Seattle: America’s Opera Capital?

by Suzanne Calvin

Don’t look at me — I just report what I read.

On a per capita basis, it may actually be true that Seattle is KING. And, in terms of enthusiasm for the art form, Seattle certainly ranks high; however, I’m not sure you can make the case that Seattle Opera fans are bigger operaphiles than the people who go to Glimmerglass or San Francisco or Chicago or Santa Fe each season (not to mention, Dallas).

I gave this article the benefit of the doubt until the final paragraphs, when I found myself raising an eyebrow at Speight Jenkin’s claim that Seattle has the best opera house in America. Check out the entire chest-beating piece here.

Perhaps he’s right. It may be an entirely legitimate claim…yes, indeed…for about another year.

Suzanne Calvin, Assoc. Dir. of Marketing, The Dallas Opera

Postscript: Speight Jenkins rightly points out that the article says “singers” have told him Seattle is the best venue; meaning, it’s an acoustical rather than aesthetic judgment. Sounds reasonable to me. I’ll post his entire response as soon as it comes my way.

Mea culpa, Mr. Jenkins…I must read more carefully in the future.

Here’s the text of his email, just received:

Dear Suzanne,

I am sorry that what I said to Mr. Littler appeared to you that I was saying that Seattle Opera has the best opera company in America. I never said that, nor would I . What I said was that many singers have said that they enjoy singing here more than in any other opera house, referring specifically to our acoustics. I can’t take credit for that. The Connecticut firm of Jaffe/Holden were responsible for the acoustics of Marian Oliver McCaw Hall, and they did a marvelous job.

Best wishes,

Speight Jenkins

(Suzanne’s note: A gracious response, and, at the risk of repeating myself, I must read more carefully in the future.)

2 Responses to Seattle: America’s Opera Capital?

Suzanne says: September 18, 2008 at 11:02 am

Very good, Miss Jan! It’s easy to remember KING, there are so few classical music stations left in the U.S.