The audience crowds through the doors of a theatre built to inspire awe and support the spinning heroic sounds of the opera singer. This crowd is beautifully dressed and freshly dined on the finest fare the music center and it's surrounding restaurants have to offer. Ticket prices are steep and erudite well educated throngs find their red velvet seats in hushed tones. These are the images and stereotype of modern opera goers.
I recently came a cross the blog written by a young girl who was similarly astonished that the overwhelming belief that opera is for old rich white folks. This young woman reached out to the reigning queen of all things opera in the media, this was her response...
“The very fact that a young woman chooses the topic of Opera and breaking barriers should be all the proof needed to demonstrate that it is not the singular domain of a mythical, elderly elite. Yes, that may be the majority of ticket-buyers, however I will never fall into the trap that it is somehow irrelevant to others out of that particular demography. Seeing the nearly rabid look of astonishment and wonder on the faces of the most unsuspecting teenagers who have been coerced into attending an opera is all the proof I need that this art form – the singular one that combines all others – has a ferocious power to connect directly into the hearts of everyone. I see a hunger around me for people to FEEL things, far from their touchpad screens and sound-bite world, and Opera almost more than any other art form, can, in my happy experience, do this in the most magnificent of ways.” –Joyce DiDonato
I say god bless and thank you very much, to those well informed and senior audience members who have kept this important art form alive for all of us to enjoy. I am also grateful for those parents and elders in our community who continue to insist that school children and all walks of life should give opera a shot. it is because of those impassioned members of our art community that new kinds of classical performers are arriving on the scene.
Those of us who want to make the classics more accessible were fortunate to grow up in a world where 'Super Title Translations' in the big houses was a common occurrence, interpretations that speak to a new generation, and presentations that collaborate with other art forms became more common. As an artist I want to expand on this inclusive practice.
Of course I love the florid beauty of a Zeffirelli production at the Met and would love to be a part of that grand tradition, can also love the passion and vision of a production of Faust done as an episode of the Twilight Zone in tones of black white and grey - as performed by the young artists at Center Stage Opera in Los Angeles. I celebrate the popular rise of the Pacific Opera Project 2012 production of La Boheme "AKA The Hipsters". These kinds of productions are 'popping' up all over the country as young artists are finding their voices in this age old profession. I for one am all for it!
When opera began it was performed outside churches and in town squares. Brave artists like Luciano Pavarotti brought it back to the people with his many free outdoor and live concerts. Those of us who grew up after