• OPERA LIVELY - MANIFESTO

    Welcome to Opera Lively. Here is some information about the site (and don't forget to click on Forum above for the area with discussion threads, English and non-English language content, and posts)

    Hello, my friends. Almaviva here (well, this is the nickname I've been using for a long time in opera sites - my real name is Luiz Gazzola). I'm the owner of this site, and a passionate opera lover.

    I'm pleased to announce to you a very exciting new project. As you can see, I've created a new opera web site and forum. After long construction, you can already enjoy our site, which is now fully functional.

    I believe that in order to diffuse and support our beloved operatic art form, a lot more is needed than can be achieved by a generalized classical music forum.

    First of all, in certain large sites opera discussions occupy only a smallish part of a larger classical music forum. Up to recently I was part of one such site, where in about 16 months I authored more than 8,000 posts and started several new ideas and initiatives, although I could never have done it without all of you, and without the good folks who offered me this opportunity.

    So, I've given you proof of my enthusiasm and creativity, and like some of you said in your farewell messages when I left that site, I worked hard to contribute to your enjoyment of opera. Now I expect something in return. I expect that you all will be willing to join me in my next endeavor.

    I believe that opera deserves its own specialized venue. Yes, there are other opera web sites in English, as well as blogs, message boards, etc. But rarely (if ever) I see what I would really like to find in such online venues.

    What are these items?

    First and foremost, high quality of content. Those of you who have met me in my previous venue have seen what my Opera In-Depth project has produced, with our rather spectacular collective comments on several of the most important operas - a task I started there, and continued here. That material is probably among the best texts ever made available on the Internet about these operas, and go way beyond the usual fare one can find elsewhere (online encyclopedias, other sites, blogs, etc.).

    Second, modernity. In order to have a high quality opera site, we need the latest software, with the full web publishing capacity, above and beyond merely forum capacity. Just a forum is not enough. We need a full-fledged web site.

    Third, dynamism. Things need to move fast. The opera world is moving fast. We can't afford months and months before every decision is made. The people making the decisions need to be committed to opera, and have opera as the highest priority. Allocation of resources needs to be focused on opera.

    Fourth, not only forum discussions, but journalistic reach. An opera site shouldn't just have a forum, but also, should publish articles and exclusive interviews with real-life opera professionals.

    Fifth, partnerships and connections with the opera world. Such site should cultivate contacts with agents of operatic artists, general managers of opera houses, and should offer links to opera houses' web sites and calendar / ticket information, event announcements, etc.

    Sixth, while the virtual anonymous community is nice, real life contact is also interesting. We should organize conventions and meetings, just like the Opera Convention that I recently pushed forward. We should have groups of members organizing trips to performances. They should report back with journalistic content and pictures. They should use the influence of the website to secure backstage tours and access to artists.

    Seventh, outreach and education. A proper opera web site should be also a content provider, organize online courses, and deliver expertise to smaller communities. We should send a member to these communities to give a lecture, and partner with local opera houses - for example, by developing an In-Depth project about a certain opera that is the next one to be presented by a local opera company, and proposing to the local company the utilization of this material to educate the prospective public. Other than the usual synopsis that the opera company web site contains, a link to the In-Depth article would give to the public the opportunity to learn more about the opera before the performance. I’ve been already in touch with the manager of a regional opera company, and regardless of whether or not this effort pays off, I’ll continue similar efforts until we can get real-life professional opera companies on board.

    Eighth, multilingual capacities. While English often functions as the universal language, and while the main operatic countries like Italy, Germany, and France have their own very active opera sites, there isn't a truly multilingual venue to link opera lovers around the world.

    As a member or even a moderator of other sites, I wasn't in full control, and my vision, ambition, and dedication to this art form couldn't be fully expressed.

    This is why I have decided to launch my own web site.

    I'm the sole owner, administrator, and chief editor. We have the services of an expert in web design and business as chief operations officer. The team of moderators includes Amfortas, Soave_Fanciulla (a.k.a. mamascarlatti), and Festat. Our Journalism department counts on outstanding members sospiro, Elektra, and MAuer. Jephtha is a staff writer; our coordinator is Tyroneslothrop.

    We operate within the law and with due respect to copyrighted material. We are a registered and licensed business (with city, county, state, and the Feds) based in North Carolina, USA.

    Like I said, Opera Lively is up and running with full features. It has started small but it will grow, and will grow fast (you’ve had a taste of how much energy we have).

    The distinctive characteristic is that the site will have a vision. It will have short, mid, and long term objectives. It will be ambitious, creative, and dynamic. It will be firmly anchored in the real-life professional opera world, and will seek all sorts of partnerships and sponsorships.

    English is the site's dominant language, but unlike practically all other online opera venues, Opera Lively will also have sub-forums in Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, and German. English-language area has as moderator Amfortas. Italian and French already count on the services of Soave Fanciulla (a.k.a. mamascaralatti), who is fully fluent in both languages. New member Festat from Brazil oversees the Portuguese side of the project. We have a couple of ideas for German but it's still a work in progress. These non-English language areas will be of course slow to grow, but it is important to have them from the beginning. We may add more languages later (Danish? Russian?). Countries like Brazil with an emerging middle class can't even count on a major opera site. Having a foothold there will increase the exposure, hits, and Google searches of Opera Lively. This local focus will stimulate local communities to join and post their own events and venues.

    Helped by our staff and our members, I intend to create an amazing web site with really, really high-quality content. We're offering it to you, our friends and collaborators, free of charge. It is your home, and we hope that you'll make yourselves comfortable here and will make of it your preferred online venue for operatic discussions.

    As you have noticed, I've mentioned that I had an online presence on a similar site, and initially a good percentage of the Opera Lively members came from there as well (these are the people who know us). But we haven't been only absorbing members coming from my latest online venture. I have other contacts in the operatic world, and we've been doing all we can to attract some amazingly knowledgeable new members to our enterprise.

    We are ethical, fair, and friendly. Certainly we're a competitor to other opera forums, but we intend to offer fair and respectful competition. Part of our Terms of Services includes a statement in the sense that no detrimental content about other online classical music and opera communities will be tolerated here at Opera Lively. We want to see other venues as cousin sites, also dedicated to the betterment of the international operatic community - the more, the better. The good folks who lead other sites are nice people, and we don't want to encourage anybody to quit their current place of membership. We just want to ask you to try us, and to be members of our site as well. We will welcome you with open arms and will do our best to match your expectations and provide to you the best possible experience.

    So, my dear friends, please join us as active contributors. I assure you that you won't regret it.

    Best regards,

    Luiz Gazzola (a.k.a. Almaviva)
    Site Owner/Administrator/Chief Editor, Opera Lively
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