I made a little something for the opera group! Face masks are all the rage now, and necessary if we want to get back to having music in public together. Here are the first 4 mask designs: Akhnaten, Hojotoho!, Arches, and Voice. I’ve ordered all of them and will be posting pictures of how they look in real life. If you ordered one, and want to be featured here sporting your mask, let me know in the comments!
Philip Glass’ opera Akhnaten was the inspiration for this first mask. Drawing on artifacts from his reign, this design combines color and iconography to celebrate one of the highlights of the season.
The second mask, “Hojotoho,” celebrates the legendary valkyries. It also serves up a warning for those around you to keep their distance! Feel free to cut loose with your own majestic battle cry when picking up toilet paper at the supermarket!
Third, we have a more subtle design featuring the iconic arches of the Metropolitan Opera’s facade in Lincoln Center. These semi-transparent arches are repeated in a soothing, textural patten, paying tribute to the mecca of opera fans around the world. This is comes in 5 different colors, and is suitable for even the most conservative environments.
Lastly, this mask unleashes the threat of using one’s opera voice, while celebrating voices of the past: Enrico Caruso, Maria Callas, Luciano Pavarotti, and Leontyne Price.
I hope you find one you like! If you have a special request for a design, please let me know in the comments below!
Stay safe out there and protect those around you by wearing a mask.
Saturday, June 20 Philip Glass’s Akhnaten Starring Dísella Lárusdóttir, J’Nai Bridges, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Aaron Blake, Will Liverman, Richard Bernstein, and Zachary James, conducted by Karen Kamensek. From November 23, 2019.
Akhnaten at the Brooklyn Museum – On November 2, 2019, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, the Mannes Orchestra, and Gandini Juggling came together to give thousands of attendees at Brooklyn Museum’s free First Saturdays event a taste of Philip Glass’s “Akhnaten.”
Music in the Air – One of the most memorable aspects of Phelim McDermott’s 2019 production of Akhnaten was its incorporation of mesmerizing juggling, designed by choreographer and juggling master Sean Gandini, which seems to make Philip Glass’s music appear before your very eyes. By Elena Park
Here Comes the Sun – Throughout his long, prolific, and innovative career, American composer Philip Glass has set the standard for contemporary classical music, so the rare arrival of one of his creations on the Met stage is a major cultural event. The 2019–20 season saw the company premiere of his transcendental Akhnaten, which starred countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo as the enigmatic title pharaoh who radically transformed ancient Egyptian society. By Christopher Browner
Phelim McDermott on Akhnaten – Watch a preview of director Phelim McDermott’s new production of Philip Glass’s “Akhnaten,” starring Anthony Ross Costanzo and conducted by Karen Kamensek.
(Year 1 of Akhnaten’s Reign Thebes.
The opera begins with an orchestral Prelude. The curtain rises towards the end of the Prelude, revealing the Scribe in the funeral setting. He delivers the Refrain, Verse 1 and Verse 2 of the text as the Prelude is completed. In the moments of silence before the funeral begins, he continues his speech through Verse 3)
(Text: Recited by the Scribe from the Pyramid Texts of the Old Kingdom)
Refrain Open are the double doors of the horizon Unlocked are its bolts
Verse 1 Clouds darken the sky The stars rain down The constellations stagger The bones of the hell hounds tremble The porters are silent When they see this king Dawning as a soul
Refrain (repeat above)
Verse 2 Men fall Their name is not Seize thou this king by his arm Take this king to the sky That he not die on earth Among men
Refrain (repeat above)
Verse 3 He flies who flies This king flies away from you Ye mortals He is not of the earth He is of the sky He flaps his wings like a zeret bird He goes to the sky He goes to the sky On the wind On the wind
Scene 1: Funeral of Amenhotep III
(The scene presents the funeral of Akhnaten’s father, Amenhotep III. As the starting point of the opera, it represents the historical moment immediately before the “Amarna period” or the reign of Akhnaten and depicts the society in which the reforms of Akhnaten, reforms which appeared so extreme that they can be called revolutionary, took place. The action of the scene centers on the funeral rites of the New Empire of the 18th Dynasty. It is dominated by the Amon priests and appears as ritual of extraordinary traditional character drawn from The Egyptian Book of the Dead. The funeral cortege enters downstage led by two drummers and followed by a small body of Amon priests who in turn are led by Aye, father of Nefertiti, advisor to the recently dead pharaoh, and the Pharaoh to be)
FUNERAL CHORUS (Text sung in Egyptian by the from Budge, The Egyptian Book of the Dead) Ankh ankh, en mitak Yewk er heh en heh Aha en heh
(As the music goes to the cellos alone, the deceased Amenhotep III enters behind the procession. He appears to be headless and is holding his head in his hands. The music for orchestra, small chorus and solo bass voice (Aye) resumes)
SMALL CHORUS (Text sung in Egyptian by from Budge, The Egyptian Book of the Dead) Ya inen makhent en Ra, rud akit em mehit em khentik er she nerserser em netcher khert
(During the next section for orchestra alone, the funeral cortege, Amon priests and Amenhotep III, moves upstage. Akhnaten and the people of Thebes join Aye downstage. In the final section of the funeral, the people of Thebes and Aye join the orchestra in a last salute to the departing Amenhotep III)
AY, CHORUS Ya, inen makhent en Ra, etc. Ankh ankh, en mitak, etc.
