Beth Parker, the Opera Lady's alter ego, will answer questions via the Pittsburgh Opera's website, where she has a page devoted to FAQs and a contact e-mail address and phone number.
Parker should be well equipped for the job. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, she initially studied musicology at Indiana University, but her love of opera led her in that direction. The paper quotes her as saying, "I was getting such great opera jobs, but I was getting criticized for not spending enough time in the library." She eventually decided to concentrate on opera and became a vocal coach and piano accompanist.
The Post-Gazette writes that in the late 1980s Parker accompanied Franco Corelli in music lessons and mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne in master classes in New York City. She also spent a brief stint at the Metropolitan Opera but re-entered academia at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where for eleven years she taught music theory and history and ran the opera workshop.
Parker completed an Opera America fellowship in artistic administration in 2002, and then worked for the Knoxville Opera and the Pittsburgh Opera.
Pittsburgh Opera is not alone in reaching out to new audiences; the Metropolitan Opera has taken unprecedented steps this season such as hosting an open house and broadcasting opening night on screens in Times Square and Lincoln Center Plaza.