Thursday, September 23, 2010

Two Scoops of Opera

I am an expert. So say the folks over in our Education Department (talk about experts, those smarties!) who have asked me to help out with a really cool project.

It’s called Generation OC (that’s Opera Colorado, not Orange County), and it’s a multi-week course in a local junior high all about opera. (No, you can’t audit the class.) The project teaches a select group of eighth graders the ins and outs of an opera company: marketing, budgets, grantwriting…all the behind-the-scenes stuff that gets the opera onto the stage itself.

So they asked Yours Truly to talk to these kids about marketing and opera, and Monday of this week I set out to enlighten – and talk about fun! These kids were so excited about the project. I even heard one say happily, “That’s right, It’s Gen OC day!"

I broke marketing down as “giving information to get a desired result” and explained that marketers think about four elements when creating any kind of message: Audience, Information, Emotion and Action. I used a lot of real-world examples, and understanding how messages are created and interpreted is something that’ll help these kids far past this class. And that’s the goal of this project: using opera to teach real-world skills.

I really enjoyed working with the kids. As part of their final project, they’re going to come up with a marketing message for La Bohème. Some are doing TV commercials, some are doing magazine ads, and they can’t wait to get started. It was incredibly inspiring to see younger people get excited about opera. Maybe in ten years, I’ll see them again…buying tickets and remembering their first exposure to opera. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Ciao for now!

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