Scene2: The Coronation of Akhnaten
(The short opening to the second scene show Akhnaten alone as the Scribe, Aye and the people of Thebes leave and the funeral cortege departs. Akhnaten’s attendants appear and, by changing his costume, prepare him to receive the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. There is not singing or narration in this section. The next section for orchestra accompanies the appearance of the Scribe, the Amon High Priest, Aye and Horemhab as well as the people of Thebes. Akhnaten has remained with his attendants. The following section includes the trio of Amon High Priest, Aye and Horemhab with orchestra. The dramatic intent of this moment is to prepare Akhnaten to receive the double crown)
AMON HIGH PRIEST, HOREMHAB AYE, LARGE CHORUS (Text: Sung in Egyptian by from Budge, An Egyptian Reading Book) Ye-nedj hrak yemi em hetepu Neb aut yeb sekhem kha-u Neb wereret ka shuti Nefer seshed ka hedjet Mertu netcheru maanek Sekhi men em weptek
(The opening music of the scene recurs as the Scribe announces the names and titles of the new Pharaoh. During this speech Akhnaten receives the double crown from the Amon High Priest assisted by Aye and Horemhab)
SCRIBE (Text Recited from a list of Akhnaten’s titles) Live the Horus, Strong-Bull-Appearing-as-Justice; He of the Two Ladies, Establishing Laws and causing the Two-Lands to be Pacified; Horus of Gold, Mighty-of-Arm-when-He-Smites-the-Asiatics; King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nefer Kheperu Ra Wa en Ra, Son of Neb-maet-Ra (Lord of the Truth like Ra) Son of Ra, Amenhotep (Amon is pleased) Hek Wase (Ruler of Thebes), Given Life. Mighty Bull, Lofty of Plumes; Favorite of the Two Godesses, Great in Kingship in Karnak; Golden Hawk, wearer of Diadems in the Southern Heliopolos; King of Upper and Lower Egypt. Beautiful-is-the-Being of Ra, The Only-One-of-Ra, Son of the Sun, Peace-of-Amon, Divine Ruler of Thebes; Great in Duration, Living-for-Ever-and-Ever, Beloved of Amon-Ra, Lord of Heaven.
AMON HIGH PRIEST, HOREMHAB AYE, LARGE CHORUS (Text: Sung in Egyptian by from Budge, An Egyptian Reading Book) Ye-nedj hrak yemi em hetepu Neb aut yeb sekhem kha-u Neb wereret ka shuti Nefer seshed ka hedjet Mertu netcheru maanek Sekhi men em weptek
Scene 3: The Window of Appearances
(A windowed balcony of the palace used for state appearances. The music from the opening of the coronation scene is heard again, played on large bells and providing a musical and dramatic transition to what follows. Akhnaten is joined by Nefertiti and his mother, Queen Tye. They approach the Window of Appearances and sing, first a solo, then duet, then trio through the window. It is a hymn of acceptance and resolve and, in spirit, announces a new era)
AKHNATEN: (Text sung in Egyptian from Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians) Tut wu-a yeri enti Wa-a wa-u yeri wenenet Perer en rem em yertif Kheper netcheru tep ref
AKHENATEN, TYE Yeri semu se-ankh menmen Khet en ankhu en henmemet Yeri ankh-ti remu en yetru Apdu genekh pet
AKHNATEN, NEFERTITI: Redi nefu en enti em suhet Se-ankh apnentu yeri ankhti khenus Djedfet puyu mitet yeri Yeri kherti penu em babasen
TYE, AKHNATEN, NEFERTITI: Se-ankh puyu em khet nebet Hrak yeri Enen er a-u
(The music continues with full orchestra. Tye and Nefertiti leave Akhnaten alone. He stands gazing at the distant funeral cortege floating on barques across a mythical river to the Land of the Dead)
(Years 5 To 15 Thebes and Akhetaten)
Scene 1:The Temple
(The scene begins with a short introduction for orchestra. We then see an Amon temple and a small group of Amon priests led by their High Priest. They sing a hymn to Amon)
AMON HIGH PRIEST, AMON PRIESTS (Text sung in Egyptian from Gardiner, “The So-Called Tomb of Queen Tye”, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology) Amen men khet nebet Ya-u-nek em em djed Sen er ayu Nek henu nek en En wered ek imen
(The following orchestral section introduces Akhnaten, Queen Tye and a small party of followers, Aten priests, soldiers, etc, of the new order. After surrounding the temple, Atenists, led by Akhnaten and Queen Tye, attack it. Here we see Akhnaten for the first time as the rebel he was, venting his hatred if the old order on the Amon temple. The attack is complete, and the roof of the temple is pulled off as the light of “the Aten” pours into what once was the “holy of holies.” The attackers sing a vocalise, no words being necessary here)
Scene 2: Akhnaten and Nefertiti
(An orchestral transition prepares the scene, which is devoted entirely to a duet between Akhnaten and Nefertiti. With the introduction of the solo trombone, the Scribe begins reciting a poem. The first time we hear the poem it is as if addressed to a god. With the entrance of the strings, the poem is heard again, this time spoken as an exchange between two lovers. During this second reading, Akhnaten and Nefertiti appear. There follows the duet between the two, not alone together. The vocal text is the same poem sung in Egyptian. At the end of the duet the music returns to the orchestra alone. There is a brief pause, then Akhnaten and Nefertiti resume singing while behind them is seen the funeral cortege in a later stage of its journey, this time ascending on wings of large birds to the heavenly land of Ra)
