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with Somtow Sucharitkul

March 1215, 2015, Milwaukee, Wis.


Frequently Occasionally Asked Questions

Why should I be excited about ‘The Snow Dragon’?

  • A world premiere — history in the making.
  • Based on a science-fiction story by popular author Somtow Sucharitkul
  • A modern tonal opera. (What’s tonal? It’s music written using conventional harmonies. In other words, it’s not that weird super-modern stuff.)
  • There’s a DRAGON! Singing! On stage!

Why is the opera’s premiere in Milwaukee, of all places?

As Skylight Music Theatre’s artistic and music director, Viswa Subbaraman, explains, he’d commissioned Somtow to write an opera while at his last gig, in Texas, and it was wildly successful and made him look good. So now Subbaraman has a new job here, and he’s confident Somtow can make him look good again.

What language is the opera sung in? English.

Is the opera suitable for children?

The theater suggests ages 12 and over. There is mild violence and heavy subject matter.

Is there wheelchair access?

Most seats at the theater are wheelchair accessible, and some are wheelchair replaceable. The hotel is accessible. Please let us know if you require special seating or other arrangements.

I hate opera! Why should I come to Operacon?

You might like this one. “The Snow Dragon” isn’t an ordinary opera. It’s a fantasy that connects opera and fantastic literature. Its hummable tunes bring in the eerie tropes of fantasy and horror-film music, making the score very accessible to an audience new to opera.

The opera is just one night of four, and you don’t have to go (or drag your opera-loathing spouse) — we have discounted “no-opera” memberships, so if you like, you can enjoy the party without the show.

What's a relaxacon?

A relaxacon is a low-key science-fiction convention, basically a weekend-long party with little or no formal programming and an emphasis on conversation and collegiality. When we heard that Somtow's opera was premiering in Milwaukee, we thought it was a great excuse to throw one.

How long do I have to make up my mind to come?

Time is running out.

The opera is sold out at the box office, and we have only a limited number of tickets left, so if you want to see the show, buy a full-attending membership now. Only no-opera memberships will be available at the door.

The hotel block closes Feb. 1; if you want a hotel room, make reservations earlier.

That’s a lot of money! What do I get?

Prices are very reasonable for a four-day convention with everything your membership includes:

  • Orchestra-seat tickets to the sold-out opening night of the world premiere of “The Snow Dragon” on Friday, March 13 (currently retailing for $77 plus fees).
  • Opening-night party with the cast.
  • Transportation to the theater from the Hilton.
  • Talks by Somtow and the director and other exciting events.
  • A special-edition, autographed libretto.
  • A fabulous consuite with yummy things to eat and drink, space for conversation, games, needlework and what have you, with Somtow and other fun fans to talk and play with.
  • Screenings of interesting videos.
  • Surprises and excursions.
  • We welcome your ideas, too. This is a relaxacon. The opera itself is the only nonparticipatory event. Like most fan-run science-fiction conventions, your contribution gets you membership, rather than just a ticket to watch, as we join together for a mutual celebration of our way-of-life hobby and our friend Somtow’s new opera.

Can you make me a deal?

We know that $110 is a chunk of money to come up with all at once, so we are offering a “layaway plan” you can pay in installments.

Will there be programming?

It’s a relaxacon, so there won’t be panels and speeches, but we will have lots of things to do, including close-up time with Somtow and Viswa Subbaraman, explorations of Milwaukee and food and drink tastings in the con suite.

How about movies?

We plan to screen a few special videos.

Will there be gaming?

If you want there to be. Feel free to bring along your favorite games, be they playing cards, board games or whatever you like. It’s a relaxacon — there will be plenty of time and space to play. Or, you can just hang in the con suite for that great game of fansmanship.

What should I wear?

For opera night, we’re encouraging folks to dress up, for whatever your personal value of “dressing up” is — steampunk finery, medieval garb, black tie, jeans with no holes in them but that’s entirely optional. Shoes and shirt are required.

For the rest of the weekend, your usual con wear is fine, but do look at weather forecasts before you pack. Spring weather in this part of the world is highly unpredictable.

March highs in Milwaukee average in the low to mid-40s, with lows typically in the mid- to high 30s. (That’s Fahrenheit, for those of you from metric countries.) However, in 2014, the tail end of a dreadful winter, some nights got below zero, while in 2012, the warmest March on record saw days up in the 80s. Snow boots will likely be a better bet than flip flops, but you never know.

Why is the con four days long?

See above. With opening night on Friday, we wanted to be sure everyone can get there despite unpredictable weather and possible travel delays. Starting the con on Thursday will give us some time to meet and mingle beforehand, then get to the theater in a relaxed way. You don’t have to arrive on Thursday, but if you don’t, you might miss something.

Doesn’t Wisconsin have terrible government? Shouldn’t I boycott?

Well, yes, and no. If you stop going to cons in places with bad politicians, you’ll run out of cons to go to pretty quick. On the other hand, Wisconsin did ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, so if you didn’t come to Wisconsin in 1978, you can cut the state some slack.

What can I do to help?

We’d really appreciate your help spreading the word about the con. This is a pretty special, one-time event, and we’d hate for people who might have wanted to come to find out about it too late.

We’re also looking for volunteers to do things like help in the consuite and pick people up at the airport, and we will refund their membership fees if we should have any surplus.