Though I try to not be snarky when I write these posts, keeping in mind that it's likely I will eventually come face to face with someone whom I've written something terrible about, every once in awhile I just need to take the gloves off. Like everyone other American, I get a lot of junk mail and solicitations, especially from performing arts companies that obviously share/sell their lists of buyers/subscribers among one another. In principle this makes complete sense and I have no problem getting mailings from an arts company or organization that I've never attended. However, when they send me something so ridiculously insulting after they've obviously gotten my name and address from another organization that's actually received money from me I can't help but feel the hair on my neck rise. This is especially true when I receive mailings that are just plain stupid and poorly executed for art forms or organizations I care about or would like to see succeed out of principle if for no other reason.
Where to start?
First of all since, I live in San Francisco, they must have gotten my name and address from another company. In the past I've regularly bought tickets from San Francisco Opera, LA Opera, and the Met, so it's likely one of those companies provided them with my information. Given that, and my San Francisco address, it would seem likely that I'm a person who would willingly travel out of town to attend an opera. Which means I like opera, right? So why would I travel a great distance to sit in a shitty $35 seat? More importantly, why do they think I need to be told that the source for Rent or Pretty Woman is an opera? I already know that.
Next, "Think you don't know anything about it?" Hello, I obviously do, which is why you have my name and address in the first place.
My "wallet will thank me"? Really? What planet are you from?
"It's cool" because Willem Dafoe and Mary Kate Olsen like opera? This is the most egregious insult of all. No, it's cool because when done right it's the most sublime form of all the performing arts, incorporating music, theater, dance, literature and stagecraft into a seamless experience that is unlike any other. That's why it's cool. I couldn't give a fuck about what Jeremy Irons thinks about it, though I would love to sit next to Parker Posey or Claudia Schiffer during a performance of Tristan and Isolde. If you can guarantee that, consider the seat sold. Having confessed that, I don't think they'd be in the $35 seats the brochure is promoting.
"Be Social"? Huh? I don't even understand what this means in relation to making a decision to go to the opera. Do they mean "go see Boheme instead of playing Beer Pong with your buddies?"
Finally, "It helps my heart"? I'm sorry, but what marketing program did you attend? Who did you sleep with to get this job? This is simply the lamest pitch I have ever seen from a professional organization in my life. Seriously? You expect this to get me to buy tickets? From out of town?
Never mind the fact that the schedule only would allow me to see one opera during a trip. Never mind that the programming is so safe that the choices are all things that I've likely seen before (perhaps multiple times). What you have going for your season is some unusually good casting for a smaller market in a city that everyone I know agrees is a pleasant place to spend a weekend.
Aria serious? Wake up, please. Opera needs real professionalism to bring in new audiences and attract the out-of-town visitor. Your brochure is so lame that regardless of your strong casts, it simply puts me off because it doesn't speak to anything that made me interested in the art form in the first place. Spread that around college campuses if you must- but don't put that crap in the mail.