Opera or Soap Opera?

On Dec. 13 I eagerly opened my Los Angeles Times and turned to the Calendar section (“Soaped Up Arts Advertising Just Won’t Wash”). Several times over the prior week, I had received calls from writer Randy Lewis asking intelligent questions on why Opera Pacific and several other Orange County arts groups had chosen to make their advertising different (and we believe more interesting) than the ordinary “here are the prices, this is what we’re presenting, call this number and buy it” offerings.

It was obvious after reading the first two paragraphs of his article that most of the answers to the questions were not incorporated into the piece and that opera was not his forte. I must ask, where does Mr. Lewis think the term “soap opera” got the opera part of its name? Opera was never meant to be a pale imitation of life. From the beginning, it was written rather larger than life. Opera is made up of earthy, gutsy tragedy and sex, broad comedy and unrequited love--pretty heady stuff.

It seems to us that many people may be underestimating Orange County audience appreciation and understanding of opera. We believe opera is grand and glorious and wonderful and that it should be fun. We plan to deliver great performances of those operas/musical theatre works we offer the public and in no way apologize for the flamboyant manner in which we advertise those performances. We know our audiences will not be disappointed or misled.

Opera is for all people, and it is sensational. No other art form combines acting, singing, orchestral music, dancing and every other aspect of the performing arts. It is neither dull, dead, esoteric nor elitist. We see no reason why we should advertise it as such.


Luke M. Bandle

Director of Marketing

Opera Pacific