After my plea to Brendan Cooke, General Director of Baltimore Concert Opera, in the previous episode, he was kind enough to point me to a youtube video of his presentation at Ignite Baltimore #5. He prefaced his talk on Ignite’s website.
I’d love to discuss the dying art-form of Opera, and what we can do to ignite some interest, rather than the funeral pyre. The Baltimore Opera Company met its demise due to mismanagement of funds (easy to do in a business that inherently loses money) and inability to reach younger audiences. The alarming trend amongst opera companies and symphony orchestras is to “dumb down” the product, in the hopes of bringing in new audiences. This watered down product is often less inspiring, therefore less effective at bringing in new audiences. The theory of our new organization is that by eliminating many of the costly elements of opera (sets, orchestra, costumes) we are able to put a product before the public that is affordable, and effective. It’s our hope that when grand opera emerges from the ashes here in Baltimore, we will be able to continue as an “adult educational outreach” organization, helping to support the culmination of all art forms, opera.
I think these are the exact conversations we need to have in Baltimore now. It is especially important to answer the question how can we quell the trend of “dumbing-down”? What can we do individually to elevate the art form? Who’s going to make the honor roll in this creative class?
For you viewing pleasure I’ve added the youtube video here:
- You: Opera in Baltimore is thriving with at least seven opera companies (washingtonpost.com)
- Opera’s Free Simulcasts Pay Off (online.wsj.com)
- The Phoenix in Baltimore (netnewmusic.net)
- Macbeth at the Lyric Opera: Photo gallery (timeoutny.com)