Opera companies often wonder how to attract a more diverse and younger audience.
True many opera companies stage their classic operas in modern dress to make it more “contemporary”, but that misses the point: the music for “Tosca” is the same in modern costume or traditional dress.
The point is people go to an Opera to hear the music, not the staging; and frankly many, if not most people are not attracted to “Opera Music”, or at least they don’t think they are.
It’s not the fault of the music of course, it’s the culture and the perception that “Opera” is only for the rich and highbrow and not relevant for anyone who doesn’t own a tuxedo or an evening gown.
That’s the perception at least; but the Washington National Opera’s east coast premiere of the Opera Champion is changing that perception of Opera and it viewers.
Champion is an opera written by a jazz trumpeter and composer. The opera’s themes mirror modern themes: self-discovery, sexual orientation and the American Dream.
When the opera premiered in 2013 the audience was not just the “tuxedo an evening gown high-bred, but gays, African-Americans, Hispanics and many young people.
That is, people just like them.