Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Young singers still love opera

Audiences decline, but students keep studying voice

Aspiring young opera singers don't get opportunities like this anymore.
Aspiring young opera singers don't get opportunities like this anymore.

The challenges facing young singers are becoming ridiculous. The art form is in transition, but thousands of students continue to study the art of operatic singing. Why?

Why does opera continue to resonate with a steady number of undergraduates? While there have been reports on the decline in English majors there is no correlating decline amongst music majors.

If the number of students is staying relatively the same then why is opera attendance declining? In other words, where’s the disconnect?

I’d have to say it comes down to marketing. Opera rarely shows up where the attention of younger audiences resides, and when it does it’s mediocre. Yes, I'm talking about the social media platforms.

Thirty percent of all online time in the United States is spent on social media sites. That is a number based on ages 16-64. Two hours per day on social media sites is the average. If we look at the number for teens it's nine hours per day.

Meanwhile, opera companies continue to invest in glossy direct mailers and billboards. There are opera companies who are on social media but they don't do if effectively.

I follow the Facebook and Instagram feeds of several opera companies and have yet to be enamored by anything going on there. It’s the same old stuff — a picture of a singer with a caption full of superlatives. I’m sorry but that blows.

Facebook ads can be effective if they are good. You can’t put shit up on Facebook and hope it doesn't stink. It always stinks.

So there’s my nutshell reason for declining audiences.

I only bring it up because the deck is stacked against the next generation of singers. There are going to be fewer opportunities for the same, or even a larger number of singers.

Becoming an opera singer is a huge undertaking. The application fees to graduate programs hover around $1000. That’s a non refundable application fee. Then there are the years of study which pay little to nothing followed by years of hoping to get cast in an entry level production which will pay, maybe, a couple thousand bucks.

By the time the current class of undergrads become fully fledged opera singers we will be in the year 2025, and who knows what will have transpired by then. Yet young singers continue to flock to the art form. Why? Because once you experience what opera can be it becomes your master and you become its willing servant.

Will young singers be able to participate in the art form? I say yes. However, they're going to have to create their own paradigm as the current mode — expensive out-of-town talent, full orchestras, labor unions, and millionaire donors — is on the way out.

Video:

Garrett Harris and the singers of Point Loma Opera Theatre

In the accompanying video I talk with four young singers after [their performance of Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief. Their enthusiasm is contagious. The sound quality is bad. Apologies. No external mic yet.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Korean War survivors, Hotel Del expels Prince Edward, Spanish Civil War vets, escape from Vietnam, tortured by Japanese

San Diego as vortex of world events
Aspiring young opera singers don't get opportunities like this anymore.
Aspiring young opera singers don't get opportunities like this anymore.

The challenges facing young singers are becoming ridiculous. The art form is in transition, but thousands of students continue to study the art of operatic singing. Why?

Why does opera continue to resonate with a steady number of undergraduates? While there have been reports on the decline in English majors there is no correlating decline amongst music majors.

If the number of students is staying relatively the same then why is opera attendance declining? In other words, where’s the disconnect?

I’d have to say it comes down to marketing. Opera rarely shows up where the attention of younger audiences resides, and when it does it’s mediocre. Yes, I'm talking about the social media platforms.

Thirty percent of all online time in the United States is spent on social media sites. That is a number based on ages 16-64. Two hours per day on social media sites is the average. If we look at the number for teens it's nine hours per day.

Meanwhile, opera companies continue to invest in glossy direct mailers and billboards. There are opera companies who are on social media but they don't do if effectively.

I follow the Facebook and Instagram feeds of several opera companies and have yet to be enamored by anything going on there. It’s the same old stuff — a picture of a singer with a caption full of superlatives. I’m sorry but that blows.

Facebook ads can be effective if they are good. You can’t put shit up on Facebook and hope it doesn't stink. It always stinks.

So there’s my nutshell reason for declining audiences.

I only bring it up because the deck is stacked against the next generation of singers. There are going to be fewer opportunities for the same, or even a larger number of singers.

Becoming an opera singer is a huge undertaking. The application fees to graduate programs hover around $1000. That’s a non refundable application fee. Then there are the years of study which pay little to nothing followed by years of hoping to get cast in an entry level production which will pay, maybe, a couple thousand bucks.

By the time the current class of undergrads become fully fledged opera singers we will be in the year 2025, and who knows what will have transpired by then. Yet young singers continue to flock to the art form. Why? Because once you experience what opera can be it becomes your master and you become its willing servant.

Will young singers be able to participate in the art form? I say yes. However, they're going to have to create their own paradigm as the current mode — expensive out-of-town talent, full orchestras, labor unions, and millionaire donors — is on the way out.

Video:

Garrett Harris and the singers of Point Loma Opera Theatre

In the accompanying video I talk with four young singers after [their performance of Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief. Their enthusiasm is contagious. The sound quality is bad. Apologies. No external mic yet.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Fall equinox, smoggiest days, Chinese flame trees, Saturn and Jupiter near moon

Natural San Diego, September 21-28
Next Article

Small merchants in San Ysidro suffering

Border businesses hardest hit
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close