SCRIBE (Text recited and then sung in Egyptian, a love poem found in a royal mummy of the Armarna period, from Journal of Egyptian Archæology, translated by Sir Alan Gardiner) Sesenet neftu nedjem Per em rek Peteri nefruk em menet Ta-i nehet sedj emi Kheruk nedjem en mehit Renpu ha-i em ankh en mertuk. Di-ek eni awik kher ka-ek Shesepi su ankhi yemef I ashek reni er heh Ben hehif em rek
Scene 3: The City
(The Scribe speaks the first part of this scene alone, without musical accompaniment. His speech is taken from the boundary markers or stelæ of Akhnaten’s new city, Akhetaten, The Horizon of the Aten. During his speech, Akhetaten – a new city of light and open spaces that represents architecturally and visually the spirit of the epoch of Akhnaten – appears behind him)
SCRIBE (Text recited from the boundary markers found in the valley at Tel-el-Amarna, in Breasted, A History of Egypt)
Stela 1 And his majesty said unto them, “Ye behold the City of the Horizon of the Aten, which the Aten has desired me to make for him as a monument in the great name of my majesty forever. For it was the Aten, my Father, that brought me to this City of the Horizon. There was not a noble who directed me to it; there was not any man in the whole land who led me to it, saying, ‘It is fitting for his majesty that he make a City of the Horizon of Aten in this place.’ Nay, but it was the Aten, my Father, that directed me to make it for him. Behold the Pharaoh found that this site belonged not to a god, nor to a goddess, it belonged not to a prince nor to a princess. There was no right for any man to act as owner of it.
Stela 2 I will make the City of the Horizon of the Aten for the Aten, my Father, in this place. I will not make the city south of it, north of it, west of it or east of it. I will not pass beyond the southern boundary stone southward, neither will I pass beyond the northern boundary stone northward to make for him a City of the Horizon there; neither will I make for him a city on the western side. Nay, but I will make the City of the Horizon for the Aten, my Father, upon the east side, the place for which he did enclose for his own self with cliffs, and made a plain in the midst of it that I might sacrifice to him thereon: this is it. Neither shall the Queen say unto me, Behold there is a goodly place for the City of the Horizon in another place’, and I harken unto her. Neither shall any noble nor any man in the whole land say unto me, `Behold there is a goodly place for the City of the Horizon in another place’, and I harken unto them. Whether it be downstream or southward or westward or eastward, I will not say, `I will abandon this City of the Horizon.
(The dance, which immediately follows the brass fanfare, contrasts with the heavy traditional ritual of the temple scene which opened this act. Musicians, triangle, wood block, tambourine, appear on stage with dancers, as well as Akhnaten and principal members of his entourage, in a dance that marks the celebration and inauguration of the city of Akhetaten)
Scene 4: Hymn
(The music that follows the dance is taken from the orchestral introduction to the coronation scene and serves as preparation for Akhnaten’s “Hymn to the Aten”. At its conclusion, Akhnaten is left alone. The “Hymn to the Aten” is a central moment of the opera. In it, Akhnaten espouses in his own words the inspiration for his religious and social reforms. The Hymn is sung in the language of the audience)
Hymn to the Aten
AKHNATEN (Text sung in English from Winton Thomas’s English translation published in Documents from Old Testament Times) Thou dost appear beautiful On the horizon of heaven Oh, living Aten He who was the first to live
When thou hast risen on the Eastern Horizon Thou art fair, great, dazzling, High above every land Thy rays encompass the land To the very end of all thou hast made.
All the beasts are satisfied with their pasture Trees and plants are verdant Birds fly from their nests, wings spread Flocks skip with their feet All that fly and alight Live when thou hast arisen. How manifold is that which thou hast made Thou sole God There is no other like thee Thou didst create the earth According to thy will Being alone, everything on earth Which walks and flies on high. Thy rays nourish the fields When thou dost rise They live and thrive for thee Thou makest the seasons to nourish All thou hast made The winter to cool The heat that they may taste thee. There is no other that knows thee Save thy son, Akhnaten For thou hast made him skilled In thy plans and thy might Thou dost raise him up for thy son Who comes forth from thyself.
