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Press Released: 09 Jun 2008

OPERA America Annual Conference Convenes Field Leadership in Denver June 10-14

The Metropolitan Opera: Live in HD Research Project An Important Highlight of Program

Survey shows HD attendance increases interest in live opera performances

OPERA America’s annual gathering of the field, Opera Conference 2008, occurs June 10-14 in Denver, Colorado. Six hundred representatives from nearly 100 opera companies will gather to discuss key issues and trends affecting the field. Hosted by Central City Opera and Opera Colorado, Opera Conference 2008 will be held at the Denver Marriott City Center, 1701 California Street, in the heart of Denver’s Arts and Entertainment District.

Among the highlights of the Conference will be the presentation of a new audience study by Shugoll Research regarding the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD broadcasts. According to a survey conducted this spring by Shugoll at selected movie theaters across the country, many of the attendees had a newly revived interest in opera due to the Met’s Live in HD transmissions. In fact, as a result of attending the HD shows, more than 92 percent of all attendees say they are now more likely to attend a live performance either at the Met or at another opera house. Almost one in five HD audience members had not attended a live performance in the past two years. More than 5% of U.S. attendees have never been to a live opera performance. The study was commissioned by OPERA America, the national service organization for opera.

“The fact that so many people are being introduced to opera through this initiative shows its tremendous value to the entire field,” said Marc A. Scorca, President and CEO of OPERA America.

“The results of this new survey show that our high-definition transmissions are accomplishing what we had hoped: generating broader interest in opera,” said Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb.

Opera Conference 2008, held in conjunction with the larger National Performing Arts Convention taking place in Denver, will address a number of priority issues for the opera field including audience and resource development, the creation of new work, education programs for children and lifelong learners, and the improvement of governance practices. Gerard Mortier, General Director-Designate of New York City Opera will deliver the keynote address. (Recent keynote speakers have included author Toni Morrison, Peter Gelb of the Metropolitan Opera, and composer Osvaldo Golijov.) Denver’s two important opera companies will perform Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia (Central City Opera) and Nixon in China (Opera Colorado). OPERA America’s New Works Showcase will highlight several works currently being developed with support from the association’s Opera Fund.

The Met: Live in HD Survey
Audiences in 34 cities around North America were surveyed at the Live in HD transmissions of Peter Grimes on March 15 and La bohème on April 5, 2008. More than half of the respondents said they were very likely to attend a performance at the Met if they were in New York. The survey results also demonstrate that Met audiences are extremely loyal: the vast majority of HD attendees also regularly listen to the Met’s Saturday matinee radio broadcasts. Furthermore, many respondents regularly attend performances at the opera house, have Met memberships, and listen to the Met on Sirius Satellite Radio and Rhapsody.

About The Met: Live in HD
The Met: Live in HD series was attended by more than 920,000 people in the 2007-08 season, more than the number of people who saw performances live in the Met’s theater. In the 2008-09 season, the groundbreaking series will expand to feature 11 live transmissions, starting with the Met’s Opening Night Gala starring Renée Fleming and spanning the entire season. The HD productions will be seen in 800 venues in 28 countries around the world. New countries to join the international distribution network include Mexico, Argentina, Costa Rica, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, and Ireland; new venues will be added in North America and overseas. The upcoming HD season will also feature live transmissions of five new productions, including the Met premiere of John Adams’s Doctor Atomic. The Opening Night transmission will be seen in North America only; the remaining ten high-definition productions will be shown worldwide on Saturdays through May 9. The Met: Live in HD series is made possible by a generous grant from the Neubauer Family Foundation.

About OPERA America
OPERA America leads and services the entire opera community, supporting the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera. Founded in 1970, OPERA America’s worldwide membership network includes nearly 200 Company Members, 300 Associate and Business Members, 2,000 individual members and more than 18,000 subscribers to the association’s electronic news service. OPERA America’s long tradition of supporting the creation of new works led to the formation of The Opera Fund. Since its inception, OPERA America has made grants of more than $10.4 million to assist companies with the expenses associated with the creation and development of new work. The Metropolitan Opera HD Survey is part of a larger research agenda for 2008; additional reports will follow.


For more information on OPERA America, visit About Us.

For press inquiries, contact Press@operaamerica.org or 212.796.8628.