Friday, November 18,2011: Rumors of My Death

American humorist, writer Mark Twain in 1907. He actually died in 1910.

Editorial: Rumors of My Death

“Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” writer Mark Twain supposedly said. In fact, even this popular quotation is slightly misquoted. But it lives on in history, more than a hundred years on.

Sure, rumors can be fun. We all enjoy that little burst of power we get from repeating a “fact” to a shocked, surprised, or impressed listener.

But rumors, exaggerated or not, can also be deadly.

A prime case in point: The popular belief that classical music, opera, and ballet are “dead.” This rumor, or belief as the case may be, compelled us to found Opus Osm so that we could investigate it for ourselves.

We’re very pleased to say that this rumor is just that – only a rumor. We’re finding that Czech classical music, opera, and ballet are very much alive, vital, fascinating – and thriving and growing.

It’s only that some of the rumor-makers are a few paces behind reality.

On the Other Hand

There is another kind of rumor that seems to be flourishing, at least in Prague. And it’s a dangerous one, too. It seems – as reported by some arts venues – that sometimes a rumor gets started that “All the tickets are already sold out” to a particular performance.

Often, tickets are more easily available than you might think -- and some events are very low cost or even free. Investigate!

Unfortunately, if you accept that as true without investigating, you not only give up going to a great performance which you could have easily seen; you also diminish the audience; your immediate, live feedback to the performers; and the financial health of the event, its sponsors, and its artists.

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You can prevent rumor damage by:
– contacting the venue or the ticket seller to confirm ticket availability;
– checking Events Calendars (such as Opus Osm’s) so you know what’s coming up well in advance; and not waiting till the last minute to buy your tickets;
– whenever possible, buying season or series tickets;
– going to the venue a little early to ask for cancelled or “no-show” (last-minute) tickets.

Venues can help by:
– posting “Tickets Still Available” banners on street posters and your website;
– keeping your website current, with up-to-the-minute news about ticket availability;
– printing the website address about ticket availability in your paper programs;
– reminding ticket vendors to tell purchasers that in fact “tickets are still available”;
– pro-actively adding a few extra chairs or standing-room spaces for the overflow.

Let’s work together to finally lay rumors to rest! – oo

– Mary Matz, Editor

Photo Credits: Bottom: Miroslav Setnička

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