Younger Generation Missing Out on Excitement and Emotion From Opera, but Not for Much Longer

Shiwen Rong
By Shiwen Rong
August 29, 2018Arts and Culture

Opera has a longstanding legacy in Europe, dating back to 1597 in Italy.

Klaus Billand, an opera critic, has been watching opera since he was 16. But he is now worried that this tradition will be lost as it is losing interest among some in the younger generation.

Music can stimulate and train various parts of the brain. This can even help young people improve their ability to learn, said Billan.

“We have to really consider the importance to get new audiences into the house. The present attendance audiences are too old; in 30 years we have big, big holes. So we have to consider bringing young audiences and new audiences to the opera houses,” said Billand.

Many opera houses, like Zürich Opera House in Switzerland, are trying various things to bring young people back to the opera.

General director of Zürich Opera House Andreas Homoki said: “Special program for kids: that’s the main issue we introduce this year. And it’s important to approach these people, first of all by productions that are intelligent and easy to understand. You have to really commit yourself to tell a story.

“Our goal is to bring people into the opera house so that they enjoy this, and not try to replace by other transmissions through media.”

However, bringing new audiences is not easy. Andreas Homoki explained the challenges that he faces: “In Opera, all the elements come together in a way (if it goes really nice) that you forget that you’re in an opera. You are just enjoying an experience of music, narrative, and emotional storytelling. Because theater is a live experience.”

If you are leading an opera house, you have to make sure that all aspects come together nicely.”

Through a yearly open-air event, Andreas Homoki hopes to bring more people to the opera.

“We do one thing which we are really proud of. Once a year we do a public screening. So we have a live screen and we have performances inside the house to the square outside in front of 14,000 people a year. The weather is nice, you have a picnic, you can drink wine, you are out on the square—it’s a beautiful thing.

“But that does not replace the opera inside that is important.”

For the upcoming season, Opera House Zurich will bring to audiences 17 new productions. From opera to ballet, to diverse concerts. It starts with a big opening party on Sept. 22.

“Come to the opera, the opera is fantastic, the opera is exciting, the opera is emotional. Makes you cry, makes you suspended, enjoy,” Homoki said.

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.