Wired For Love, an online opera
As a user of the internet you must have had received scam emails--allegedly from Africa, usually written in ALL CAPS. These scams are still a real and ongoing threat to many gullible people, siphoning over US$9 billion worldwide annually. What if you decide to take justice in your own hand, and scam them back?
This opera begins with the real email correspondences between a Nigerian scammer and a British "anti-scammer" back in 2003, as published on "What's the bloody point?". Looking for his next victim, Okoro (false name), the Nigerian scammer, went about his daily business of sending out an email message, under the alias of Bako Ndiovu. His message reached a British man (referred to in the opera as “the British guy”) who, spending too much time online and too little time in real life, decided to respond under the guise of a hot female model by the name of Ethel Wormvarnish. His goal was to keep Okoro from getting to a real victim, and to make a fool out of him. Thus began the correspondence between Okoro and the British guy, each trying to outfox the other. While their lies and excuses grew, so did the personalities of their fictional avatars, which gradually developed as they each became aware of both their own and the other’s existence in the cyberspace. Bako started to realize on his own he had a desire to come clean about the deception, while Ethel slowly succumbed to the purity of Bako’s heart and to the beauty of his entirely imaginary physique. While Okoro and the British guy continued their correspondence via their made-up personalities, Bako and Ethel, both increasingly independent, began struggling to express their yearning for one another. Finally, Bako devised a bold plan to escape: pretending to complete the scam transaction through a payment, he and Ethel would finally meet and run away.
We have a strong and experienced team of adventurous singers, instrumentalists and directors who are ready to mount the premiere production of this brand new opera. There will be a month of vocal and staging rehearsals, followed by rehearsals with the orchestra, and leading up to a weekend of two live performances in Madison, Wisconsin.
But to make this opera truly about and for the internet, we will work beyond the live performance! There will be a recording session to produce high-quality audio. We will also work with a film artist to create a unique and multimedia online experience--an "online production" of the opera. My experience as a web programmer will enable us to creatively exploit all kinds of familiar internet interfaces and technology, making this an online opera, the first of its kind.
Your generous support will mainly go to the talented cast and crew who will make this project possible (4 singers, 9 instrumentalists, 1 conductor, 1 stage director, 1 film artist); most artists are local, as is our recording engineer (Audio For the Arts), so that the project will truly benefit the local community. It will also cover the cost of recording (studio rental, and fees for recording engineer), as well as basic support for the online opera production (such as servers). In return, you will receive all kinds of goodies, as listed to the right on this page!
Comic operas have been few and far in between among new works. We believe that Wired For Love will not only be extremely funny, but also very romantic. If we are lucky, it may even raise the much-needed awareness of scams and phishing that take place everyday.
- (45 days)