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  1. #1711
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    Reviews are in for the first two of WNO's Ring operas - Das Rheingold and Die Walküre (although WNO, for some unknown reason, insists on dumbing them down to "The Rhinegold" and "The Valkyries". Geez.)

    Anyway, excellent reviews. Note that WNO was able to substitute Christine Goerke for Catherine Foster's Brünnhilde on Monday night as Foster injured her leg during the dress rehearsal last week.
    I love Christine Goerke. She's got a great voice and amazing projection (nearly blew me out of my front seat at a Wagner gala last year) and is the singer I would most like to have a beer with.
    Natalie

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  3. #1712
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    I occasionally drift over to the much maligned "Parterre Box" as, campy opera chat aside, there is a fair amount of intelligent commentary to be found although, granted, one sometimes has to be patient and do some searching.

    That said, this morning's opening is this item from the New York Times, stating that ticket sales at the Met this season are at an all time low, with 66% of seats filled. The NYT opera critics take it upon themselves to come up with ways to fix the problem:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/08/ar...eats.html?_r=0

    We know that here in the U.S., this has become endemic across the country's opera houses - especially since the big recession. The WNO's audience, to my eye, has been in precipitous decline, with Francesca Zambello going all in on staging contemporary American operas as her solution. That might bring in some new curiosity-seekers, but is turning off many long-time subscribers who are more interested in thoughtful, interesting programming that probably is a harder sell to the occasional ticket buyer.

    I think programming is a serious issue. The Met staged 5 - 5!! Puccini operas this season. What opera fan can get energized by 5 Puccini operas in one season? They might make one or two if they are well cast and interesting productions, but that's about it. WNO had scheduled the Ring this season, so I gave them a pass on the rest of their schedule, which included a not even mediocre Carmen, an unexpectedly good Appomattox and Kurt Weill's Lost in the Stars (I know - whaaat is that?). Next season's two contemporary American operas, Daughter of the Regiment, Madama Butterfly and Marriage of Figaro (which I do love) is uninspiring enough that I had to think about whether to renew my subscription. I have a good seat that I didn't want to lose, which is the primary reason I did renew.

    Going back to the article, one big problem is that it is not an easy task to fill gargantuan U.S. auditoriums - much larger than most European opera houses and more critical even, because there are no state subsidies in the U.S. The second problem is prices (although opera prices are a total steal when compared to the thievery exercised by Broadway theaters - $500 to $1,000 to see the hip-hop Hamilton - I don't think so). Since ticket revenue makes up a fairly small percentage of total revenue in major opera houses these days, maybe cutting ticket prices and increasing fundraising is in order (as is suggested in the NYT article). An associated problem is the cost of the concessions. I don't bother at the Kennedy Center or the Met because the lines are too long and the prices ridiculous. I paid $11 for a single espresso at the Met a couple of years ago! European opera house concessions are way more civilized, well organized and reasonably priced.

    That's my rant for this afternoon - what do you think?

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  5. #1713
    Senior Member Veteran Member Povero Buoso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    I occasionally drift over to the much maligned "Parterre Box" as, campy opera chat aside, there is a fair amount of intelligent commentary to be found although, granted, one sometimes has to be patient and do some searching.

    That said, this morning's opening is this item from the New York Times, stating that ticket sales at the Met this season are at an all time low, with 66% of seats filled. The NYT opera critics take it upon themselves to come up with ways to fix the problem:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/08/ar...eats.html?_r=0

    We know that here in the U.S., this has become endemic across the country's opera houses - especially since the big recession. The WNO's audience, to my eye, has been in precipitous decline, with Francesca Zambello going all in on staging contemporary American operas as her solution. That might bring in some new curiosity-seekers, but is turning off many long-time subscribers who are more interested in thoughtful, interesting programming that probably is a harder sell to the occasional ticket buyer.

    I think programming is a serious issue. The Met staged 5 - 5!! Puccini operas this season. What opera fan can get energized by 5 Puccini operas in one season? They might make one or two if they are well cast and interesting productions, but that's about it. WNO had scheduled the Ring this season, so I gave them a pass on the rest of their schedule, which included a not even mediocre Carmen, an unexpectedly good Appomattox and Kurt Weill's Lost in the Stars (I know - whaaat is that?). Next season's two contemporary American operas, Daughter of the Regiment, Madama Butterfly and Marriage of Figaro (which I do love) is uninspiring enough that I had to think about whether to renew my subscription. I have a good seat that I didn't want to lose, which is the primary reason I did renew.

