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  1. #1
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    Questionary for University research

    Hello everybody! I'm an italian university student and I need your help!!! For my research I need to know what you think about:
    - positives;
    - negatives;
    - what kind of service you think is missing nowadays
    concerning the structure itself, the performances and the services of opera theaters.
    I'll be grateful to everyone who will be kind enough to answer as soon as possible.
    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Welcome to Opera Lively, and good luck with your research paper. Interesting question, I hope our members will contribute extensively.

    However it is a bit hard to respond to this in general terms; the response would vary according to each individual opera theater. I think we do have a thread somewhere comparing the pros and cons of various opera theaters around the world. That thread would respond to a large chunk of your questions. I'm a bit busy right now to find it; maybe someone will and will post a link to it here, or you yourself will (it is probably somewhere in the General Operatic Discussion section).

    Another hard question to answer, is when you say "concerning the performances" - this will be even more variable, since the same opera theater can put together an outstanding performance one week, and a horrible one the following week. I don't know how to say anything about performance in the context of your question, so I'd rather reply about structure and services, regarding a couple of theaters that I know - please let me know if this is what you need.

    Metropolitan Opera House, New York City, NY, USA

    Structure

    Positives
    - Excellent acoustics
    - Comfortable seats with adequate leg room
    - The Met Titles system with subtitles in various languages on the back of the seat in front of you, with the ability to individually set the language
    - Location in the city, very central, with easy access through the subway - the nearest station is directly linked to the building by an internal tunnel
    - Parking on site

    Negatives

    - The house is too big (the largest one in the world). Certain seats in spite of good acoustics are so distant from the stage that it is hard to see without binoculars
    - Bathrooms can be crowded at times with long lines
    - Getting to the highest seat levels can be crowded with lines at the elevators or long climb through several flights of stairs

    Services

    Positives

    - Very efficient web site that sells tickets easily, without delays and waiting lists, and has a wealth of information including the ability to pay-per-view and subscribe to unlimited access to opera archives with video and audio of numerous performances - probably one of the best opera company web sites in the world
    - Excellent restaurant on site
    - Good snack bars
    - Met Opera Shop, likely one of the best in the business with many interesting items, souvenirs, and great selection of books, DVDs, and CDs

    Negatives

    - The restaurant is pricey; I'd say, even over-priced (it is of excellent food quality but similar or better food can cost much less in other good restaurants in the neighborhood)
    - I believe the playbills are deficient with limited information on the operas, as opposed to much more complete ones we see in some European houses
    - Not much in terms of pre-opera events, lectures, etc
    - Relatively closed access to backstage to meet artists unless one has advanced contacts with representatives of the artists or press agents

    Santa Fe Opera, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

    Structure

    Positives

    - Excellent access for the disabled with several rows for wheelchairs
    - Dramatically beautiful setting in the mountains with architecturally stunning theater open to the skies on three sides
    - Large open air parking on site
    - Right next to the highway, easy access by car
    - Subtitles on seat with a system similar to the Met's discussed above although with fewer languages
    - Comfortable seats with good leg room and great vision from all seats in the house
    - Good access to bathrooms

    Negatives

    - Relatively bad acoustics due to open air theater
    - Location of the theater in very high attitude and on top of a mountain can be taxing on older patrons who are short of breath even just by walking to the theater from the parking lot
    - Location of the theater with high attitude and low humidity is taxing on opera singers' voices
    - No access through public transport system

    Services

    Positives

    - Extensive around-the-opera dining options with various modalities from pic-nic and tailgating, to catered meals, to formal restaurant
    - Extensive pre-opera program with lectures, open rehearsals, backstage tours, etc.
    - Very good playbill; large, beautiful, colorful, and informative
    - Decent web-site as far as ticket purchases go
    - Good snack bars
    - Generous backstage access for members of the public who want to meet the artists after the opera, even for those without any contacts with artists or press representatives
    - Very welcoming and helpful staff

    Negatives

    - Small and crowded gift shop with limited selection
    - Web site is relatively less informative about the operas themselves

    Opera Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA (at the Music Academy location)

    Structure

    Positives
    - Beautiful theater with good acoustics

    Negatives
    - Uncomfortable seats with little leg room
    - Columns everywhere in the seating area obstructing stage view
    - Parking options not very convenient with full lots

    Services

    Positive
    - Excellent, long pre-opera lectures addressing even the musical structure of the opera

    Negatives
    - Extremely crowded access to meet artists after the opera with one small room where all artists simultaneously meet fans - you can barely walk inside and you feel like sardines in a can
    - No dining options on site, small snack bars

    Opera Carolina, Charlotte, NC, USA

    Structure

    Positives
    - Large theater for the size of the city with good acoustics
    - Comfortable seats with good vision
    - Excellent parking facilities with direct access to the building and cheap parking vouchers
    - Central location with access by rapid transit

    Negatives
    - Long bathroom lines

    Services

    Positives
    - Nice pre-opera talks
    - Nice pre-opera dinners and after-opera parties in nearby restaurants and bars
    - Informative web site with downloadable handouts on the operas, lectures, videos
    - Good snack bars
    - Very efficient and helpful staff

    Negatives
    - No dining options on site (but plenty around the theater)
    - No gift shop

    Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, UK

    Structure

    Positives
    - Beautiful house with excellent acoustics and stage vision
    - Good subtitle system
    - The house is the right size, not too big, not too small
    - Located next to the subway in a very nice neighborhood

    Negatives
    - Hm, I don't know. I never tried to park there; didn't pay attention to disabled access, etc - others here more familiar with the house might tip in

    Services

    Positives
    - Decent gift shop
    - Excellent, outstanding play bills with encyclopedic information on the opera
    - Restaurant on site
    - Large, beautiful bars on site

    Negatives
    - Restaurant quality is just so-so
    - Ticket sales through the web site is difficult and based on allocation of quotas and waiting lists

    Glimmerglass Opera, Coopertown, NY, USA

    Structure

    Positives
    - Stunning rural location in beautiful campus next to fabulous lake
    - Good acoustics and excellent vision from all seats
    - Easy, large parking on site
    - The theater has sliding lateral panels that can open to open air in good weather

    Negatives
    - Difficult access with no public transport and narrow, congested road, several miles from town
    - No air conditioning inside the theater
    - Relatively uncomfortable seating area with little leg room

    Services

    Positives
    - Excellent pre-opera lecture program by the conductor himself and related events with arts expo, etc.
    - Nice snack bars with pic-nic tables, some gourmet food items, wine bar with regional wines
    - Helpful, friendly staff

    Negatives
    - No full restaurant on site
    - Very small gift shop
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); December 10th, 2013 at 05:53 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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