Advertising vs. Reality: Opera America Magazine Editor Responds
Mr. Ficklin humbly acknowledges that his analysis is “unscientific,” so allow me to correct his impression that music publishers have been fickle in their support [of composers and contemporary opera]. Their presence has been continuing and ardent.
On behalf of Opera America Magazine allow me to thank Eddy Ficklin for celebrating the presence of contemporary American composers in our pages (“Truth in Advertising,” July 3). Through our print, digital, and social media presence we continually strive to acknowledge the achievements of all opera stakeholders―board and administrative leaders as well as directors, designers, and singers―but we are indeed particularly proud of our editorial coverage of new music: In the past year we have reported on the achievements of dozens of contemporary composers, from the 24-year-old Matthew Aucoin to the 88-year-old Carlisle Floyd. The cover story of our forthcoming issue features emerging female opera composers, including the eight women who recently received grants from The Virginia Toulmin Foundation through a grant program administered by OPERA America.
We appreciate that Mr. Ficklin sees Opera America Magazine as the primary channel for reaching the “small but influential audience” of opera leadership in the opera world, and we are grateful that, as he points out, our advertisers recognize the value of that channel. Our professional company members view Opera America Magazine as a showcase for their seasons (with a heavy emphasis on premieres and new works), just as music publishers see our pages as a marketplace for composers and contemporary opera. Mr. Ficklin humbly acknowledges that his analysis is “unscientific,” so allow me to correct his impression that music publishers have been fickle in their support. Their presence has been continuing and ardent. Indeed, we see Boosey & Hawkes, G. Schirmer, Theodore Presser, Peer Music, and Schott USA not just as advertisers, but as partners in our mission.
Mr. Ficklin suggests that the growth in our advertising reflects the “laudable intention of OPERA America to correct an imbalance by courting new advertisers.” The truly laudable achievement is that over the last 30 years OPERA America has awarded nearly $13 million in grants to opera companies and composers in support of new work, and created a permanent endowment to sustain such grants. It is a sweet irony that so many of the works our advertisers promote―premieres as well as encores of works that have now gained traction in the canon―were nurtured by those grants.
We know we are not alone, and that New Music USA and our sister arts service organizations join us in cultivating the ecosystem that supports contemporary American composers. Nonetheless, the recognition of Opera America Magazine is greatly appreciated.
Editor, Opera America Magazine