Thursday, August 28, 2008

Proofreaders Wanted, at Several Musical Organizations

No, this is not a want ad. It's a plea for sanity.
  • San Francisco Opera's E-Opera email newsletters have twice referred to Simon Boccanegra as "highly prized." It's pretty clear, from context, that they mean highly-praised.
  • "Gut grabbing vocal heft" - is that the best possible description of Dmiti Hvorostovsky's voice?
  • Seattle Opera's web site currently refers to operas being performed in January through May, 2009, as the "Spring 2008" operas, here and here. Oops! After I clicked a link in email I received from Seattle, I thought I'd somehow missed a program I would like to see.
  • The page for Erwartung and Bluebeard's Castle says "By Bela Bartok" at the top of the page. Scroll down and you do find Arnold Schoenberg's name, but why should you have to scroll?
  • Yes, I did email the Seattle Opera webmaster about those little gaffes.
  • Printed matter from the San Francisco Symphony is unclear on how to style one of Schubert's symphonies. I've ranted about this before: that rather long symphony is not The Great Symphony. It is the Symphony No. 9, "Great C Major," or "Great" C Major. In context, it probably should have been styled The Great C Major Symphony, but two mailings from the SFS are wrong in two different ways! The idea is to distinguish it from the "Little" C major symphony, a shorter work from the composer's youth.
  • Lastly, I got a beautiful printed brochure in the mail last week from one of the Bay Area's major concert presenters. The type is largely 6 point sans serif white on black or mauve backgrounds. Please, have pity on those of us who never had 20/20 vision to start with. 


Empiricus said...

Should I call you "Iron Eagle Eyes" from now on? Good catches.

However, to your last point, I hope our gray arial font on a black background isn't too taxing. I recently received my first pair of reading glasses and thought, perhaps, there might be a correlation.

Charles T. Downey said...

Speaking of proofreading, the accepted English spelling of the Russian baritone's last name is "Hvorostovsky," not "Hvorastovsky."

Lisa Hirsch said...

Ha! Consider it fixed, Charles.

Empiricus, that font/background color combo is rough, but I persevere.

Henry Holland said...

However, to your last point, I hope our gray arial font on a black background isn't too taxing

It is, but even more taxing is having the text you're highlighting from the link you provide be only a slighter lighter shade of gray or is it, even worse, white? I shouldn't have to read a post 3 times to figure out what's your comment and what the link text is. Offset set it a couple spaces in or use italics, please! Just sayin'! :-)

To go to the jazz field for these kinds of things, whoever designed the booklets for the Miles Davis box sets that Sony has put out should be given a stern talking to. First off, they stuff a CD-sized 90-page booklet with the CD's in sleeves in to a small mini-book format, which causes the text closest to the middle of the page be unreadable near the center of the booklet. On the In A Silent Way set, they compounded this by having the color of the pages go from aquamarine to bright yellow with the colors subtly changing every page until the transformation is complete. Nice idea--except for the all white type! D'oh! There's about 5 pages in the all-yellow section I will never read because the bright yellow background totally obscures the text. All of those Miles boxes were issued in this format, with the same aggravating problems and they won design awards! Unreal.

I wonder if someone who saw all that in the design stage said "Hey, that's unreadable" and was brushed off because it just looks so damn cool, maaaaaaaan.

To make it an even suckier presentation, the CD sleeves have so little extra space around the CD's (if they did, they'd fall out) and are so tight tight it's a chore to get the CD's out without scratching the hell of 'em.

Kaethe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I've also received San Francisco Opera's E-Opera newsletters, and while I agree with you they could fine a more pleasing quote about Hvorostovsky, the "Silver Fox," I quite disagree with your first comment.

I believe the opera does intend to state that Boccanegra is "highly prized" in the arts and music world. Perhaps a hyphen between the two words would better emphasize their point. They use "prized" as it is a prize, a gem, a rare treasure in the opera world.

Yes, it is highly praised as well, but that was not their meaning - you are twisting it to fit yours.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Here's the quotation from the E-Opera mailing of a couple of weeks ago:

"Our season kicks off on September 5* with the highly prized Simon Boccanegra. In this infrequently produced opera..."

I emailed the opera about that and some other things in the mailing - like a couple of misspellings - and their reply did not say "We meant that, and here's why." I am completely sure that they were trying to say "highly-praised production" and just rushed the newsletter into print, as it were.

Lisa Hirsch said...

If they meant "highly prized," by the way, that's a dubious claim. The literature on the opera nearly always praises the music and the characterization of Boccanegra, but unanimously gives thumbs down to the libretto, which is convoluted to the point of near-incoherence. Budden is enlightening on this point because he tells you what got cut from the play that's the source of the libretto.

I think it's a great opera, but I acknowledge that there are reasons this one isn't produced that often.

Empiricus said...

Thanks for your comments Henry H.

I suspect you're using a PC, which is why the color differential isn't quite up to snuff. In fact, we neither use a lighter shade of gray nor white. But, it seems to be a bit easier on the eyes on a Mac. Nevertheless, I've been contemplating a complete overhaul for exactly this reason. Thanks.

If you have any more suggestions, please feel free to email one of us or just continue the discussion on our site instead of Iron Eagle Eye's, here.

calimac said...

I suspect you're using a PC, which is why the color differential isn't quite up to snuff. In fact, we neither use a lighter shade of gray nor white. But, it seems to be a bit easier on the eyes on a Mac.

There is nothing - absolutely nothing - to rate with "We suggest you buy a new computer to be able to read our website." Nothing.

Lisa Hirsch said...

You can hold the righteous indignation. They changed the color scheme this week.

Henry Holland said...

Empericus, love the new look! Ooooohhhhh, black on a white background.... :-) Love this too:

Music's Ivory Tower Laughs Hard, Falls Over, Soils Pants