    Going back to the article, one big problem is that it is not an easy task to fill gargantuan U.S. auditoriums - much larger than most European opera houses and more critical even, because there are no state subsidies in the U.S. The second problem is prices (although opera prices are a total steal when compared to the thievery exercised by Broadway theaters - $500 to $1,000 to see the hip-hop Hamilton - I don't think so). Since ticket revenue makes up a fairly small percentage of total revenue in major opera houses these days, maybe cutting ticket prices and increasing fundraising is in order (as is suggested in the NYT article). An associated problem is the cost of the concessions. I don't bother at the Kennedy Center or the Met because the lines are too long and the prices ridiculous. I paid $11 for a single espresso at the Met a couple of years ago! European opera house concessions are way more civilized, well organized and reasonably priced.

    That's my rant for this afternoon - what do you think?
    I am in a difficult situation here as I love Puccini the most but do agree that any domination of one composer is not the best. The met season bothered me significantly with the presence of 5 Puccini works. Don't get me wrong Puccini is my favourite opera composer that I have discovered so far. His operas are easily accessible and have lovely melodies. I would not have been bothered had it been 3 or 4 say for example Tosca, La Fanciulla de west and Il Trittico. However, the season had the 5 really famous ones and that is beginning to clog the schedule at the expense of other works (the Met still hasn't performed Written on Skin which is a ridiculous hole in the repertory for a major house to have at this point. I agree with Luiz that the Met should really be commissioning works as other houses are doing with more regularity.). However, I would have similar arguments if there was a dominance by works of any composer making an exception here for Verdi whose style is significantly eclectic that to compare Nabucco to something like Aida is hardly a like for like comparison. As a result a house can play many Verdi in a season and still offer a very varied menu. Puccini did evolve but not nearly to the same extent and the performed works tend to draw on the 4 to 5 same old operas* which bar Turandot are of a similar style. These are great operas mind (well manon lescaut is very good but not quite as polished as the others) but even great opera is tiring if heard over and over again when it is not a true favourite.

    *Tosca Butterfly Boheme Turandot and Manon Lescaut
    "Non sono in vena" Rodolfo summing up P.B's feelings on his dissertation.

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  7. #1714
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    I read that article with ideas. Some are good. Interesting enough, many are what Opera Carolina has been doing already for years. Funny how a regional company in my humble state seems to have it right while the powerful Met doesn't.

    The 5-Puccini season was awful.

    Unfortunately as much as we love him, Levine's conducting has been erratic.

    The Met needs urgent renovation.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  9. #1715
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Povero Buoso View Post
    I am in a difficult situation here as I love Puccini the most but do agree that any domination of one composer is not the best. The met season bothered me significantly with the presence of 5 Puccini works. Don't get me wrong Puccini is my favourite opera composer that I have discovered so far. His operas are easily accessible and have lovely melodies. I would not have been bothered had it been 3 or 4 say for example Tosca, La Fanciulla de west and Il Trittico. However, the season had the 5 really famous ones and that is beginning to clog the schedule at the expense of other works (the Met still hasn't performed Written on Skin which is a ridiculous hole in the repertory for a major house to have at this point. I agree with Luiz that the Met should really be commissioning works as other houses are doing with more regularity.). However, I would have similar arguments if there was a dominance by works of any composer making an exception here for Verdi whose style is significantly eclectic that to compare Nabucco to something like Aida is hardly a like for like comparison. As a result a house can play many Verdi in a season and still offer a very varied menu. Puccini did evolve but not nearly to the same extent and the performed works tend to draw on the 4 to 5 same old operas* which bar Turandot are of a similar style. These are great operas mind (well manon lescaut is very good but not quite as polished as the others) but even great opera is tiring if heard over and over again when it is not a true favourite.

    *Tosca Butterfly Boheme Turandot and Manon Lescaut
    There is so much beyond Verdi and Puccini and even 19C Italian that makes up the mass of programming at the Met (with a bit of Mozart thrown in for good measure). OK, it might be a bit big for baroque but what about all the French, German, Russian, East European and modern repertoire that rarely gets a look-in?
    Natalie

  10. #1716
    Senior Member Veteran Member Povero Buoso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    There is so much beyond Verdi and Puccini and even 19C Italian that makes up the mass of programming at the Met (with a bit of Mozart thrown in for good measure). OK, it might be a bit big for baroque but what about all the French, German, Russian, East European and modern repertoire that rarely gets a look-in?
    Agreed. I also suggest that the met increases pace double time on uploading more of their older video performances of works they have done before the telecasts became commonplace. For me Met On Demand is the easiest way to explore large chunks of the repertory. In addition to attract young audiences the Met should really be focused on their YouTube channel and met on demand. Their YouTube channel for example is utterly diabolical in comparison to that of the Royal opera house which includes many more educational videos about the works and occasionally even full performances of more minor works that may attract more people to come on another occasion. The Met has had a success with the Met on Demand and its telecasts but more can most definitely be done on a social media front to attract younger participants. On a final note on the NYT article definitely no cuts. I want the met to be successful but butchering Rossini is a sacrifice to far.
    "Non sono in vena" Rodolfo summing up P.B's feelings on his dissertation.