(At the close of the Hymn, Akhnaten leaves the stage deserted, and the act ends with distant voices singing)
CHORUS (Text sung in Hebrew by Offstage Chorus, from Psalm 104, Hebrew Bible, Masoretic text) Ma rab-bu ma-a-se-kha ha-shem Ku-lam be-khokh-ma a-sita Ma-le-a ha-a-rets kin-ya-ne-kha O-te or ka-sal-ma No-te sha-ma-yim ka-yi-ri-a Ta-shet kho-shekh vi-hi lay-la Bo tir-mis kol khay-to ya-ar
(repeat first three lines)
(Year 17 And The Present – Akhetaten)
Scene 1: The Family
(The stage is divided, one side showing a room in the palace in which can be seen Akhnaten, Nefertiti and their Six Daughters. Outside the palace, on the other side of the stage, are the people of Egypt, soldiers, outlawed priests of Amon and the Scribe. The opening of the scene depicts Akhnaten and his family in a moment of intimacy, oblivious to the crowd outside. As they sing to each other a sweet, wordless song, it is apparent that in their closeness they have become isolated from the outside world. The focus shifts to the people outside the palace. The Scribe, drawing on tablets known as the Amarna Letters that were sent to Akhnaten from Syrian princes, begins to incite the crowd, which presses toward the palace and becomes increasingly restless)
SCRIBE (Text recited from the Amarna Letters as cited in Mercer, The Tel-el-Amarna Tablets)
Letter No. 1: I have written repeatedly for troops, but they were not given and the king did not listen to the word of his servant. And I sent my messenger to the palace, but he returned empty-handed – he brought no troops. And when the people of my house saw this, they rediculed me like the governors, my brethren, and dispised me.
Letter No. 2: The king’s whole land, which has begun hostilities with me, will be lost. Behold the territory of Seir, as far as Carmel; its princes are wholly lost; and hostilities prevail against me. As long as ships were upon the sea the strong arm of the king occupied Naharin and Kash, but now the Apiru are occupying the king’s cities. There remains not one prince to my lord, the king; every one is ruined. Let the king take care of his land and let him send troops. For if no troops come in this year, the whole territory of my lord, the king, will perish. If there are no troops in this year, let the king send his officer to fetch me and his brothers, that we may die with our lord, the king.
Letter No. 3: Verily, they father did not march forth nor inspect the lands of the vassal-princes. And when thou ascended the throne of thy father’s house, Abdashirta’s sons took the king’s lands for themselves. Creatures of the king of Mittani are they, and of the king of Babylon and of the king of the Hittites.
Letter No. 4 Who formerly could have plundered Tunip without being plundered by Thutmose III? The gods of the king of Egypt, my lord, dwell in Tunip. May my lord ask his old men if this not be so. Now, however, we belong no more to our lord, the king of Egypt. And now Tunip, thy city, weeps and her tears are flowing and there is not help for us. For twenty years we have been sending to our lord, the king of Egypt, but there has not come to us a word – no, not one.
(The scene shifts back to the palace. This time Akhnaten is alone with his two eldest daughters. They continue to sing, appearing more withdrawn and isolated from the events outside)
Scene 2: Attack and Fall
(Horemhab, Aye and the Amon High Priest push to the front of the crowd and also begin to rouse the people, Large Chorus. The principals and chorus sing a text taken from the Amarna Letters. Soon the palace is surrounded. Finally, the mob bursts through the palace doors and windows in a wave of shouts, overwhelming Akhnaten and his remaining family and carying them off)
HIGH PRIEST, AY HOREMHAB, CHORUS (Text sung in Akkadian from Mercer, The Tel-el-Amarna Tablets) Lim-lik-mi sha-ri a-na ma-ti-shu Khal-kat mat sha-ri Ga-ba-sha Tsa-na-ta-ni nu-kur-tu a-na ya-shi A-di ma-ta-ti She-eri Gin-Ti-kir-mil shal-nu a-na gab-bi kha-zi-a-nu-ti u nu-kur-tu a-na ya-shi. Ip-sha-ti e-nu-ma a-mel a-mi-ri u-l a-mar i-na sha-ri be-li-ya ki nu-kur-tu a-na mukh-khi-ya shak-na-ti E-nu-ma e-lip-pa i-na lib-bi tam-ti kat sha-ri dan-na-tu Ti-lik-ki Nakh-ri-ma u kapa-si u i-nan-na a-la-ni sha-ri Ti-li-ki-u Kha-bi-ru Ya-nu-mi ish-ten kha-zi-a-nu a-na sha-ri be-li-ya khal-ku gab-bu
Scene 3: The Ruins
(In the silence at the close of the last scene, the Scribe appears out of the chaos to announce the end of Akhnaten’s reign)
SCRIBE (Text recited from Aye’s tomb) The sun of him who knew thee not Has set, O Amon. But, as for him who knows thee, He shines. The temple of him who assailed Thee is in darkness, While the whole earth is in Sunlight. Who so puts thee in his heart, O Amon, Lo, his sun hath risen.
