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April 21, 2009

Contest for condensed opera plots to return on Twitter, with grand prizes

Opera fans (or nerds, as the case may be) who are into Twittering can soon compete for cool prizes.

About a month ago, an avid Twitterer and freelance writer in Canada known as Miss Mussel in Twitter-town and Web-world (real name Marcia Adair), started a clever game playing off of the 140-character limit to Tweets: Describe an opera plot in 140 characters or less and win a prize. Actually 130 or less, since you have to include the hashtag #operaplot as part of the entry. Miss Mussell sprung for the inaugural prize money herself. The winning entry summed up La boheme thusly: Seamstress pals around with bohemians in a December-May affair. Receives muff as parting gift.

The contest is about to return, this time with some hefty support behind it. Between 9 a.m. EST April 27 and midnight EST Sunday May 3, anyone with a twitch to Twitter and a knack for operatic brevity can enter. The judge is no less than stellar soprano Danielle De Niese, who will choose three winners.

A whole bunch of opera companies in North America, the UK and Australia have joined in the fun, offering various prizes. In our area, Washington National Opera, the first company to jump in, is particularly generous, putting up a prize valued at about $1,000 that includes two tickets to Turandot (the production opens in mid-May) and two passes to the company's posh Opera Ball.

Click here for contest rules and FAQ.

Posted by Tim Smith at 10:41 AM | | Comments (0)

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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