Thursday, September 24, 2020

Effects of the Met HD Broadcasts

 Over on Twitter, someone has stated that the Met HD broadcasts hurt other opera companies. The person - who is anonymous - knows this because they "do some work with classical music people" who know. I suggested that the Twitterer ask those people to write about this, and the person say, no, not going to do that. I then noted that if someone put the figures together and got them to a journalist, well, there's a story there.

I'm seriously curious about this. I can imagine the Met broadcasts boosting ticket sales by getting people interested in opera, and those people buy their first tickets to their local, smaller opera company. I can imagine people choosing to go to the broadcasts over live opera because the tickets are cheap, the seats are comfortable, the picture is big, and you can nibble on popcorn during the show. I should also note that there aren't that many companies doing opera on the Met's scale, with lavish sets, big orchestra, and internationally known singers, conductors, and directors.

Locally, the broadcasts aren't cutting into ticket sales by my personal local company, West Edge Opera, which sells out by putting on theatrically innovative, musically strong, performances of opera that is more on the fringes of the repertory than what the Big Company in Town does. They mostly cede core repertory to San Francisco Opera and put on complementary works, in other words, although the WEO Boheme was fantastic, possibly the funniest and most poignant production of that evergreen opera that I've ever seen. 

Challenge to the reader: if you know anything solid about the effects of the Met HD broadcasts - that is, if you can show that an opera company was either harmed or helped by them - and you're willing to talk about this and be quoted, let me know. Or let your local music or arts writer know, or even the folks at the NY Times. We're all ears.

No comments: