Jun 19, 2008


One of the things I wanted to do at the OPERA America conference was meet Marc Scorca, President and CEO of the organization. But apparently he is a busy guy (who knew?!) However, I did snag an interview with him, post conference. (Sure to be a career highlight for him, NO DOUBT.) Thanks so much for taking the time for my questions, Marc!
This photo is an Photoshop dramatization of what would have happened if we had actually met: I would have perched on Marc's shoulder and provided profound counsel. We would become BFFs, and he would ask me to lead a session at next year's conference, titled "A Feather in your Cap: The Manifold Advantages of Adding Poultry to your Opera Productions."

What did you personally hope to get out of the conference, and did you?
I hoped we could demonstrate that collaboration among national service organizations at the national level would deliver benefits to all our members across the country and I think we succeeded. The quality of the program and speakers – such as Jim Collins and Jose Antonio Abreu – inspired our members, and was only possible with the resources of our combined effort. The energy generated from the combined experience and perspective of artists and administrators from all the disciplines added a level of intensity that is usually missing from our stand-alone annual conferences.

What are your thoughts on the results of the caucus meetings and the closing Town Meeting?
This was one of the highpoints for me. I was skeptical about our members’ willingness to participate in the caucus roundtables. After two days, though, this was the most talked-about element of the Convention. I walked with people who were rushing to the Convention Center for the next caucus. I overheard people talking about what they learned from other people at their table. Many attendees have reported to me that they were deeply moved by the commitment and brilliance of the people they met at the caucuses. The Town Hall Meeting itself was noteworthy for the energy and good will among participants. Further, we have – for the first time – clear input from our many members about the priorities they would like us to advance with their active participation.

What was your personal highlight from this conference?
As I left the Town Hall Meeting on Saturday a composer stopped me. He told me he had been a volunteer at Ground Zero for two weeks after September 11. (This is a very emotional topic for me, coincidentally.) He went on to say that no event since then has galvanized his commitment to the arts in a way that was achieved during the Convention. I thanked him and then had a good cry. We wanted the Convention to be THAT important and, for this man, it was.

What do you hope all of the attendees took home with them?
I hope they took home with them a heightened appreciation of the level of energy that can be generated by working collaboratively with colleagues from other arts organizations and other disciplines. I hope, too, they brought home a new level of focus on the priorities that were established in the Town Hall Meeting, along with many ideas about how to advance toward our shared vision.

There's certainly a dearth of roles for poultry in opera. Do you think the new generation of composers will finally realize the dramatic potential we chickens possess?
I hope that after the Convention you would be willing to think more broadly than chickens. You indicate a willingness to consider poultry in general. But it would be great – and a tribute to the Convention – if you could push beyond your comfort zone to consider the experience and perspective of other livestock. Imagine the influence you could have if you worked together!

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