What We Feel and What We Mean
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Where else can one jostle through crowds of elbowing 70-year-olds and climb six flights of stairs to reach the cheapest (read: 55$) and highest (read: nosebleed) seats then at the Lincoln centre opera house? The show, spectacle, the crowds, regally unruly, the bellboys, fake brits. Where has this arcane art form gone? But that’s a trite question asked by better critics than I, so rather than struggle to find some relevance of opera to pop culture or even touch on the music, which to be on display at the Lincoln opera house must be of some quality, I’ll focus on one aspect: the destination of opera.

The median age of the opera house being about 2.5x the life expectancy of some east African countries, one is troubled not to wonder who will be yelling, almost asthmatically, the “bravos” of tomorrow. I find this social phenomenon really interesting. Considering that none of those present are old enough to have lived when opera was popular, most of them growing up with bebop and early rock and roll most likely, how have they come to this place? Perhaps at some age a subconscious switch flips and forces one to pay 5$ for a coke and sit down to enjoy an incredible show for three hours. And there is no doubt; Faust was incredible, epic, and amazing produce. For the price, especially compared to Broadway, opera is definitely worth it. However one must also look at the seats, while the cheapest one’ll pay is 55$, one will also need to invest in some good binoculars. At Broadway, even though the cheapest is closer to 100$, the dimension is so much smaller that it essentially equals out. However it is in marketing and public perspective that Opera is dying. Unfortunately I am not schooled in Sociology, Marketing, or even Opera to be able to deduce any actual action, but recognizing the problem is a start.

Perhaps operatic singers should go back to the saloons, the bars, and the intimate scenarios where one can not only attend for less money, but also establish a relationship with the music. That I feel at least is the key for the survival of opera. Along with being generally very old, those who go to the opera, know opera, and that is something that is missing for the majority.  They don’t know the music, they don’t know the stories.


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