Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I am a multi-tasker. However, I find it difficult sometimes to focus on the task at hand and avoid external distractions like Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail. The key to the most effective level of concentration is that the focus must be intense yet relaxed. I am a “whistle-while-you-work” type and right now I’m listening to Act II of Verdi’s Macbeth (which is getting me SO excited for the BLO production!) I find that a well-constructed playlist can help get the job done. Furthermore, I think opera and classical instrumental music provides a stimulating balance to ease the stress of project management.

The positive effect classical music has on the brain as one learns is well established and I find it allows me to concentrate on the task at hand. Tonal opera and classical music provides a relaxing atmosphere with the beauty of the composition itself, but does not distract my attention: it is simply an “easy” listen. Whether you are an opera buff familiar with these pieces, or someone who never considered listening to opera while working, check out a few of the pieces I find to be perfect additions of inspiration and beauty for my study playlists and everyday life!

1)      Song to the Moon (from Rusalka)
2)     Meditation (from Thaïs)
3)     Sous le dôme épais (from Lakmé)
4)     Chopin Etude in E Major
5)     Ev’ry Valley (from Handel’s Messiah)
6)     ANY Mozart Piano Concerto (the Allegro from No. 5 is a personal favorite)
7)     Au fond du temple saint (from Les pêcheurs de perles)
8)     Dove sono (from The Marriage of Figaro)

And, maybe when you complete your next big project, or cross off the last item on your to-do list, you can blast the end of “Nessun Dorma” or “Ride of the Valkyries” for some dramatic effect.

--Melanie Burbules, Boston University ‘14

Thursday, September 15, 2011


As the New Media Intern for BLO, it is so exciting to be focusing on the promotion of our season through social media and being a Student Ambassador to the community! I am eager to show why I find opera so incredible and to get everyone as excited as I am for the season, one tweet at a time (that’s one small tweet for man, one giant tweet for mankind…)

As I work, I can’t help but be distracted by the tabs I have up on Mozilla: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube…basically the standard for any college student who doesn’t want to do their work quite yet. But, Facebook is part of my job! Extended work and updates to social media sites like Facebook will be a big part of what I do here at BLO. For example, this week I added tabs to allow users to access the Boston Lyric Opera YouTube and @BostLyricOpera Twitter accounts from BLO Facebook page. It’s a small task, but it connects three of the leading social media outlets together into one. That’s what this generation is about: connection. These are “gotta-have-it-now” times, and with one click you can have news briefs, links to deals on Groupon, relationship status updates or even numerous videos of cats. The way we get our information is different than say, 30 years ago; it’s quicker, personalized and always readily available. We are constantly connected to information, and most importantly, each other, and I love it!

The need and desire for constant connection is what I think sets us apart from previous generations, and what I’m most looking forward to focusing on as a BLO intern! With access to these amazing social media outlets, what’s our excuse not to be connected? We should be connected to each other just as we feel connected to a dying heroine as she sings her last soaring high note or to solo cello during a heart wrenching interlude.

My posts won’t always be dorky rants and raves about social media, though. As a singer and enthusiastic opera listener, I am so excited to share updates/my thoughts on the BLO season, and read about yours, too! See you all at Macbeth!

-- Melanie Burbules, Boston University, 14

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tell Us a Story

They say it takes a village to raise a child. It certainly takes a village to create meaningful arts experiences for children. Here at Boston Lyric Opera (BLO) we often hear stories about what got people interested in opera. Sometimes it’s a production they attended as a child. Sometimes it’s a moment that comes later, like marrying an opera-lover. Last year at BLO’s annual Open House we put up a giant wall mural with the staff members’ stories and gave guests a place to write their own memories of what got them into opera. Now we want to hear from you. Leave us a comment and tell us about the person, performance, or production that sparked your interest in the arts (opera or otherwise). All those who leave comments will be entered into a random drawing for a free Macbeth t-shirt!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Arts in Education Week

“Whereas art is integral to the lives of United States citizens and essential to the health and vitality of communities and the Nation…”

Happy Arts in Education Week! In July 2010 the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution designating the second week of September as “Arts in Education Week.” The resolution (H.Con.Res. 275, excerpted above) was proposed and introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier from California. Representatives from all over the country supported the resolution, and many made comments about why the arts are important to the nation’s children and why they themselves cared so deeply. In light of the economic circumstances in July 2010, this gesture was not a small one, but it still takes action to make things happen.

So, how can you help celebrate Arts in Education Week? The wonderful people at the Arts Education Partnership have put together some ideas and we’d love to hear what you can think of. Leave us a comment below!

How are we celebrating at Boston Lyric Opera? Well, we will have special features on our blog and social media all week. And on Thursday and Friday we will have live updates from our Education & Community Programs Manager, Julie House, who is attending the Arts Education Partnership’s conference in San Francisco to learn about Transforming Urban School Systems Through the Arts.

By the way, if you know of a college or graduate student looking to get some experience in arts education, BLO is looking for an Education & Community Programs Intern to spend the season with us. What better way is there to celebrate?

Happy art-making!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Macbeth Research in Birnam Wood

Our Director of Artistic Operations Nicholas Russell travels quite frequently for research and auditions. This week he is traveling through the UK and had the chance to visit the Birnam oak which dates back to the time of Macbeth (so the story goes). Check out the photos! First reader to name his location wins a Macbeth t-shirt!