In my posts about the new classical music audience in NY, I mentioned the New York City Opera Monodramas production as a key event, one that drew this audience. I’d been to it on opening night, and City Opera was mobbed with the kind of people (younger than usual, for a start) that you don’t usually see at the opera. An arts crowd, not a classical music crowd.
So this was a success!
Which of course doesn’t mean that you don’t do any work. City Opera, in fact, primed the pump very intelligently, working hard to get influential arts people to the premiere, in order to start some word of mouth excitement. Clearly they succeeded. The opening night audience was proof of their initial success, and the audience this past Friday was proof that word of mouth developed.
As for the other four performances, sales, as I understand it, were greatest for the lower-priced tickets. So the orchestra seats downstairs may have been relatively empty, compared to the opening, but upstairs things looked better.
And that’s a fascinating picture in itself — a production that plays not to the older, well-off opera audience, but (once again) to younger arts- and event- oriented people, Richard Florida’s “creative class.” An audience we desperately need in classical music, not just because we need them to buy tickets, but because, if they come, it’s a sign that we’ve renewed ourselves artistically.
The lesson here: go out and find the new audience you want! Talk to it. Cultivate it. And give it time to build.