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Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
March 4th, 2012, 08:40 AM
Hi, friends, members, and visitors.

Today Opera Lively is completing three months of existence.

It's been an exciting journey, and I thought I should take a moment to list some of our accomplishments, shortcomings, and future plans.

Opera Lively in numbers and facts:

Readership:
101,857 page hits

Forum:
595 threads
7,448 posts covering the gamut of operatic experience, with reviews of live and broadcast performances, CDs, DVDs, blu-rays, composer threads, an *extremely rich* treatment of contemporary opera and music, singers section including material on past and present singers, educational threads, non-operatic classical music, and various off-topic threads addressing many aspects of the musical experience and life in general
92 members, from countries such as the United States, Spain, Norway, the United Kingdom, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, France, Poland, China, Russia, The Philippines, Argentina, Croatia, South Korea, Slovenia, and I may be forgetting someone.
Posts and areas in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and a handful in Italian and German.

Journalistic Content:
170 published articles
Interviews, either on our own with the following artists, composer, educators, conductors, and opera company directors:
-Juan Diego Flůrez
-Anna Netrebko
-Renť Barbera
-Composer Robert Ward
-Maestro and General Director James Meena
-Maestro and Artistic Director James Allbritten
-General Director Eric Mitchko
-Educator Dr. Marilyn Taylor
-Dina Kuznetsova
-Yeghishe Manucharyan
-Dawn Pierce
-Jessica Cates
-Thimothy McDevitt
-Philippe Pierce
-Nicole Rodin
-Richard Ollarsaba
-Kristin Schwecke
Four articles in the Opera In-Depth series:
These are our trade mark, and feature deep analysis of the opera's genesis, musical structure, trivia, characters, voices, discography, and stagings - these articles are arguably one of the best currently available online source of knowledge about these operas:
-La Traviata
-Die Tote Stadt
-Il Trovatore
-Eugene Onegin
Three articles in the Singer In-Depth Series
-Rosa Ponselle
-Claudia Muzio
-Natalie Dessay (ongoing)
Eight articles in the Beyond The Standard Repertoire Series
-Padm‚vatÓ
-Schwanda the Bagpiper
-The Crucible
-Orlando
-Les PÍcheurs de Perles
-Un Giorno di Regno
-Der Ferne Klang
-The Wreckers
Ten articles in the "Once or Twice a Fortnight" Series
-The Pilgrimages of Francis Poulenc
-Pagliacci
-Cavalleria Rusticana
-Opera Podcasts
-Mr. Thalbert Goes to the Opera
-Mr. Liszt Goes to the Opera
-In the Public Domain: Die Fledermaus
-Nikolai Gogol
-Toscanini's 1946 Broadcast of La Traviata
-OTF: Declaration of Principles
Plus, some isolated articles
operalively.com/learn area with numerous articles on vocal techniques, opera terms, other educational themes
operalively.com/see with local schedules in several areas of the United States and some countries
Two ongoing projects in preliminary stages:
Opera Lively's Inventory of Opera Today (it is addressing opera houses, singers, conductors, stage directors, academic departments and conservatories, online databases, libretto sources, streaming sites, print media, online media, etc., etc. - everything that is pertinent today to the production and enjoyment of opera)
Opera Lively's History of Opera

Partnerships:
Official Media Partners with Opera Carolina - Thank you, Maestro James Meena!
Official Media Partners with the University of North Carolina College of Arts and Sciences Department of Music, UNC Opera - Thank you, Dr. Terry Rhodes, and Dr. Louise Toppin!
Close collaboration with North Carolina Opera (Mr. Eric Mitchko)
Close collaboration with Piedmont Opera (Maestro James Allbritten)
Close collaboration with the A. J. Fletcher Opera Institute of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (Artistic director James Allbritten, Voice Depatment Chair Dr. Marilyn Taylor)
Preliminary collaboration with Meredith College Opera Program (Dr. Ellen Williams)

Memberships:
Associate Members of Opera America (a great honor, rarely achieved!)
Members of the International Press Association, including full journalistic registration and press ID

