What’s in a Title?

25 Apr

“Diagnosis: Diabetes”

Since I originally chose that title, it’s been the title… the only one I’d ever need. I thought (and still do) that it was perfect. It’s got drama and diabetes right in it!

But, for a number of reasons, I’m becoming less attached to using it for the full opera.

Natural Development
The original scene which I had workshopped in Winnipeg is becoming more and more distinct as a separate entity, largely due to the changes I’m making to that scene in the full opera. The doctor scene focuses on the moments following Charlie’s diagnosis, but in fleshing out Charlie’s life, the same cannot be said about the full opera.

Too Specific
Invariably, diabetes comes up when I talk about my opera, ‘an interactive opera about diabetes,’ so having the word diabetes in the title might be overkill. There’s certainly no doubt I want the diabetes community to know about and celebrate this work, but such a direct title could run the risk of alienating a non-diabetic audience.
I also had a great conversation with a friend while editing the libretto. She found herself identifying with Charlie’s struggle, not as a diabetic, but as a smoker! It turns out my opera hits on a lot more universal themes than I could have imagined, so I’ve made sure that bring that out throughout the opera.

Practical Concerns
I’m excited to be heading to Boston this May for what they are billing as the U.S. Premiere of Diagnosis: Diabetes. While it’s true, it reinforces the distinction between the scene I’d already written and the opera I’m in the process of writing. Now that they’ve billed this performance as a premiere, it would downplay the excitement of the real world premiere of (Insert Opera Title Here) when they actually perform it during their 2013-14 season.

So, that means I’m in the market for a new title. I’ve got some ideas floating around, but I’ll take my time to find the next perfect title.

I’d love to hear your suggestions, but let’s be honest, I won’t pay you, and I won’t even take your suggestions anyway. I’m the kind of guy that asks the waitress for suggestions, then orders something else anyway…
What I’d really like to see in the comments section are your suggestions for the worst diabetes opera title! I’ll get you started with some suggestions:

Diabetic of the Opera

The Marriage of Diabetico

…keep em coming!


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