Opera Scotland

Opera company researching opera in cinema

Posted 2 Nov 2013

English Touring Opera, a regular visitor to Scotland, has teamed up with researchers at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. They have embarked on a collaborative study of the audience experience of cinema relays.

Speaking at Wandering Minstrels, a recent Study Day on Touring Opera, John Holmes from ETO and Dr Karen Wise from Guildhall set out their goals and hinted at some preliminary findings.

Their research will explore the contrasting appeal of live opera and cinema broadcasts, and the ways in which the emotional experience of audiences might differ. Another aim is to identify what from the success of cinema broadcasts can be used to increase the audience for live opera.

There are those who claim cinema screenings will kill off the audience for touring opera; others argue the forms are complementary and that in fact the screenings increase demand for live performances. But what happens when the date of a live screening coincides with a theatrical performance in the same area on the same night?

The research is funded by Creativeworks London, the lead researcher is Professor John Sloboda, director of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama's Understanding Audiences research programme.

The timescale is a tight one.  Research is currently taking place in cinemas and theatres up to the end of December; the findings are to be completed in early 2014 and made public by April.  Opera Scotland will bring you a summary of these as soon as they are made available.

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