Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Opera for the impatient

This article discusses a kind of experiment opera directors around the country are trying as a way to bring new audiences to the opera halls. These days a major barrier to entry to opera for potential opera goers is the operas duration. Over 3 hours is the general running time for many operas and that is just too long for some people. Millenials especially are so incredibly impatient. I have a friend who refuses to watch anything live on TV because she hates siting through commercials….

Anyway, this article describes the trend of shortening the run time of operas and starting them earlier as an effort to quell this aforementioned barrier to entry. This fall the Sarasota Opera is putting on Pagliacci, a short (in comparison to other operas) opera by Ruggero Leoncavallo.  Because the opera is so short, it has a running time of only an hour, when it is performed it is usually paired with another work. However, this time the Sarasota Opera is presenting Pagliacci on its own!

Because Pagliacci is such a famous piece (This is the one about the sad clown!!) and because Sarasota Opera is presenting it on its on, the organization very much hopes to get a new demographic of audience members in their hall. To promote this production they are even using print and digital advertising to target a new-to-opera demographic. The hope is that “those who are lured by this abbreviated bite of the art will return for a full course later in the season”.

What do you guys think about this idea of an abbreviated running time? Could it work? Will it FAIL?

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One comment on “Opera for the impatient

  1. awellfare89
    November 7, 2014

    This data is definitely not surprising. It is unfortunate that familiar pieces are not often accompanied by newer works. As we saw tonight at Strathmore’s presentation of works by Vijay Iyer, new work is exciting and if audiences are open, they just might like it. I think a message that could support a program of new works by notable contemporary composers is that seeing their works premiered could be like seeing one of “the great’s” works being premiered. After all, even their work was new and not well-recepted at one time. We have a wealth of American composers at our fingertips, we should be lifting them up to success.

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