Entertainment behind the scenes
Carmen – “trollops, treachery, filthy vices”
Perhaps the world of opera could learn a thing or two about marketing to the masses. Long seen as the bastion of wealthy, ageing patrons and obsessive fans, opera houses say they are trying to reach out to a wider audience by bringing down ticket prices and beaming performances on to giant screens and into cinemas.
The Sun tabloid in Britain has an alternative approach — make opera sexy. After the doors of the notoriously pricey Royal Opera House were thrown open to Sun readers last year for a cut-price performance of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”, a similar offer has been announced for Bizet’s “Carmen” on October 3. All tickets will be priced between 7.50 and 30 pounds ($12-50), a far cry from regular prices of up to 230 pounds per seat, not including the exclusive boxes.
Its description of Carmen sounds like an advertisement for a night out at a lap dance club: “Georges Bizet’s brilliant but tragic French opera, set in Seville around 1830, is packed with trollops, treachery, filthy vices and fabulous voices.” It goes on to describe Carmen as a “slapper”, a less-than-complimentary term describing a woman of, shall we say, easy virtue.
And here is what the most widely read British daily newspaper had to say about Don Giovanni: “More than 2,000 of you were treated to a night of blood, betrayal, ghosts and topless totty in the story about a bed-hopping stud who is dragged to hell for his wicked ways.”
If London’s Royal Opera House or the Metropolitan Opera in New York hired the Sun to write their programmes, they might just get the diverse audience they crave.