Every city has its own foibles. Here in San Diego, we have a thriving opera scene and three, very small, professional ballet companies. It's like Los Angeles -- there's plenty of interest in opera but they can't seem to sustain one, decent-sized ballet company. Of course, Los Angeles Opera has excited the region by bringing in Domingo (yes, one of the Three Tenors ;) ) as its artistic director and was going to present the Ring series with special effects done by none other than George Lucas. You can bet people were talking about that.
Ballet doesn't have anything going for it right now. No big name dancers OR choreographers, good companies don't have the money to tour and spread the word (this is how Anna Pavlova sparked so much interest in her day), ballet doesn't make its way onto TV or the silver screen much, etc.
In the last year, all of the arts have suffered. Every day another symphony goes bankrupt. Many, many opera companies had a deficit last year (San Francisco Opera -- one of the biggies -- had over $7 million shortfall this last season). Tickets sales are having problems everywhere because after 9/11 people wanted to stay close to home and therefore, instead of buying subscriptions, they are only buying single tickets. (The Lyric of Chicago is a special case.)
Ballet needs a tipping point. I just don't know what or when that would be...
Is opera now more popular than ballet?
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