Tweeting the history of opera

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The Independent Culture

The San Diego Opera has created the latest Twitter project involving opera fans worldwide. In early November the company began documenting the entire 400-plus years of opera history, one 140-character tweet at a time.

The Opera History Twitter Project began on November 2 with an entry from 1580. It is expected to cover opera history through the present, at the rate of two tweets per day.

Written by San Diego Opera director of education and outreach Nicolas Reveles, the tweets are accessible and engaging for amateurs and devotees. A tweet from November 12 reads "1607: the history of opera moves from Florence to Mantua with creation of Orfeo, a 'fable in music' by Claudio Monteverdi." Then, on November 16: "1607: Orfeo is performed to delighted audience at the Duke's palace on Feb 24. Duke pleased, but poor Orfeo still in hell."

The Opera History Twitter Project is the most recent in a string of opera-related Twitter projects. The Twitter opera-plot contest ( #operaplot), a popular feature judged by blogger Miss Mussel, asks fans to summarize the plot of a slelected opera in one tweet. In August 2009, Britain's Royal Opera House began a Twitter opera experiment, inviting users to build upon one another's tweets to create their own opera storyline. The resulting opera, Twitterdammerung, was staged at London's Covent Garden in September.

Visit the San Diego Opera's twitter project at #operahistory.