(The next section for orchestra and the Scribe is a reprise, in shortened form, of the opening Prelude. It serves as a transition to the present day and is divided as follows: The Scribe describes the rebuilding of the Amon temples after the fall of Akhnaten)
SCRIBE (Text recited from Tutankhamen’s tomb) The new ruler, performing benefactions for his father Amon and all the gods, has made what was ruined to endure as a monument for the ages of eternity, and he has expelled the great criminal and justice was established. He surpassed what has been done previously. He fashioned his father Amon upon thirteen carrying poles, his holy image being of fine gold, lapis lazuli, and every august costly stone, whereas the majesty of this august god had been upon eleven carrying poles. All the property of the temples has been doubled and tripled and quadrupled in silver, gold, lapis lazuli, every kind of august costly stone, royal linen, white linen, fine linen, olive oil, gum, fat, incense, myrrh, without limit to any good thing. His majesty, Life! Prosperity! Health! has built their barques upon the river of new cedar from the terraces. They make the river shine.
(The orchestral music becomes very full and no action is indicated. Finally the city of Akhetaten appears as it exists in the present: a ruined city, recently excavated, the walls barely three feet high at most. Several groups of tourists wander through the ruins taking photos, exploring, looking about. The last group of tourists is led by the Scribe, now appearing as a twentieth-century tour guide describing to the group what they are seeing)
SCRIBE (Text recited from Frommer’s Guide to Egypt, and Fodor’s Egypt) To reach Tel-el-Amarna, drive eight miles south of Mallawi to the point where you cross the Nile. On the east side of the Nile the distance is less than a mile and can be covered on foot or on donkey. Behind the present village, at the ancient site of Tel-el-Amarna, the ruins known as the palace of Nefertiti are among the very few remnants of the Akhnaten period. Tablets in cuneiform writing, which contain correspondence between Egypt and Syria, were found here and are now the the Cairo Museum. (To see any sights on the Eastern bank of the river you must cross by ferry which carries cars along with the usual donkey carts and local traffic. The ferry docking station is located at the southern end of the town. You should arrive there at least one-half hour before the 6:00 AM crossing. The ferry does a brisk business and you will need every available second for sight seeing. There is nothing left of this glorious city of temples and palaces. The mud brick buildings have long since crumbled and little remains of the immense stone temples but the outlines of their floor plans. In addition to the tombs and ruins of the city, there are several stelæ scattered around the plain which mark the limits of the land belonging to the city, most of them are too widely scattered to visit and are also in bad condition.
Scene 4: Epilogue
(All the tourists have left. The ruined city is empty. The ghosts of Akhnaten and the other principals appear moving about their now-dead city. Singing parts are taken by Akhnaten, Nefertiti and Queen Tye, but they sing no words. At first they seem not to know that they and their city all are dead and now a part of the past. They become aware of the funeral cortege of Akhnaten’s father (Amenhotep III) moving across the background. They form a procession of their own and, as the opera ends, can be seen moving off toward the first funeral group still on its journey to the heavenly land of Ra)
The Metropolitan Opera Horns will be hosting a special edition of their Horn-Makers Workshop today at noon featuring Josh Landress of J. Landress Brass Shop. There will be a lot of fantastic musical guests including musicians from the Metropolitan Opera orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Broadway, the Philadelphia Orchestra and more! You don’t want to miss this!
Stickers are a new feature in Apple’s Messages app, so I thought I’d try my hand at making a sticker pack for the iOS 10 release today.
The Valkyries Sticker Pack contains images of valkyries, Wotan, horses, and greetings. What else would you like to see? Email me!
I’ve made a number of t-shirts for my opera group, so I used those designs as a starting point. I will add more stickers to this pack as time allows. For now, this is just something fun to play with! Enjoy!
So happy to think of spending the afternoon with my favorite group at my favorite activity! Do you know I have mostly given up going to the movies and mostly watching TV because nothing compares to Met Live in HD? I’d rather be reading or going to the opera with my 7000 buds!
I think this list has gotten me through this past year. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
The wonderful insights from folks re singers and performances are so delightful.
Thank you for reasonable administration and for setting out the ground rules clearly.
Thanks for all your hard work, Ann and administrators.
Thank you immensely for establishing the ground rules for this exceptional group.
Your hard work and sensible rules are what have made this such a wonderful, enjoyable group. Bravo, tutti!
Thanks so much for doing this. What an interesting and informative group!!
Thank you for help making this group possible! You guys ROCK!
Many thanks for establishing this page.
Thank you for this and for the recent doubling down on the group’s focus and curtailing off-topic posts. It has helped tremendously.
Very appreciative to be added to this group. Thank you.
Thank you for having me. I look forward to sharing the joy of opera. Pretty much a newcomer to your group, I thoroughly enjoy every last one of you. Thanks for putting out the “welcome mat.”
