So, before last night's second performance of The Golden Ticket, I'm sitting in the green room on a big easy chair with 5 minutes to go before curtain. All dressed up as Veruca, with my blonde banged wig and my pleated lavender skirt, I pull out my iphone and start looking at facebook. As I'm scrolling through my "live feed" of various status updates, I see that NPR, who I follow on facebook, has posted a new story - about the Golden Ticket! The story was about the composer the librettists long journey of about 10 years to get the opera finally premiered, and it already had something like 67 comments. The comments ranged between very positive and excited ("Wow! I wish I could see this - it sounds amazing!") to extremely negative ("What a stupid idea - why would they ruin this beloved story with something as horrible as opera!!!"). I sat there for a minute wondering what to do, but then I went ahead and left my own comment. It said:
Hi everybody on facebook! My name is Jennifer Rivera and I'm writing this from my iPhone backstage where I'm about to sing Veruca Salt in the second performance of The Golden Ticket in St Louis. I'm sorry some of you seem opposed to this idea, but I'm here to tell you that this opera is uttery fantastic, and everyone who has actually seen it loves it! It moves people, makes them laugh and cry, and gives us a beautiful soundtrack to enhance our imaginations. Gotta go - just got called to the stage!!!
I just checked back and not only were there a lot of people defending the opera, including a few who had actually seen it (hello - don't judge something until you've actually seen it!) and even a couple of people who commented on my comment to tell me I did a great job! So that, my friends, is how it goes in this new century of technology everywhere.
And by the way, people DO love it. I just read another excellent review this morning, after the main St Louis paper raved about The Golden Ticket the day following the premiere. And for a bit of fun, and to see what it all looks like, check out this video by Greg Emetaz of the audience reactions from opening night (especially the kids) interspersed with clips from the opera itself here. In a few days, there will be short documentaries about the making of the show which will also be posted on the Opera Theatre website, and which will give you some more shots of the production, and allow you to hear more of the score, plus meet some of the singers.
In the meantime, I've gotta get off this computer and study some baroque music. I leave in 10 days for Europe to begin rehearsals on L'Olimpiade, by Pergolesi, and I gotta get that sucker into the old noodle, and quick.
Jennifer, the piece looks absolutely wonderful, as does your performance in it! How exciting to be the first interpreter of a role. This looks like it will bring a lot of joy to a lot of kids - young and old :-) - through the years, so congratulations to all who are involved. Opera dearly needs new works of excellent quality to stand along side the old warhorses, of which we'll never tire.
You are truly a brave soul to risk the terrors of the web just before making an entrance, I must say... For what it's worth, a lot of stupid (as in truly ignorant) stuff makes its way onto internet threads everywhere, as I am sure you already know, so you can safely ignore a bunch of it and know that the real truth is the reaction of the people sitting in front of you as you sing and act your heart out.
Bravi tutti! (Special kudos to that little Charlie, also; such a beautiful boy soprano voice.)
Jennifer - We've heard nothing but great things about the opera. So glad that two people - you and Mike - with Portland connections are part of this new opera. Wish I could be there to see you.
Matt (Portland Opera board member)
Thanks for posting the link to the video - it looks like so much fun! And good for you for sticking up for the show on the NPR comments. I'm sure those people weren't expecting one of the performers to respond to them!
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