Opera is not for everyone. That’s right. It’s not for everyone. I love it, lots of people love it (thank goodness or we wouldn’t have anyone to sing to) but it really isn’t for ‘all.’ Now, wait: I did NOT just say that opera is elitist, or exclusive, or too hard for the average joe or jane to understand…just that it’s not for EVERYONE. Some people just don’t like opera. Not for political reasons, not because they don’t have access to it, not because they feel excluded by it, but because they don’t actually like it. They have tried it, and it doesn’t do it for them.
I’m conflicted about this. On the one hand, I’ve long believed that if we compare opera to the movies, then we’ll find that many people like some movies but aren’t “movie people”. Real film lovers are a unique breed, and most people who watch movies are not fans in that way. This could potentially be the case with most art forms. The people in the audience just need to enjoy themselves enough to come back again at some point, though the real fans will come to much more.
Practically speaking though, opera requires a certain amount of commitment just to get in the door. The ticket is more expensive (though probably cheaper than most people think). There are fewer times slots. And, yes, the language is often one the audience doesn’t speak in a musical style that is rarely fashionable. It’s a higher bar to entry than movies, especially as movies move closer to being internet products available on demand at home at any time.