Audience Engagement and Mozart’s revamped ‘Magic Flute’

‘Opera can be fun’. ‘The Magic Flute’ has been renovated for Opera Otago to bring it into the world of today. Even though the music remained untouched, this version is sung in English and includes high-tech stage effects. Thank you John Drummond – it’s a marketer’s dream!

We need innovative approaches such as these to broaden, deepen and diversify our audiences in today’s world. Some will be seeing this innovation as ‘a potential risk’. The bigger risk though, is not to reach out to new audiences and by doing so, not cultivating new opera fans for life.

Our audiences have more artistic choices than ever before, giving the arts practitioner and marketer more opportunities to be creative. It encompasses the entire creative process from programming via artistic creation, performance, outreach and marketing of the production. As in the case of the renovated ‘Magic Flute’, we should be creative and innovative to open arts such as opera to all and not to a selective few ‘opera connoisseurs’ – the opera belongs to everyone!

The question arises, how should we achieve this? Some pointers: innovative marketing methods using technology and the internet to reach out to younger audiences; innovative productions with young fresh faces and voices, such as in ‘The Magic Flute’; using new language (and a little bit of swearing in the script!) to reach and engage a younger audience. In my experience as a marketer, appealing to traditional audiences and relying on familiar methods of audience connections are no longer enough – we must become more creative on how to connect with the public.

We should understand the emotional landscape of and develop our audience as ‘custodians of the arts’ to ensure buy-in and survival of our art form. Opera Otago’s ‘The Magic Flute’ has all the ingredients to achieve these goals. Long live the Opera, long live our renovated ‘Magic Flute’! See you at the show!

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Post by Pieter du Plessis, Marketing Manager – Opera Otago

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