Are Musicals a Gateway Drug for Opera?

David Belcher at The New York Times recently reported on the trend of opera houses performing American musicals in addition to traditional opera.

Not only is it a way to add additional options to a company’s repertoire, but it could be the “gateway drug” that brings in a new audience and gets them hooked on opera.

It seems fair to say that an opera company will put a unique spin on Oklahoma! or The Sound of Music and that could be just the thing that gets newbies curious about the other performances on the calendar.

Of course, staging a musical can pose a few challenges. Richard Mantle, general director of Opera North, points out in the article that casting singers in the right role can be tricky and certain musicals work better than others. But for opera companies looking for ways to shake things up with both their dedicated audience and potential newcomers, this seems like an idea worth considering.

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