers know I've hammered away at them for years, and now that we're back I expect I'll probably pick up where I left out, but it's only done because I care. I'm underwhelmed by the new season, but again that's nothing new; it seeems as if every year I'm left pleading for the MN Opera (I'll have to get used to the new nomenclature, I guess) to go back into its heritage and produce some of the underperformed works of the past, and not simply to keep commissioning new works. I'll grant you Silent Night, and there have probably been noble efforts here and there, but certainly, in these volatile political times, someone could spare a thought for The Consul or The Crucible, both Pulitzer winners, couldn't they?

Anyway, a fella can dream, can't he? If the MN Opera wer to put one of those on, I'd get so excited I might just flip a letter myself.

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