Opera in cinema
At this point, it's sometimes hard to know how exactly to write about the story of opera broadcasting in cinemas. It's a topic on which I've weighed in with some regularity, yet each time I write it, more people contact me with questions about it: how do I find out what's playing where? Are these broadcasts on TV? When will the next one be shown? It's notable that the Metropolitan Opera and Emerging Pictures, the two main purveyors of what is unfortunately termed operatic "digital content," have websites designed to make finding their showings easier, and yet the news is clearly not getting out there as well as it could be (perhaps because a lot of the target audience doesn't naturally turn to the Web to look for activities). As well as the broadcasts are doing, this is still on some level a failure of marketing: I think they could be doing even better.
(read more after the jump)
Does everyone know, for instance, that this coming week in the DC area you can see the Carmen from La Scala's opening night in December re-broadcast in Baltimore on Sunday; the rebroadcast of the Met's Simon Boccanegra on Wednesday in a number of theaters in the DC area; and the Mariinsky dance the ballet Don Quixote in a Herndon, VA re-broadcast on Thursday? (On Friday the 28th, furthermore, at the Washington Conservatory, you can see a broadcast of Charles Dutoit conducting Janine Jansen in the Brahms Violin Concerto, part of the season-long broadcast series from the Philadelphia Orchestra that I've also written about before.)
For opera, the Met's HD broadcasts are certainly the biggest draw. But Emerging Pictures, the outfit that's showing broadcasts of European productions, appears to be holding its own, and stepping up its live broadcasts (April will see back-to-back live broadcasts of "Abduction of the Seraglio" from Barcelona and "Simon Boccanegra" from La Scala).
And a presenter in DC has finally gotten on the bandwagon. Starting on March 10, operas from this season's Emerging Pictures offerings will air at the Atlas Theater every Wednesday night for ten weeks. The Atlas screenings won't include the live broadcasts, just taped productions starting with a 2007 Angela Gheorghiu La Traviata from La Scala and continuing with the La Scala "Carmen" on the 17th and "Romeo and Juliette," from the 2008 Salzburg Festival, on the 24th.
Posting this to my blog is preaching to the choir to some degree; even as I write it I think of lots of people I know in Washington who I know would be interested but aren't blog readers. Even an article in the paper is a drop in the bucket in terms of the scale on which the Met broadcasts, for instance, are operating. But the difficulty of getting the information out, regardless -- judging solely by the confusion I hear about from readers on a regular basis -- speaks to a basic problem of classical music marketing: how do we get the word out to people who might be interested, who aren't already going to our events? It's a question that this field hasn't thought about enough (with a few notable exceptions).
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