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Alexandra

Audience age and the arts

32 posts in this topic

Oh, there is so much to reply to here, I don't even know where to start.

When is someone emotionally ready to see ballet? I grew up in Japan and my parents did what all the other Japanese parents did, which was to take their children to art & culture events. Any time we went to the ballet, theatre, symphony, etc. my brother and I were far from the only kids in the house. We were brought up on it early and we both feel very comfortable with it. Now that we're adults, I like the ballet & theatre and he enjoys musicals & orchestras -- we gravitated towards our favorites. But we were exposed to the arts and this is what is missing today.

I think taking someone and introducing ballet (or opera, etc.) to them is one of the best things we can all do to support the arts. People must be exposed to the art, understand the art and have a positive experience with it. Then, when money and time allow, they will go back to it.

I work for an opera company and while our Education programs reach out to school-aged children, we don't have a particularly young audience. (Which is true for most opera companies in the country.) Now, opera tickets are expensive. We wanted to know -- is there a need among 20 and 30-somethings for opera tickets? Is it something that if you are exposed to as a child, you will go to once you start a job and have money or do you not bother until "you turn off the rock music one day" and start attending in your 50s. Well, let me tell you how our experiment is working: We have started 2 programs that bring the price of an opera ticket to $20 or less and each time we've offered the deal, we are flooded with orders from the 20 and 30-somethings. There is a need!

I realize that ballet is different from opera but before saying more. I'm taking a break and will check in again tomorrow.

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I'm going to add a late post to this.

I just finished a book call "Snobbery: The American Version" by Joseph Epstein.

An interesting book and reading it, I wondered if I was a snob, but...

He talks about the decline of the social classes and how the decrease in the "old family money" WASP-ish times have affected the arts. Whereas ballet, opera and art galleries used to be "high brow arts" now belong to the "common man" who can afford to go but afford to choose not to go back. And how the audience is still made up of the "old wealth" but's it's dwindling due to the "choosy" more cultured public.

He talks about going to a concert and hearing a mediocre piece being played "badly" yet the audience goes wild (thereby making him a snob, but only because he looks around thinking that these people know nothing ) He also goes on to talk about how marketing is done so much differently now. It's publicity, publicity, publicity and that's why you will get bonanza crowds to museum openings, but you won't be able to keep the same amount of the crowd coming back to see the same paintings on the wall. In essence creating gaps between the groups that go to see and the groups that want to be seen.

I just thought it was an interesting commentary.

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Hmmm. From your summary, it sounds as though this is about snobs, written by snobs. :(

It's so difficult to talk about these things without offending someone, or tiptoeing around and not offending anybody, and not saying anything. The arts have always been for the educated, people with leisure time, but not only for the wealthy, unless he considers anyone who owns a house wealthy. The middle class has always been part of the arts audience -- and since the early 19th century, often chastised by the avant-garde (of whatever generation) for being "middlebrow" -- that which is not quite High Art, definitely not Pop Art, and which the avant garde and the High Art people consider Bad Art.

Yes. Interesting commentary :)

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I'm not sure, but I think this is the same Joseph Epstein who used to be editor of The American Scholar. (I have no scholarly qualifications, but Alice was invited to subscribe by virtue of having been Phi Beta Kappa at Smith College way back when. Do I qualify as a snob for mentioning that?) Epstein ran into trouble as editor for his alleged lack of receptivity to article submissions by women and minorities. I confess, though, that I used to enjoy reading his regular essays in the Scholar, attributed to "Aristides." He was a master of the essay form. I'm surprised that Epstein extols the monied upper-classes, because Aristides used to frequently celebrate his Jewish middle-class upbringing. I have a feeling the subject of this book may have been suggested by an agent or publisher. But maybe I'm giving him too much credit.

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Certainly has a more interesting life together - in my opinion....However, you're right it does get expensive to buy those ballet tickets - and I only have 3 in my family!

piccolo - I'm glad to hear your opera company is having some good results by offering tickets at lower prices and encouraging families to attend. I was fortunate to have parents who took us to see plays...and then we bought the records with the music from the plays..OK, they were musicals but still! Because I was exposed to theater and to art museums and cathedrals, etc., I have kept my interest and do my best to expose my offspring to these things as well.

Oddly enough, I've noticed that a number of parents of young would be ballet dancers have never even seen a real, professional ballet performance!:eek: I just don't get it.

Nevertheless, "the Diva Program" seems the way to go. Do you think I might suggest it? ;)

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It is the same Epstein FF

and he admits in his first chapter that "it takes a snob to know a snob"

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