This page is an invaluable source for me; in helping to accomplishing my goals. Thank you.
Thanks to all you Admins!! This is one of the best run groups I’ve seen on FB.
This is a most wonderful group of interested and informed opera lovers and I love being part of the daily conversations that enrich my love of opera. Thanks for your founding of this forum and group of opera fans!
Thank you…Thank you…Thank you..for my opera lifeline.
Congratulations and well done – I really love this group!
Thank you everyone! This is a wonderful group to be a part of.
Grateful you took the plunge! Love this group.
Thanks to Ann and all the volunteers and fellow members who make this group so fantastic. Listening to Lucia di Lammermoor on BBC Radio 3 which I wouldn’t have known about it not for this group.
Having fallen in love with opera when I was fifteen….(and now am 90)…I must be among the oldest opera “buffs” in our wonderful group! I have been a member of Met Opera Live in HD Fans for about two years, and never miss a single observation or conversation on Facebook… I may not always agree with some opinions, but my horizons are broadened by them and I am still learning about this fascinating art form. I personally thank you and your partners Ann, for opening this window to hundreds of 15 year-olds who, without you, might never even wonder what “opera” is all about.
I love this group. Thank you 😉
Thank you for inviting me to join in. I have been enlightened, Entertained ,educated and appreciate the dialogue! Congratulations!
Thank you, Ann. This is a wonderful group and you all mean a great deal to me. I joined in 2012-ish and was so happy to discover a group of fans with whom I could share my renewed passion for opera. I’ve met a few folks here and formed solid friendships, and gained insight into opera that I otherwise would not have. Happy dance!
This is my favorite group of people.
Thank you so much for creating this group.
Simply incredible accomplishment Ann Caldwell Adair!! Well done!
I’m thankful for your creative vision. It’s enjoyable and very informative
Thanks everyone… It is a joy and an honor to be able to participate!!!!
I can’t remember when I joined but enjoyed it from the start!
Thank you so much dear Ann, and all of the wonderful administrators!!! You are all so wonderful and much appreciated, and the enthusiasm of this group is contagious!!
Thanks and congratulations, Ann. You are to be commended for your diligence in forming and administering this fabulous group. I look forward every day to reading the posts — the best way to keep up with the opera world. Bravo tutti to you and all of the administrators that keep this group on the right path. You are the best!
I joined here two years ago, in the Spring of 2014 , and it is one of the best things that ever happened to me! This group is and will always be my favorite of Facebook. I have met and gained many wonderful friends in these two wonderful years of being a member of this extraordinadry group. I enjoyed and keep enjoying all wonderful comments… we all agreed in many things and we also disagreed in many others and that is the magic of this group, we can all discuss, learn and have different ideas or opinions, whatever if is about our favorite (or less favorite) Opera singers, favorite conductors, stagings, performances, etc, etc… we always had so many interesting conversations! This group is so rich!!! We all have different minds, likes, we all are from different places, we all are so diverse BUT what gathered us here together is our love for our favorite art form, THE OPERA, and thanks to the Live in HD from the MET. Thank you, Ann Caldwell Adair, Pastor S. Blake Duncan, Nigel Gallimore, Kathleen Crisp, Ariadne Sophia Auf Naxos and Theresa McCarty for the wonderful , excellent work as administrators!!! This group is a TREASURE!!!!! <3 Congratulations!!!!! BRAVI TUTTI!!!!!!
Congratulations, Ann. This is an important group.
It’s great to be a member, Ann. People like you make this world of ours a much more pleasant place! Thank you.
My FB fav. Congratulations to all, but especially Ann for such a great achievement. Also love that this is a knowledgeable and civil group.
Love this group and all the comments and fascinating information that gets shared. Thanks for your insight in creating this group, Ann.
Thanks for all the work and time you’ve put into this very enjoyable group.
Thank you dearest Ann Caldwell Adair and all the administrators Pastor S. Blake Duncan, Nigel Gallimore, Kathleen Crisp, Ariadne Sophia Auf Naxos great job! I love this wonderful group. I learned so much here, there are so many people around the world willing to share their knowledge of the Opera, many thanks and continue to enjoy.
Thank you for such a great job. LOVE being part of this group. All best wishes.
To recap, I’m the founder/creator of a Facebook group called Met Opera Live in HD Fans. It’s an international group of fans of the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series which is transmitted live to over 2000 movie screens in over 70 countries. The Facebook group is public so anyone can read the posts and comments, but you must join the group to participate in the discussions.
Since my previous article from October of 2014, the group has tripled to nearly 7500 members. I’ve added 3 administrators for a total of 5. They help with a wide variety of tasks, especially membership.
We verify each new member. Why?
Nearly eliminates SPAM.
Helps keep content focused.
Helps to identify any VIPs joining the group.
How do we do this?
