Exploring partnering as a tool for developing European opera audiences

Macarena Cuenca-Amigo

Abstract


Purpose: The paper explores partnering as a tool for developing European opera audiences.

Methodology: The methodology employed in this study is based on a qualitative analysis, which relies on two techniques: content analysis and in-depth interviews. Concretely, the research has been conducted in two different stages: (1) a broad content analysis at European level; (2) an in-depth analysis at a national and local level, interviewing both relevant artistic directors and opera-goers.

Findings: The study reveals that in European opera companies, most collaborations aimed at developing audiences occur when companies seek to diversify audiences, but they seem to be underused when the goal is to broaden and deepen participation.

Practical implications: Although implementation of partnerships with opera houses may have practical difficulties due to the complex programming process involved in the coordination of an opera season, collaboration should not be dismissed as a method for developing opera audiences.

Originality: The paper deals with a main topic in the contemporary cultural management field: the audience development, particularly in the opera domain. Addressing this issue by the role of partnerships is an original way to consider it, as this external perspective is frequently mentioned as one of the most efficient ways of managing in a financial crisis context.

Research limitations: Only 10 in-depth interviews have been conducted so as to capture the voice of opera-goers and they are made in a restrictive context. Therefore, this paper should be considered as an exploratory research that could inspire cultural managers in their practice or that could be the seed for an advanced research. 

Keywords: audience development, opera, partnerships


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