Publication Date

2005

Abstract

Despite its elite Renaissance beginnings, opera can now be enjoyed across a broad spectrum of languages and idioms around the world. As any art form, it has the ability to communicate messages that may be perceived as benign to one group and inflammatory to another. With its combination of multicultural, visual and aural elements, opera holds rich potential as an art form that could be embraced by socially conscious young adults. However, there seems to be a disconnect between this enthusiastic, media-entrenched cohort and opera in the Northeastern United States. This research investigates socially conscious young adults' perceptions of opera, their opinions of its relevance to contemporary life and potential to communicate a message or theme of social change, and the audience solicitation methods currently in place in the industry to attract this desirable group. Using surveys and interviews with members of this globally focused cohort and professionals in the field of opera, data revealed that both sides of this marketing equation see the value inherent in the other, but there are a host of stereotypes to be dispelled. Finally, this study asserts that socially conscious young adults must be promotionally targeted where they live and that ultimately, the art form may have to accommodate crossing genres. This research can be of particular use to opera companies in capturing new audiences, opera companies and recording labels in effecting successful marketing, music educators in exciting students about a timeless art form, and sociologists in understanding musical preference and social consciousness in music.

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