Opera to the future!

London newborn start up Opera Co-Pro and Turin company Labinf Sistemi are glad to announce their arising partnership to launch a new Software for opera management.

LONDON- Opera Co-Pro will help the new partner in promoting its innovative Software for Opera Management, currently used by top European companies such as Teatro alla Scala, Dutch National Opera, Teatro Regio Turin etc. On the other hand, Labinf will offer to all Opera Co-Pro members the exclusive chance to try in preview all the tools of the new software.

The integrated system created by Labinf and promoted on Opera Co-Pro will allow managers to save an incredible amount of time and optimize their workflow with a simple click: budgeting, planning, casting, marketing, HR and administration will not be any longer an expensive long task to carry on by overloaded managers. The new features will be available to try for free to all Opera Co-Pro members directly on the Opera Co-Pro platform.

 

“We are absolutely thrilled to start this collaboration with the Italian Labinf Sistemi, a renowned Software company for large enterprises, and we hope that they will bring soon extensive benefits to all our clients”, says Opera Co-Pro CEO Ambra Sorrentino.

“Labinf Sistemi – continued the Italian CEO Giorgio Morizio- has over thirty years’ experience in delivering top software products and supporting our clients at every stage of their passage to digital technologies. Reports show how many opera companies still rely on pen and paper or Excel to carry on the majority of their daily administration. Our programmes will allow them to be constantly updated of changes of rehearsals, will be able to create contracts automatically and even calculate audience statistics in real time.”

It might seem a futuristic step for opera, the most traditional of art forms, but it will be surprising on how the opera companies that adopted the new software appreciate its benefits at the point that none of them has ever cancelled its subscription in the past ten years. The time has come for the birth of a new opera management era, with Labinf Sistemi and Opera Co-Pro to guide together a real change for the benefit of organizations and the development of a sustainable global market place.

17-09-2018

Copyright Opera Co-Pro Ltd.

Would you like to register FOR FREE on Opera Co-Pro or would you like to find a co-production partner for your opera? Contact projects@operacopro.com

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Heili Vaus-Tamm on the arts sector

On the last blog, Heili Vaus-Tamm shared with us her experiences in arts management. In this, Heili will comment on the current arts sector and she will also tell us more about her recent projects.

 

Heili thinks the current trend in the arts sector is the hybrid of arts and technology, and the mix of both forms reflects on how the distinction between reality and virtual world starts to blur.

 

“Combining technology and music will showcase the development of technology and how it can perfectly marry with live music. We had performances which incorporate technology like 360° lens robot and infrared cameras, and it creates such a unique sensation! For instance, our recent project with Musiktheatertage Wien, “Tarkovsky. The 8th Film”, was shortlisted for Fedora Platform’s opera prize in 2018. The production is about a guy who falls in love with his Robot-Nurse. The show depicts our attachment to technology, and also our expectations, hopes and fears in connecting with any new stuffs. It showcases a very relatable issue in our generation.”

 

 

 

Tarkovsky. The 8th Film. (Source: FEDORA)

The incorporation of technology should not happen only on an artistic level, as Heili believes arts management should utilize the online platform more and gradually digitalize our management.

 

“we really need a market system for selling-buying productions, finding cooperation partners, singers, designers and stage directors.  I started with developing a web-based market, and we did a lot of preparations for the system. We got some supports from the Ministry of Culture of Estonia, but it failed due to some reasons. And then, after a while I heard about Opera Co-Pro! I was really happy about it! It shows that this is what the current market demands.”

 

As well as the technological aspect in arts, Heili is also interested in developing the children opera market and diversify the current opera market with audience from different ages.

 

“Another field I like to work hard on at Eesti Kontsert is semi-staged concerts and all kinds of events for children and teenagers. My colleagues have already done great work here, but the society is still developing, on the youth sector especially, and we have to find new ways to speak with them. We need new attractive forms and new platforms to find our common language.”

 

It is exciting to announce that Heili in 2019 will collaborate with Opera Co-Pro and Magia dell’Opera on Il Turco in Italia educational project. We hope this collaboration will not only develop our children opera market, but also continue our beliefs in collaborations, communication and diversification.

 

Angus Wu

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Heili Vaus-Tamm on arts management

Heili Vaus-Tamm – current producer of Eesti Kontsert

Heili Vaus-Tamm was the producer of the Tallinn Philharmonic Society and is now the current producer of the Eesti Kontsert. She has been working and producing in the arts sector for more than 18 years. With her profound understanding, it is our pleasure to have Heili to share her experiences with us.

(Source: Eesti Kontsert)

Heili believes the ultimate goal in arts management is to have the company work cooperatively in order to create the right atmosphere for art-making.

 

“The best experience is when you feel that the entire company is breathing in one rhythm, all people are supporting and valuing each other. Only this kind of chemistry can unite a creative team. Believe me – no jealousy, no bitterness. Such a dream team can happen only with a positive-thinking, caring leader, so that people can  fit in and work cooperately. And if  one important member leaves, the balance will be destroyed and all come crashing down. You can replace one person after another – but you won’t succeed once the structure of your dream team is altered.”

