Documentation 24th October

Session one: Live Cinecasts


Keynote Chris Morris, National University of Ireland Maynooth

The Next Best Thing

The mediatisation of opera is hardly new: audio recordings of opera have been produced since the technology first emerged, and television began broadcasting live opera over half a century ago. Meanwhile, the catalogue of opera on DVD now amounts to over 3000 titles. Yet the recent impact of webcasting and cinecasts has taken many by surprise. I reflect on these recent developments and ask what it means for the production of opera and for our understanding of the experience of opera. What does ‘live’ mean in this context? Can mediatised opera be understood in its own terms or is it merely what the Met has called ‘the next best thing’ to being in the opera house? Framing my discussion is the question of what the academic field of opera studies might bring to a consideration of these issues and whether anyone should care what it has to say.

Watch the Chris Morris Keynote here.


Panel 1

Cinecasts: the Met/ROH model

Should we be sceptical about the future of the cinecast phenomenon? What is the effect of the global ‘branding’ of opera? How might cinecasts affect traditional opera, its staging and the concepts of liveness and authenticity? What are possibilities and limitations for growth of the audience and of the repertoire? What can we learn from the different experiences of webcasting as opposed to cinecasting?

Seating order, left to right:

Jørn Pedersen Orchestra Director / Project Manager Media Production, The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet (speaker 2)

Vicky Kington Media Manager, Glyndebourne (speaker 3)

Andrew Pettie Head of Culture, Telegraph Media Group (speaker 4)

John Fulljames Associate Director, Royal Opera House (speaker 1)

See panel 1 here.

Session two: Current Audience Research


Keynote Martin Barker Emeritus Professor of Film and Television Studies, University of Aberystwyth; author of Picturehouse Report on Opera Cinecasts.

Distinct/Distinctive: What Opera Audiences Take To and From Cinema Simulcasts

The phenomenon of opera simulcasting is clearly a major development – but what do we know about the audiences for these events?  And what do we need to know about them?  A number of pieces of research have been carried out.  The results from these have answered some of the important questions, but some others have hardly been touched.  In this presentation I will try to summarise what we know, what we don’t know – as well as asking some other questions about this emergent phenomenon.

See Martin Barker’s Keynote here. [PRESENTATION SLIDES – PDF HERE]

12.15 -1.15

Panel Discussion

In order of seating left to right.

John Holmes Head of Marketing, English Touring Opera

Karen Wise Research Associate, Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Emma Keith  Producer, National Theatre Live (NESTA research)

See panel discussion here

Session Three: The Future Mediascape

2:15– 2:45

Keynote David Berry Reader in Media, University of Sussex.

“Materiality and Post Digital Media”

2:45 – 3:45

Panel discussion. Chaired by Craig Vear, Reader in Performing Arts, De Montfort University. New media and the audience experience.

Sally Jane Norman Professor of Performance Technologies, University of Sussex

Mary Agnes Krell Lecturer in Media and Film Studies, University of Sussex

Session four: Audience development, Education and Marketing

4.00 – 5:00

Aine Sheil Lecturer in Music, University of York. What can new media and mobile platforms offer to opera companies seeking to expand their audiences or reach them in different ways?

Lucy Lowe Head of Education, Glyndebourne Opera

Tony Followell, Head of Media, Royal Opera House

Mark Ralphs, Managing Director, Bloom Worldwide