The opera world, worried that audiences have become disenchanted with burly men in funny costume singing very loudly, is trying out new strategies to get butts back in theatre seats.
Driving the news: Eighty-five opera companies across Canada and the U.S. have joined a discount program run by industry group Opera America, in which a subscription to one of the participating companies will also grant you the same perks at every participating company.
Why it’s happening: The opera business has struggled to rebound ever since the pandemic shuttered performance venues back in 2020. Revenue generated from ticket sales has fallen by 5% since 2018, per the Association for Opera in Canada.
- Operas are also trying other strategies to lure folks back to the auditorium, including featuring more modern programming instead of the stuffy classics.
- They’re also increasing technological capabilities to keep internet-addled brains engaged, be it through adding big LED screens or increasing their digital presence.
Bottom line: There is room for optimism. Canadian Opera Company shows were 94% full on average last year. Meanwhile, Opera America data suggests that digital attendance is on the rise, and also found that a third of 2022-23 audiences were first-time attendees.—QH