Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Opera, Now With 100% More Pop-ups

Fans of opera will soon be able to watch complete performances of opera from Covent Garden while basking in the warm loving glow of their computer monitor.

As part of a complete website redesign, the Royal Opera House will make Don Giovanni available as a free download.

I've always admired the Royal Opera House -- they do some excellent productions but where I'm really impressed is how they use technology to reach audience members. One of the first Opera Companies to offer podcasts and establish their presence on YouTube, their usage of technology is a pefect example of how a Company can use these tools to enhance the audience experience.

But I'm not sold on watching opera on my computer.

I spend 10+ hours a day in front of a computer. This is why I go to see live theatre. A computer is the last place I want to spend my downtime.

Still, Royal Opera House spokesperson Tony Hall commented "we're very excited by the potential this offers in terms of attracting newcomers and new audience members."

Just as I'm not sold on live opera broadcasts being aired in movie theatres equates to increased audiences in opera houses, I'm curious as to how people will make the jump from computer screen to theatre.

Maybe I'm just an old coot that believes going to the opera is part of the entire experience of seeing an opera.

Still, more opera out there for the masses can't be a bad thing.

- Edward


Felicia Mehl said...

I agree with you about opera in the movie theaters. I think it's an interesting idea but for some reason, I just can't get that excited about it. I'd rather sit in the back of the operahouse (if I can't afford good seats) than have a front row view in a movie theater.

But lots of people love it (the movies) and go devotedly. Also, if you can't see those particular operas live, it's great to have some access to the performances.

Thanks for the info about the download. I'm curious to try it out.

smorg said...

Heh, heh. It's a potentially uncomfortable idea indeed, though I do think it will probably benefit opera more than it detracts. The people who already would go see live opera won't be satisfied with watching it via the computer (with the lousy speaker system that they know has nothing on live unamplified sound)... But this has the potential of drawing in additional audience that would never give opera a try otherwise. Hopefully they'll be tempted into giving the authentic opera-going (to live theater) experience a try... and then get promptly hooked by the splendid performance they become regular opera goers.

It is, hopefully, like the supermarket sushi experience. You can like it if it's the first sushi you've had... then once it lures you into trying the real thing at authentic sushi bar, there's just no going back to the supermarket stale fish...

Smorg... has my fingers so crossed it's hard to type.. ;o)

San Diego Opera said...

fm, I'll give it a try myself too but I can't see myself watching it more than once beyond the novelty factor of it. Who know, it might be good. We'll find out next month.

smorg, Not sure if someone who's never been to an opera would even bother watching it (or would know about it -- yet to see their marketing campaign for this) but I agree it is at a nice entry level price - free - for the opera curious. Hopefully it will turn some new people onto opera.

All I know for sure now is that I'm having sushi for lunch. ;-)

- Edward