For years, opera has been portrayed as the home of the elite and the effete (think: the characters Frasier and Niles Crane of long-running TV show “Frasier”), but is that still an accurate representation of today’s opera scene? What is the centuries old art form doing to engage a much larger crowd?
Well, for one thing, the performances are trying to bring more passion and pop culture panache to the table. For example, up-and-coming bass Erwin Schrott and gorgeous soprano Anna Netrebko, besides having immense talent, also sport movie-star good looks. In addition, more singers are crossing the lines between classical opera, Broadway musicals, and popular music like recording stars Andrea Bocelli and Susan Brightman. It flows in the opposite direction too: classically trained Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth, known for her television work, plays opposite Toby Spence in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide beginning June 23, 2008 at the English National Opera.
What else brings opera to the masses in America? Well, there’s the simulcasts by the Metropolitan Opera and for computer users live streaming technology on the Met’s website. Another of several initiatives by the Met is free attendance at dress rehearsals. All have helped increase sales by more than 7 percent from 2006 through 2007.
What impact does this have on ticket brokers? Simply, any technology that increases the popularity of opera also increases the opportunity to sell tickets to live productions. In the tickets section of this website there are more than opera venues listed.
Ticket prices are generally comparable with those of Broadway productions. Tickets for the opera “Turandot” at the Bob Carr Arts Centre in Orlando, FL, for example, were selling for $154 for a balcony seat and $264 for orchestra.