The Opera Experience: Performing a Vibrato with the Audience

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Abstract

Audience development is a key issue in the cultural sector, so opera house managers and policy makers need to understand how and why opera goers enjoy an opera. Our research, which investigates opera enjoyment, is framed in the social constructivist paradigm and draws on interview data collected from 15 informants. Results suggest that certain pre-conditions are necessary to be able to enjoy an opera, mainly, being cultivated and actively acquiring a liking for the genre. As for strategies to prepare for an upcoming performance, some respondents approached it as a ‘special day’, while others viewed it as a ‘cultural experience’. For all our respondents, the experience was an emotional one. We conclude the article by discussing the implications of the results of our research.

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