There is a great article in The Telegraph ( link ) by Rupert Christiansen. He says “Putting on shows that people want to see does not call for La Bohème every night, but a degree of skilful and sensible marketing”. He argues that with better salesmanship who needs philanthropy.
He comments that “ENB’s new campaign may play well inside the M25, but it’s much too sophisticated and Vogueish for its core regional audience;” These are tough words for Northerners to hear as there are many sophisticated music lovers “Up North” but I agree with Mr Christiansen that there aren’t enough regulars to fill all the seats and there is usually spare seating capacity for classical music, opera and ballet outside London. My take on this is that we don’t experience enough of this sort of performance as children. I was never taken to see an Opera or Ballet with the school, why aren’t the empty seats sold off at discounted prices to educational establishments a month before the event if there is too much spare capacity? This could attract a whole new future audience. If there are concerns that children would disturb the paying clients perhaps they could go to the dress rehearsal performance for free. I also agree with the journalist that advertising posters are “too downbeat and low-octane”.
The number of people that say to me I didn’t think I liked Opera but I liked your songs and wanted to know more about where they are from is growing. For beginners to these performing arts, very long complex works seem to be just too big a jump to make from musical theatre productions and cinema shows. I love watching the Masters students giving snippets from all of the famous and great Operas and, just a personal opinion, I think that a week-long “Introduction to Opera” show made up of these taster scenes could work.
It’s a shame we can’t guarantee better weather to have more outdoor shows such as the one I saw being marketed in Verona, at the Summer Opera Festival. I do hear and read that more parks are getting involved in staging outdoor concerts venues such as: Tatton Park in Knutsford Cheshire, Delamere Forest near Chester and the Clonter Opera Theatre near Macclesfield are three local venues near to where I grew up but I’ll be honest as a child I didn’t know these events took place.