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Opera and the Young, Redux

And while we're on the subject of young opera audiences... I was struck by one of the finalists in Seattle Opera's "Confessions of a First-Time Opera-Goer" contest. The contest -- the latest in a whole string of such things that opera companies and orchestras seem to be coming up with in an effort to lure that elusive and much-desired younger crowed -- is searching for a young opera newbie to narrate a "reality-style documentary" that will involve lots of backstage time and finally, at the end of the summer, a complete performance of Wagner's "Ring."

But I bring this up simply because one of the finalists seems to me to demonstrate all the ways that opera can speak to a teenager, as I and other commenters discussed in my earlier post. Far be it from me to influence Seattle's contest by saying which one I mean, but the five finalists can be viewed -- and voted on -- here.

By Anne Midgette  |  June 3, 2009; 7:41 AM ET
Categories:  music on the Web , opera , random musings  
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I know its something we should all be worried about in the arts, but what exactly is the evidence that the young audience is so critical?

My (limited) understanding of arts marketing is from university, and that they've found that the audiences for arts have always been tilted to the older side of things because their kids have left home and they have the time and income to enjoy the arts. I believe this has been modified to include (and I forget the term for it) that arts audiences are always tilted to students (time/discounts) and upper middle aged + (time/income) and have always had the hole in the middle.

I suppose the concern is that compared to the existing generation of 55+, the current <30 hasn't had the automatic exposure to the arts that guarantees their eventual attendance.

Nonetheless, I'd still like some quantitative 'oomph' on the importance of young audiences.

Posted by: ianw2 | June 3, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

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