How many more Traviatas?
Read this article about how orchestras all over the world are in trouble. Audiences are fleeing and why?
Today someone told me this story of this true patron of the opera, a lady who has had season tickets to the opera for 20 years and eventually decided to stop going because she said “how many Traviatas can I watch?”
By always relying on the same repertoire, orchestras are not bringing in young concert-goers and now, it appears they are also alienating their faithful audience as well. They orchestra managers and director may think that the standard rep brings in audiences and they need to play it safe, but when you are not creating new audiences and making your regular one bored, you need to change and fast.
I saw Gustavo Dudamel on a big poster at my local Cineplex, advertizing for a simulcast on the big screen of a concert with the LA Phil. The repertoire? Beethoven and Brahms. Give me a f#$%ing break. I am not even remotely interested, and I love this kind of music more than the average person.
I may be biased, but I think that the secret to saving concert music and orchestras is with new music. Not experimental music, but new music that respects the audience, written by composers who realize that being a “smart” composer means understanding the psychology of your listener and that any compositional “system” is ultimately stupid if it doesn’t put that truth first: music is meant to be listened to, and listened to by more than just other musicians.
I can’t help but think of Celine Dion. She doesn’t write her own music, she is simply an interpreter of songs, but she only sings new songs – either she picks them or commissions them, doesn’t matter. The point is she would never have been an international success if she had just done Beatles covers. Nope, she would have just been a lounge act somewhere.
Orchestras have everything they need to succeed now. It is still the most amazing listening experience a human being can have. They just need more new music, better new music, and to promote these new pieces as events!
You know what? I don’t want to live in a world without orchestras…
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