Facebook users wishing to join the group must do this themselves by visiting the group page and clicking on the “Join Group” button. We do not approve members who were added by someone else. We’ve had instances where a well-meaning friend added 20+ of their friends to the group. We did not approve them. 99% did not even like opera and I’m fairly certain they would’ve been angry to start getting a fair number of opera posts in their Facebook feeds. The group has a high volume of activity especially around live transmission dates. It can be overwhelming even for people who love opera. When an unsuspecting soul has been added, they usually add to the high volume with posts like “How do I leave this group?” “Why am I here?” and other similar posts that compound the problem.
We verify that they are a real person by examining their public Facebook profile. If the page is on the tightest security lockdown and we can’t see anything, we may likely deny membership. Sometimes they will request to join again and we will try to engage them in a private message conversation before admitting them. Here are some things we look for:
Does the name look legitimate?
Do they have a real picture on their profile?
Do they have friends?
When did they join Facebook?
We verify that they are actually an opera fan by looking at their Facebook profile. We look for signs of opera and classical music in a few places.
Work – Are they a musician/performer/teacher?
Groups – Do they belong to other opera-related groups?
Likes – Do they like opera companies, composers, singers, etc?
Checkins – Have they checked in to a performing arts venue?
Public photos/posts/comments – Are they arts-related?
Some signs that they are fake accounts/spammers/or trouble.
Majority of public posts are cause/political/military related.
Joined Facebook recently.
Facebook name is suspicious.
Absence of a profile photo.
Belongs to more than 50 groups.
Belongs to many groups beginning with the letters “Met” that are completely unrelated.
Anything that looks suspicious.
As an admin group, we have looked at thousands upon thousands of profiles and get it right 99.9% of the time. When the rare spammer gets through the gates, they usually post right away, multiple times, and one of our admins removes it and bans them almost immediately.
Once we have determined that an applicant should be admitted, we send a private Facebook message that looks something like this:
“Welcome to the Met Opera Live in HD Facebook Group. Please read the “Pinned Post” at the top of the page and “Like” it once you’ve read it. I hope you enjoy our community! — Met Opera Live in HD Fans Admin Team https://www.facebook.com/groups/metliveinhdfans/“
This is an imperfect system because many people do not see Message Requests from people they don’t know, so they miss this welcome message. We have started tagging them in comments attached to the pinned post so they will read it. This seems to be having a positive effect.
We need new members to read the pinned post to understand how the group operates and our community standards. This is what the current pinned post looks like:
Welcome Letter – Revised January 5, 2016
Please read this entire document and click “like” once you’ve done so. Enjoy!
Welcome to the Met Opera Live in HD Fans group. I highly recommend reading through a few days of posts to get a feel for the group before posting. The cultivation of this group has been a labor of love for many years. My hope is that you find a respectful, spirited, curious, knowledgeable, and interesting community.
VOLUNTEER ADMINISTRATIVE TEAM Ann Caldwell Adair, Fearless Leader and Founder Kathleen Crisp, Pastor S. Blake Duncan, Nigel Gallimore, Theresa McCarty, and Ariadne Sophia Auf Naxos (on leave)
We reserve the right to remove comments, posts, or members that are inappropriate.
– Be kind and respectful of other members and the Admins at all times.
– Comments and posts should be constructive.
– Include commentary with links and photos or risk removal.
– Duplicate and unrelated posts will be removed.
– Vulgar, political, sexual, and religious posts will be removed.
– Posts should be written in proper English.
– Problems? Message the Admin Team. We are very quick to respond.
Behavior that will result in removal and possibly banishment includes, but is not limited to:
– Repeated posting of unrelated or offensive material.
– Illegal activity.
– Inflammatory behavior.
– Deliberately picking a fight.
Please check out the events tab for the current HD transmissions and other events.
– If you like to play-by-play opera conversations, you will want to check out the new group Sirius Opera Fans at http://facebook.com/groups/siriusoperafans/
This pinned post is extremely helpful with maintaining community standards and making determinations when a post or user must be removed.
Another huge help with all of this is our Secret Admins Facebook Group. It has been an invaluable tool in being able to discuss problems, train new admins, maintain a unified front (like parents!), and keeping an informal record of repeat offenders.
The end result of all of this work is to have an active, content-rich community that adds to people’s lives in a positive way.
As a technology entrepreneur who is active in the Tampa startup community, I hear repeatedly from other entrepreneurs about the difficulty finding local talent to fill positions which require deep technical skills. The younger people coming out of college just don’t have the employable skills, particularly in iOS programming and web development like Ruby on Rails. These tend to be aftermarket educational add-ons where someone would either enroll in a coding bootcamp like The Iron Yard or teach themselves. Both of those situations benefit greatly from having basic coding skills from which to build. A person with a degree in computer science is not going to learn these skills in most universities. One exception is the highly popular iOS programming course at Stanford.
