It never ceases to amaze me how each audience reacts differently to our opera. We have presented The Elixir of Love to kindergartners, children, teenagers, and adults of all ages, including an audience at a senior living community.
Sometimes the reactions are predictable: adult audiences tend to react to the things we say, while young children react to the things we do. Other times, a particularly resonant or reverberant acoustic causes the words to be less distinguishable. And in a few cases the lighting in the venue is so low I wondered whether we could even be seen at all. Then there is the exciting opportunity to perform in the beautiful theater at Eastern Oregon University, complete with stage lights and a hyper responsive audience. But even with without all these variables, it seems that watching an opera can mean wildly different things to our audiences.
I feel extremely fortunate to be an ambassador not only for opera, but for all the performing arts. So often it seems that performing arts organizations struggle to encourage people to attend. There's some sort of barrier between people's lives and a seat in an auditorium. We create new ways to get people to buy tickets and market our productions. But we often forget the effectiveness of going to our audience instead of asking them to come to us.