Technology:
State-of-the-art Forum software with vBulletin, and several cool add-ons such as Thank/Like buttons, emoticons, etc
CMS Publishing with vBulletin
Wordpress pages
Professional-looking portal and site design
Integration with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and various Share and Bookmarking tools
Spam control with Spam-O-Matic and contracts with Akismet and StopForumSpam.com
State-of-the-art web hosting with a dedicated private server hosted by a very modern company, making the site fast and responsive, with large storage capacity

Staff
Administrator Schigolch, a true opera scholar with encyclopedic knowledge of the art form
Moderator Amfortas, blessed with a friendly personality, a professional in the theatrical arts, and very knoledgeable about staging direction
Moderator Soave_Fanciulla, a seasoned opera fan with a sizable personal collection of opera DVDs, and fluent in English, French, and Italian
Moderator Festat, fluent in Portuguese, knowledgeable in design, and a professional in the film industry
Media Consultant sospiro, very well informed in the matter of opera publications, blogs, and web sites
Technology Consultant rgz, not only a Natalie Dessay expert, but also knowledgeable in all sorts of software and web resources
Yours truly, Almaviva, just a guy who loves opera and got some disposable income to put together a web site.
Almaviva's son, who designed our portal, banner, and logos, and set up the web site in its beginnings.

And our biggest asset, our members, for whom we've been doing this. Without them, we wouldn't have accomplished anything. Plus, our readers, literally thousands of visitors from all over the world. We hope they (or at least a percentage of them) will also join as members. But if not, we still appreciate the fact that they've been reading us.

One interesting stat attesting to the high quality and high standards of our membership: our moderators so far have *never* needed to issue an infraction! What other Internet venue can say this?

Business side - Opera Lively is a registered and licensed business headquartered in North Carolina, United States, with permits and licenses granted by city, county, the State of North Carolina, and the US Federal Government. We follow all pertinent laws of the land.

Shortcomings:

-Still very small and with a small number of members
-Not very visible in the Internet, practically ignored by search engines
-Participation is concentrated in the hands of some 20 people or so, with most members posting rarely or never
-Two members - Schigolch and Almaviva - are responsible for almost 50% of the content, and the other 50% is being generated by a handful of people - we need more widespread contribution and autorship of article-grade posts
-Seriously deficitary, a money sinkhole that is not self-sustainable
-Mixed results in interacting with artist managers and PR personnel - highly regarded by some who take the time of checking us out and realizing that our operation is high quality and has high standards, while others ignore us
-Sluggish partnership development
-Our presence is only strong and solid in North Carolina, with a few other states and countries showing some small movement
-Our International Area is pitifully small

Plans:
-Continue to establish partnerships with opera companies and academic departments
-Grow from local presence to regional, then to more than one region, then to national, then to international (this may have more than one nucleus - North Carolina is the only geographic area so far where we have a multi-pronged strong presence, but we hope that staff and members in other regions of the world will start to move more incisively into contacting the local professional operatic communities and developing local branches of Opera Lively)
-Increase access to first class artists (face-to-face interviews have been confirmed in April with Natalie Dessay, Matthew Polenzani, and Piotr Beczala; others are being pursued)
-Increase membership recruitment
-Climb up in search engines
-Monetize the site in a way that will make it self-sustainable and able to upgrade web hosting and technological support as needed

Mid-term plan
-Be recognized as a not-for-profit, cultural organization eligible for governmental grants to foster the art form

Long term plans
-Become an online magazine with world-wide reach and readership
-Move into print, by generating books and other publications

Ultra-long term plan
-Become (or generate) a foundation with the mission of supporting the art form

I don't think that any of the above is out of reach. An initiative that has generated so much in 90 days is certain to have a bright future.

My sincere thanks to all of you who have joined our effort and have contributed in various ways.

We are here to keep opera alive. To make of opera something... lively. We are doing it (I mean, we're a grain of sand helping out as we can in our humble way, surrounded by many other bigger grains). And we will continue to do it, more and more.

Happy 90th day, Opera Lively!

:party"