Will The Metropolitan Opera Allow the Deaf to Sing?

[UPDATE: September 12, 2023; our ASL Opera Project website is now live! Join us there for new videos, translation updates, and for consultation concerning the right interpretation of Opera in American Sign Language!]

[UPDATE: July 11, 2023.  Janna and I met with the Metropolitan Opera to discuss heightened ASL interpreting for their performances. The meeting was positive, forward-thinking, and hopeful! We will soon update with more information! Here’s the July 11 update!]

My delightful wife Janna Sweenie and I are big lovers of opera. Opera is the pinnacle of all the Performing Arts — Painting, Acting, Voice, Costumes, Lights and Sets — and when put together, in unison, in an exaggerated and elevated performance, the entire world glows and resonates! We have always been dismayed that opera is not often, if ever, interpreted in American Sign Language for the Deaf like all Broadway shows are interpreted. Janna and I are currently working on our “Opera Project” where she will present ASL renderings of famous opera arias. We will place those performances online as proof-of-concept. This is a challenging, but rewarding, and complex academic process of interpretation and adaptation, and implementation.

Here’s my Boles.tv live stream discussion of the Deaf singing at The Met:

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Different Styles of Learning Perhaps Not Needed

It is hard for me to remember a time when the following wasn’t drilled into my head — that there are different styles of learning and that depending on the style of learning, whether it was through reading or hearing or a combination of reading and hearing, different people needed to approach learning in their own way. That was my mantra when I was in school and even in the office I would tell people that I was a visual learner over an audio learner and therefore requested that they back up what they told me with the same information in writing.

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Show Us Do Not Tell Us

One covenant of a successful live performance is adherence to the “Show, Don’t Tell” mandate.  In its most essential form, that mantra means action has much more value to the human heart than mere listening.  

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