Boom Days

by Suzanne Calvin

American.com, an online magazine of ideas, points out that the United States now has a total of 125 going opera companies, which is more than either Italy (twice as many, in fact) or Germany. Furthermore, “roughly as many Americans attend live opera performances as attend NFL football games.”

The National Endowment for the Arts found that opera attendance jumped 46 percent between 1982 and 2002 (the last year for which we have figures, which begs the question: how in the world can the NEA move that slowly?), at a time when other branches of the performing arts have struggled to fill the house.

Opera is rapidly becoming a major factor in American tourism, attracting both national and international aficionados. And, all in all, annual opera admissions in this country are now estimated at 20 million.

I kid you not, twenty million.

Just to put it in perspective, 22 million attended NFL games, including the playoffs, last season.

So, why do the performing arts continually have to BEG for coverage, especially from local television stations?

Why are local arts columnists an endangered species?

What part of “relevant to the life and health of our community” don’t they get?

Whoever the heck “they” are?

Suzanne Calvin, Assoc. Dir. of Marketing, The Dallas Opera

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