Editor’s note: On Saturday we published a letter to the editor from someone calling himself “Crawford Williamson” that was critical of people’s conduct at Opera Maine’s gala. While we used our standard verification process for letters, we were misled by the author of the letter, who twice gave us a fake name. We have removed the letter from our website and are publishing a response from Opera Maine. It’s unfortunate that someone would set out to deceive us. We are troubled by this incident, and we are revising our protocols for verifying letters.

We at Opera Maine are very disappointed by the recent letter to the editor from “Crawford Williamson”(“Sloppy clothing, behavior mar gala” May 4).

No one of that name attended the April 28 fundraising Gala that celebrated Opera Maine’s 25th anniversary.  Amy Paradysz did come to cover the event for the PPH Scene & Heard section.  It is sad that “Crawford” chose to take what was a beautiful event and use it as a vehicle to express his/her own mean-spirited views about the population of “Hooterville.”  That “Crawford” could not even sign his/her real name is just cowardly.

We wonder if “Crawford” did attend, so outlandish were his comments.  No one ate like a farm animal, or wore overalls or a baseball cap. But guess what?  We would have welcomed any guest in that attire.  Opera lovers are diverse and Opera Maine strives to be a welcoming and inclusive organization – on stage as well as in the audience.   Our mission is to share the beauty and power of the operatically trained human voice with everyone.

Indeed, we are happy to announce that thanks to a generous grant from Wells Fargo, we can offer free tickets to anyone 25 and under for our July 24 and 26 performances of Mozart’s great opera, “The Magic Flute.” Macy’s has renewed its generous grant, which this year will underwrite the distribution of complimentary seats to veterans and first responders and their families.

One of the reasons people “from away” are attracted to “Hooterville” is our rich cultural life, and Opera Maine is proud to be part of that.  We have presented professional opera to Maine audiences for 25 years and are nationally recognized for the artistic quality of our productions.  To all who attend “The Magic Flute” this summer we say, please come dressed however you wish!  Be comfortable!  Enjoy glorious music, an enchanting story, amazing singing and acting, and stunning visuals.  We promise you will have a magical and inspiring experience.

Arlene Schwind

President, Board of Trustees

Caroline Koelker,

Executive Director

Opera Maine


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