A student who graduates from high school with a solid basic understanding of coding can successfully go directly into a coding bootcamp and find work as an entry-level full stack developer. This bypasses the traditional career plan of attending a university where costs continue to escalate at a staggering rate. While this could be a great plan for some individuals, it remains elusive due to the fact that less than half of the local high schools offer AP Computer Science as a part of the curriculum. In some cases where the courses are offered, highly qualified teachers are in short supply. Why would an excellent coding teacher accept public school teacher pay when they could double that by teaching at a coding school or becoming a developer in their own right? This is an area where partnerships between industry and public school systems would greatly benefit each other. Industry could mentor students and teachers or even partner with instructors and institutions by offering informational, financial, and/or technical support. In my opinion, partnerships are the most efficient way to mobilize a coding workforce quickly.
On a much broader scale, the need for a basic computer science education for all students is a necessity. Computing is used in virtually every field. To withhold that basic knowledge puts our workforce at a distinct disadvantage, which, in turn, puts our nation behind. Consider the ramifications of this on a much larger scale like national security. What happens when we can’t provide our own citizens to fill those positions in the military and financial systems?
Please write to your representatives in support of computer science education initiatives that provide direction and support to our students.
Where is the talent?
In Tampa Congressional District 12, approximately 10 percent of software developer positions remain unfilled. More specifically, for the 9,960 employed developers, there are 985 open positions waiting for talent. The average salary for these jobs is $88,781. Where is the talent?
With less than half of Tampa area high schools offering computer science education, it comes as no surprise that local firms can’t find local talent.
What needs to happen next
Florida is on the right path with establishing rigorous K-12 computer science standards and clear certification pathways for computer science teachers. The course is set, but support is lacking.
Four areas for improvement
Provide dedicated funding for rigorous computer science professional development and course support.
Offer incentives for institutions of higher education to offer computer science to preservice teachers.
Have dedicated computer science positions in state and local education authorities.
Require that all secondary schools offer computer science.
Ann Adair is co-founder of Thinkamingo Inc, a mobile applications development firm, which she co-founded with her husband Jon. They have two children, one of which is a senior in high school currently enrolled in AP Computer Science.
In April, I had the honor and privilege of representing small-to-medium-sized technology companies in Washington, D.C. again this year. This was my fourth year to participate in what is now called AppCon (App Economy Conference), formerly known as the ACT Fly-In.
What is it? About 50 technology entrepreneurs from all over the country come together in DC, learn about important issues that affect their businesses, then meet with policymakers about those issues.
This year, the main topics were 1) Computer Science Education, 2) Encryption and Cybersecurity, 3) Government Access to Data, 4) Internet Governance, and 5) The Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Monday was spent getting up to speed on hot topics and how they affect our businesses. The day opened with remarks by Rep. Blake Farenthold. He offered a much appreciated perspective on the issues as he has a background in computer consulting.
Next up was the “Anatomy of a Hill Meeting.” This session was particularly important for the new people. I remember my first year there and wondering why I was there and what I was going to do. The big takeaway from this is that as business people, we are there to present our individual voices to policymakers. The ACT staff handles all of the policy experts. I am always relieved to know that I don’t need to be an expert on the law to share how that law affects my business specifically.
After briefings on Monday, we each received our meeting schedules for Tuesday. Since my company, Thinkamingo, makes educational apps, my past meetings have mostly been with the Federal Trade Commission discussing the development and implementation of COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.) This year was much different for me.
It is unusual to actually meet the Senator or Representative and highly likely the meeting will be with one or more staffers. I find this to be a good thing. The staffers are policy experts who are ready to talk about the issues facing constituents and listen to their stories.
Encountered great support for K-12 Computer Science Education, encryption, and cyber security throughout my meetings. These are all issues of national security and must be addressed with the appropriate gravitas. The consequences are an unthinkable scenario of outsourcing NSA jobs to China and building backdoors for the FBI whenever they choose. I do think the majority of our politicians are on the right track here. The trick, especially with computer science education, is to put support behind the rhetoric. Walk the talk, people.
In his office, Sen. Bill Nelson has a model of the new rocket scheduled to launch in 2018, along with a treasure trove of astronaut and space memorabilia.
FTC Commissioner Ohlausen’s office has a patio. The weather was stunning, so we met out there.
Rep. Bilirakis’ Chief of Staff Liz Hittos is a fellow Countryside High School graduate. We discussed getting together with Bilirakis and tour the tech entrepreneur scene in the 12th Congressional District of Florida.
The brilliant people I met at the Office of Educational Technology in the Department of Educaiton are former classroom teachers.
Taking an active part in government energizes me as an entrepreneur and citizen. Developing relationships over time is key to being heard. I’ve learned so much through actively engaging with policymakers. Each year, I reflect on what we’ve accomplished as a business and as a family over the last year and I have new stories to share, both personally and professionally.
This conference is also an important time for me to feel really connected to my business and other business colleagues. Working from home either alone or with your spouse can actually be pretty lonely and can feel disconnected. Sometimes the business doesn’t feel real since we don’t talk directly to customers or have other employees or contractors. Finding those opportunities to have real conversations with people who completely understand you is a relief, frankly, and a reminder that it is reality. Actively participating in The App Association community through the App Economy Conference is a way for me to give back to such a supportive group of people, especially through the Know What’s Inside program.