Preference Dimensions of the Estonian Opera-Consumer: A Comparison of the Audiences at Opera Houses and Mediated Opera Performances

Abstract

This article presents the results of a study in which the Estonian audiences of various stage versions of the same opera (live opera theatre performance and live-in-HD, which were shown at cinemas) during the same season were compared in a social constructivist paradigm to underline whether, and to what extent, audiences’ membership, cultural consumption preferences, attitudes, expectations, values and perceptions differ or coincide, thereby revealing what audiences distinguish as the differences or similarities between live and mediated opera performances. It presents the preference dimensions of the Estonian opera audience and provides an opportunity to discuss the issue of whether a technologically mediated cultural event offers any new opportunities for traditional opera to expand its audience, or whether it captures the audiences and creates competition for the theatres whose performances are not mediated. The survey was carried out among audiences attending performances of Carmen (Georges Bizet, 1875) in the 2014/2015 season at five different venues in Estonia. The findings revealed that, due to the fact that the hierarchy of motivators for the target groups of live and live-in-HD opera differs, it does not support the idea that opera theatre will gain new audiences from cinema or vice versa.

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