Share your Opera

Together with the University of Vienna we created a unique project that introduces young, digitally-connected people to the opera. Starring: "Social Media Marketing" and the App "Opera Guru" that serves as second screen during plays.

The goal of the joint project “Share Your Opera”  between the University of Vienna, the Opera of Wuppertal and netzkern is to pick up young people in their digital media world and their language and to interest them in a visit to the opera. Despite many efforts and discounts, operas are rarely visited by young audiences. Its image is dusty: one is more or less forced to visit with school – and will voluntarily return only at 35 years plus.

Together with the intendant of the Wuppertal opera, Berthold Schneider, and his colleagues, we discussed the current state, the goals, and ideas to reach them in a workshop. Based on this, our digital experts advanced the idea of “Share your Opera” and defined various personas:

  • Elisabeth, the season ticket grandma
  • Luke, the trendsetter
  • Lisa, the arty one
  • Delwar, the Teenie

Elisabeth was especially important since the aim was to not only acquire new audiences but to not alienate the regular audience.

Target audiences are good; personas are better

The main idea of the project was to allow smartphones during the opera. Concerts or music festivals today work via Social Media, digital word of mouth, and distribution of on-site statements via smartphone. We, too, wanted to allow smartphone use in the opera hall. Via app, background information was supplied and also offered a channel to the outside in order to share the individual opera experience.
During research, the team discovered the app “Opera Guru” that was being developed by the University of Vienna. The app allowed to present background information for opera events. Thus, it was first used at the opening night of “Share your Opera” 2017 in the opera of Wuppertal. The app offers behind the scene views, scene summaries to follow the plot, and information around the origin of the play and the opera performers. This is especially helpful with operas in foreign languages, like Rigoletto, as there is no need to constantly read translations.
Our team conceived the use of the app in a way that does not obstruct the traditional audience and considered every detail. For example there will be external batteries (power banks) at the box office for sale or to borrow.

The project was a complete success. It was accompanied by many editorial articles in regional and supra-regional media and generated lots of discussion in the cultural scene.
„A project like this has never existed in any opera. In Denglish, we could call ourselves first-movers. In Wuppertal, we are spearheading a new, digital opera experience with extra value for all ages. We now engage young people – even outside the immediate region.“
Berthold Schneider, Opera Intendant Wuppertaler Bühnen