The Perfect Theme for a Case Statement

I typically advocate that the theme of a Case Statement should fit on a t-shirt. Here’s an exception. It’s for the Portland Opera (Portland, Oregon). For a city its size, it is considered one of the greatest opera companies in the country. Take a look at the opening paragraphs.

Are you ready! “Seduction. Passion. Ecstasy. Romance. Love. Intrigue. Betrayal. Murder. Treachery. Triumph.” When our writer came up with this theme, I raised some serious doubts. But I found it so compelling I decided to go with it. Who could possibly resist turning the page to see what this was all about?

It’s for the Portland Opera (Portland, Oregon). For a city its size, it is considered one of the greatest opera companies in the country.

Here are the opening fourteen paragraphs. (Notice that our writer did not start with a history, attendance figures, or anything of the sort. Nor is there anything yet about a campaign.)

In the distance, the Duke sings the familiar refrain from La donna è mobile. Rigoletto, the misshapen jester tears open the sack he believes contains the corpse of the Duke. He discovers the arrow of his vengeance has turned upon him. Horrified, he sees instead his beloved daughter Gilda. Stricken with grief, he envelops her in his arms, and father and daughter bid each other farewell. As Gilda dies, Rigoletto, his worst fears realized, cries out.

Gilda! Mia Gilda! E morta! Ah, la maledizione! (Gilda! My Gilda! She is dead! Ah, it is the curse!)

The curtain comes down on the final act of Giuseppe Verdi’s gripping opera of contradictions, Rigoletto.


The orchestra has stopped playing. The audience sits in silence for what seems like an eternity. No one moves. It feels like everyone in Keller Auditorium has stopped breathing. Tears run down their faces.

From the back of the auditorium one brave person starts clapping. Instantly the entire Keller Auditorium erupts into thunderous applause. People stand and stomp their feet. In unison 2,992 voices break into riotous shouts of BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO!

You might think you’re at a rock concert or a Blazers game.

But no— you’re at the Portland Opera.

Intensely Passionate— Evocative Music

Are you ready? Get comfortable. The house lights dim, the overture begins— I love this part. The music is exquisite.

The curtain rises on Act 1 of Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème. The stage is barely lit. There is movement and laughter from high on stage left. Listen, suddenly there’s a knock on Rudolfo’s loft door. The beautiful seamstress Mimi enters. Her candle has blown out. She has no matches. Rudolfo lights the candle. She leaves, only to return seconds later— she’s lost her key in his loft. From this simple flirtation the flames of a deep and poetic love are ignited.

By the end of Act 4, the frail Mimi, her life sapped by consumption, dies in the arms of her beloved Rudolfo. He weeps helplessly and cries out her name in inconsolable anguish. Mimi. Mimi. Mimi.

The curtain descends.

Seduction and passion. Ecstasy and romance. Love and intrigue. Betrayal and murder. Treachery and triumph. No other art form offers the excitement, the thrill, the exquisite beauty of the physically and emotionally transforming magic of opera.

Transport yourself, your friends, family, and future generations. Secure the future of great art in Portland. Secure the future of your world-class opera.

This is your story— the story of what transforms a community from great to uncommonly extraordinary.

Books by Jerold Panas (click on the cover for more information)

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