Day two of OPERA America’s conference featured many a highlight: from the opening remarks by Anthony Freud and Marc Scorca to Tod Machover’s presentation of robots at MIT’s Media Lab. The conference opened with great speeches from OPERA America’s board chairman Anthony Freud (Houston Grand Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera) and president/CEO Marc Scorca. Both gentleman stressed the importance of cultivating and embracing new business models.
The sentiments of Scorca and Freud were reiterated by the keynote speaker, MIT’s Nicholas Negroponte. Negroponte noted that due to changing technological times, opera companies will have to look outside the traditional concert hall for new audience development, but that because more people have more access to information, there will be more potential opera-goers going forward.
Former keynote speaker Stan Davis addressed the state of opera in 2020 – a topic upon which he spoke in his previous keynote. Davis posed attendees with two scenarios for 2020: the state of opera is essentially the same as it is now, but no new works are being presented; or only 25% of the current major companies are inexistence, but opera is vibrant in schools, bars, clubs and new works is being championed by all the stakeholders involved. Attendees voted in favor of the latter option, but overwhelmingly longed for a third option: one where opera is just as vibrant as in the second option, but as institutionalized as in the first option. A panel made of Scorca, David Devan (Opera Company of Philadelphia), James Wright (Vancouver Opera), Robin Guarino (Cincinnati Conservatory of Music) and Greg Swinehart (Deloitte) discussed how adopting a new business model might foster this third option for the future of opera.
I spoke with several Boston-based opera companies during the second day of the conference to bring better insight to the Boston arts scene.
Here is an interview with Rudolph Rojahn of Guerilla Opera:
Here is an interview with Erin Huelskamp of Juventas:
After general sessions, the conference attendees hopped on busses to Cambridge to visit the MIT Media Lab. While there attendees were treated to a presentation by Tod Machover about new ways to use technology to present opera. He discussed how new pieces of smart machinery – those utilized in projects like Guitar Hero and Rock Band – might be used by opera companies in coming years.
As the presentation concluded, most attendees headed to the Oberon Theater for the New Works Sampler – a collection of, as it sounds, new opera works. I diverged from that path to explore Cambridge and visit The Lilly Pad wherein Julie Kathryn and I will be performing at 9:30 on Wednesday the 11th.
For more information, please visit: www.Page4Music.com/new
Thank you for listening and reading.