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Thought Leadership

Seven stories of success from the opera world

Published2/8/2019

Read/View Time3 min


More than 50 leading opera companies are part of a global community of arts and cultural organizations that power their business operations with Tessitura’s not-for-profit unified CRM solution. In this collection of talks and success stories to celebrate Opera Day 2019, opera professionals from this community share some of the bold ideas that are transforming their organizations — and their audiences’ experiences.

1. Redefining an engaging and memorable visit

Royal Opera House

When the Royal Opera House in London embarked on an extensive capital development project named “Open Up,” the aim was not only to enhance the audience experience but also to welcome daytime visitors to this landmark site. While the design ensured improvements to the building, the project required that the physical changes were matched by a redefined visitor experience.  

“The expectations of audiences have undergone a seismic shift. Now, there's an anticipation — a demand even — for the experience to start way before the orchestra tunes up.” 

In her Innovator Series talk “The Journey from Customer Care to Visitor Experience,” Heather Walker, now Director of Operations at the Royal Opera House, shared the challenge of moving from a venue to a destination — from caring for your customers to delivering an engaging and memorable visit.

Watch Heather’s Talk >

Royal Opera House

2. Delivering an exceptional cultural experience 

Opera Australia 

One of the growing challenges in marketing arts and culture is the general public’s increasing lack of familiarity with the work and artists presented on our stages, in our halls, and in our galleries. Still, for many, the experience of attending a cultural event retains a hint of magic, an aura of something special. 

“Without changing the product, we’ve changed what we sell…The customers are way ahead of us, already using our product to fulfil needs we haven’t considered.”

As marketers, can we expand our audiences by recognizing and responding to these trends? In this Innovator Series talk, Georgia Rivers describes how Opera Australia is broadening its appeal to new audiences by marketing and delivering an exceptional cultural experience.

Watch Video >  

Opera Australia

3. Streamlining customer interactions to increase online bookings

Grange Park Opera

Chris Campbell discusses how Tessitura helps a small staff at a UK opera company. “Although I feel like we’re a small company,” he says, “we really punch above our weight.”

“Online bookings are rising exponentially. After four years utilising TNEW, 52.6% of seats were booked online — a 1,461% increase, or an average of 365% per year.” 

Read Story >

Grange Park Opera

4. Maximizing revenue with dynamic pricing

Santa Fe Opera

With ever-increasing demands on keeping a business edge, maximizing every dollar is critical for arts organizations. 

“Thanks to dynamic pricing, that extra money is now supporting our organization, which we believe is our audience’s intention.”

In his Innovator Series talk “Dynamic Pricing: Don’t Leave Money (or Seats) on the Table,” Tom Morris, Director of Marketing and Operations at Santa Fe Opera, shares how they are using pricing strategies to stimulate slow-moving inventory. He also demonstrates how to harness institutional awareness, outside expertise, and all the tools in the box to make informed decisions and analyze results.

View Tom's Talk >

Santa Fe Opera

5. Refusing to give up on a game-changing building project

Seattle Opera

In her Innovator Series talk, “The Art of Reinvention,” given when she was Executive Director at Seattle Opera, Kelly Tweeddale tells an inspiring story of transformation. 

“The art of reinvention is not finding the right idea…It’s creating an environment where the new can exist with the old.”

A major capital campaign to fund a game-changing building project suffered a near-death moment when the U.S. recession hit. But the campaign was revived and propelled forward with thinking and practices that might seem counterintuitive to organizations traditionally rooted in conservative, risk-averse environments.

Watch KELLY’S Talk >

Read about the New Building >

Seattle Opera 

6. Making opera accessible via a unique partnership

San Francisco Opera

“Opera stories aren’t just about pretentious kings and queens. Opera stories are about people in dire situations, down on their luck, betrayed by their friends and families,
left by their loves, forced to make impossible decisions and live with the consequences — all told through unamplified and unhindered human voice.”

“When we think about opera, we don't immediately think about prison.”

Alyssa Stone, Community Programs Manager for San Francisco Opera, shares how her passion for making opera accessible to all led to a unique partnership in her five-minute TN Inspire! talk, “Opera is the New Black: How Music Transcends Incarceration,” given at the 2018 Tessitura Learning & Community Conference.

Watch Alyssa’s Talk > 

Alyssa Stone speaking at TLCC2018 

7. Embracing innovation by partnering for success

Opera Philadelphia

When O17, Opera Philadelphia’s new season-opening festival, premiered in 2017 it marked the culmination of ten years of tremendous growth and change for this high-energy and innovative opera company. 

“While we are fortunate to have lots of tools in our toolbox to navigate our path forward, the thing that has propelled us the furthest is our belief in partnership.”

Annie Burridge, in her previous role as Managing Director of Opera Philadelphia, gave this Innovator Series talk on how Opera Philadelphia consistently creates the opportunity for imaginative and inspired work to happen.

Watch Video >

Opera Philadelphia

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Stepping into the Void: A Courageous Collaboration

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Torrie Allen on stage at TLCC2018
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