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  12. #1717
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    In The Toughest Show on Earth, Joseph Volpe's book about his years at the Met, the former general manager says he’s not especially concerned about the fact that the average age of Met audiences is somewhere in the 60s, noting that middle-aged and older audiences are nothing new. When he compares a photo taken at the old Metropolitan Opera House on W. 39th Street in the 1890s and one shot at the opening of the new house at Lincoln Center in 1966, he finds the audience demographics on both occasions to be equivalent to what they are today. (He wrote this book about 10 years ago, but if audience composition hadn’t changed in more than six decades, I doubt it has changed in one.) He argues that most young adults are so busy establishing careers and raising families that there is little time for attending opera performances, and the need to save money for the kids’ education and their own eventual retirement doesn’t leave these individuals with a whole lot of money for “extras.” Of course, many of the suggestions in the Times article address these concerns, and Volpe himself wasn't suggesting that opera companies simply ignore the young adult (or younger) audiences; in fact, he proudly mentions the Met’s opera training program for teachers and for kids from kindergarten through second grade, and the student ticket discounts the company offers (with more than 40,000 sold in the 2004-05 season). Neither is he saying that opera companies – or American performing arts organizations in general – have no reason to be concerned about the overall decline in audience numbers, something which I suspect the economic downturn that began in 2008 didn’t help. He goes into considerable detail about the shifts in purchasing patterns, with season ticket buyers on the decline and single-ticket purchases increasing – including last-minute purchases. (I seem to recall that some other major international houses have observed a similar trend.)
    There are a lot of theories being floated as to how opera companies should attract new audience members, but I wonder if there has ever been any solid, reliable research done in this area. What Nat’s friend Yehuda Shapiro says about the English National Opera and the need for marketing research (http://operalively.com/forums/showth...ative-language) really applies to every other opera company out there. Opera companies need to find out what their audience(s) want, and then do their best to deliver it.

  13. #1718
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    There is so much beyond Verdi and Puccini and even 19C Italian that makes up the mass of programming at the Met (with a bit of Mozart thrown in for good measure). OK, it might be a bit big for baroque but what about all the French, German, Russian, East European and modern repertoire that rarely gets a look-in?
    I do think they do a fair amount of French repertoire (Gounod, Massenet, Berlioz; occasionally Offenbach). German, of course Wagner and R. Strauss are often there; Fidelio is coming. As for Eastern Europe they did Bluebeard's Castle last season and are doing this coming season Jenufa and Rusalka; for Russian regularly they do Boris Godunov and Eugene Onegin, and they did Iolanta last season. Agree with the lack of contemporary works by they did Two Boys last season and are doing L'Amour de Loin next.

    So, they do try. But yes, there are too many Verdi, Puccini, and 19C Italian. Indeed they are not doing a lot of Baroque (Giulio Cesare a while ago... none this coming season - indeed it might have to do with the size of the house).
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  14. #1719
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    According to a little blurb in the latest issue of Das Opernglas, der Jonas will sing Max in a new production (by Kasper Holten) of Der Freischütz in a future season at the ROH. He's also set to return to Covent Garden in the lead role of the ROH's production of Andrea Chénier. Needless to say, I'm hoping the former will be recorded for commercial video release.

  15. #1720
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    Needless to say, I'm hoping the former will be recorded for commercial video release.
    OH yes me too
    Natalie

  16. #1721
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Well, we didn't see that one coming ...

    Met announces Yannick Nézet-Séguin will be MD with effect from 2020/21. What happens during the intervening four years?
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

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  18. #1722
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    Well, we didn't see that one coming ...

    Met announces Yannick Nézet-Séguin will be MD with effect from 2020/21. What happens during the intervening four years?
    Parterre did.
    Natalie

  19. #1723
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Annie's crystal ball was right on target.

    http://operalively.com/forums/showth...opolitan-opera

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  21. #1724
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    Well, we didn't see that one coming ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    Parterre did.
    Sorry, I was being sarcastic.
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

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  23. #1725
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    Sorry, I was being sarcastic.
    oh dear duh.....
    Natalie

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