At thirteen, when I first started writing and publishing under “Opera Teen” with such elaborate pieces such as “Why The Hunger Games Would Make a Great Opera,” a post that aggregated all the Youtube clips of opera references from The Muppet Show, and a call to arms against a twitter account that trolled Anna Netrebko and her fans, I always knew that I’d one day have to leave the pen name when the time came.
What I didn’t know was how much I’d learn, how many people I’d meet, and how much my writing and critical thinking capabilities would grow before it came time to put “Opera Teen” out to pasture. So, instead of a farewell, because I will continue to be the main DC critic for Parterre Box and continue publishing my own writing on my new blog, Rose, Cavalier (still under construction), this is a thank you from a grateful and newly minted 20-year old.
Thank you first to my family who has supported me, encouraged me, and spent many long nights at the opera – they had no idea what they were getting in to. Thank you to the people who read what I wrote, no matter how inane, and engaged with it. Thank you to the listeners who pushed me to develop ideas in my writing and exposed me to more music, more performance, and more language than I could have ever discovered on my own. Thank you to the people who defended me from the viciousness or pettiness that stains our industry and to the people who never made me feel out-of-place as the youngest person in the room.
Thank you to the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, which has been a home for me for four years, and OPERA America, which spearheads the vital work of introducing young people to opera. Thank you to the people that provided constructive criticism, made themselves accessible, and lead by their admirable examples. Thank you to the mentors who have been with me since I started writing, especially Patrick Dillon, Laurie Feldman, and James Jorden. Through them, I learned to trust my instincts, polish my prose, and never forget to stay my writing in the humanity that makes opera such a vital art form to begin with. I definitely don’t achieve all of these objectives with every piece I published, but I feel secure in my goals and lucky to have such goals to be secure in. And finally, thank you to the extraordinarily talented and gracious artists that have made nearly seven years of staying up late on school nights, long train rides, and dragging friends to performances worth it.
When I began to write, my primary goal was to learn as much as I could. Nearly seven years later, my goal has not changed. I’m still continuing to write and learn and if, every once and a while, I can make what I saw onstage come alive for someone that wasn’t there, then that’s all the better. But to those people who were so patient with me when I tried, stumbled, or succeeded, I owe much gratitude.
With many thanks for seven years of fun, friends, and wonderful music, this is Opera Teen signing off and Harry Rose signing on.
Addio, senza rancor