 

As well as a great working environment, Heili also believes in the work ethos of “playing”. She believes the joy and fun in arts are intrinsic to artists:

 

“The most interesting thing in the works of a producer is to “play” with your artists – to find a place for them in the programme, to use them in ways that are surprising not only to the audience, but also to themselves. It is a great feeling when musicians are sending you a message after a concert, ‘It is wonderful to take part in this project!’”

 

Heili thinks it is important for producers to have the social-cultural sensitivity, and it is arts’ connections to society and human that make arts significant.

“I like a statement from a Russian director, Popovski, who said that the goal of future culture is to help people to understand themselves; like looking into a mirror. It means that art does not only provide an experience, but it is also a self-analysis process, like healing, like therapy. This is the reason why I worked on a series, in which one of the participants is a music therapist.”

On the next blog, Heili will comment on the current arts sector and share some of the artistic visions behind her upcoming projects.

 

Angus Wu

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Diversity, Community and Festival – Interviewing Inge Ceustermans Part.2

On the last blog, Inge Ceustermans introduces us to the European Festivals Association’s (EFA) The Festival Academy, from which we learned the importance of diversity to the academy. But how does The Festival Academy create such a metropolitan learning environment?

Venue is intrinsic to the structure of The Festival Academy, and the event is hosted in different parts of the world each season. Previously hosted cities included: Johannesburg, Chiang Mai, Budapest, Gwangju and more. Shifting  the geographical context can engage participants from different backgrounds, which enhances the accessibility of the academy as participants will no longer be geographically restricted to join this global network established by EFA. Inge thinks the academy in Johannesburg is a pertinently successful example:

‘The Academy in Johannesburg is the first edition that happened in the global south. It is very important to move the dialogue there, as immediately we can see the increase in participants from the Africa continent; which is very exceptional. This changes the perspective of the dialogue completely.’

 

Such process of diversification is still on-going, however, as show in the pie chart below, The Festival Academy already has a fairly diverse network:

2018 Repartition of the Atelier for Young Festival Manager Alumni per continent

 

However, creating such diverse environment is never easy. Cultural differences can be a barrier sometimes, and Inge shared an anecdote about an alumna who struggled to make her teammates fit into her shoes due to their different backgrounds. Therefore, working in such a diverse environment sometimes is about negotiation, comprising and managing expectations. To resolve problems like this, Inge believes the next step of diversification is to step out of the Eurocentric mind-set and create a reciprocal dialogue instead of just one-way ‘lecturing’. Hosting events outside of Europe is a way to diversify the participants. As well as that, Inge believes it is also important to diversity the structure of the festival:

 

‘Sometimes participants have difficulties in translating the conditions that they are working in. That’s why we want a more diverse group of speakers so that these international participants feel like they are more represented; creating an environment where everyone is culturally sensitive. And this is what I want to change. I want equal representation on all levels, including the speakers, the mentors, the participants and the board members.’

 

The European Festivals Association’s (EFA) The Festival Academy is, in my opinion, very symbolic, as it marks the flourish of the global community and the merge of different countries. It is a platform which celebrates diversity, multiculturalism, and most importantly, unity. I would like to finish this blog with a quote from an alumna who joined The Festival Academy:

 

I find [The festival academy] to be a space to leave aside the differences and identify all that we share. As many of us echoed, a focus on what is similar within our contexts, within our processes of work, how we feel and our belief, gives us the valuable opportunity to open our minds, leave behind stereotypes and biases we have collected unconsciously over the years, to identify multiple reference points to read and listen to each other and find ourselves in a position to transform through generosity.

 

 

Virkein Dahr, participant of the Atelier Chiang Mai 2016

 

Click here to learn more about the European Festival Association’s The Festival Academy, and check out their upcoming events.

Follow The Festival Academy on Facebook  now!

Angus Wu

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Diversity, Community and Festival – Interviewing Inge Ceustermans

(Source: The Festival Academy)

European Festivals Association’s (EFA) The Festival Academy is an exciting international project, which offers training on festival management to young festival makers worldwide. It was set up in 2012 following the success of one of its training programmes the Atelier for Young Festival Managers which was initiated by EFA in 2006. Today the Alumni network counts more than 500 participants from over 70 different countries and all continents!  The Festival Academy offers a platform for global networking and cultural exchange, and it is our pleasure to interview Inge Ceustermans, the managing director of the organisation, to learn more about it.

Inge Ceustermans – managing director

 

The Atelier was initiated in 2006 by EFA to fill the absence of training in artistic aspects of festival management, and to develop young festival managers’ understanding in both management and arts. Inge adds:

 

 ‘Festival managers have to be good at many things today. They have to be good communicators, social media experts, financial managers, marketeers etc. But it is important to remember what the essence of festivals is: art and the artists!’

 

In other words, The Festival Academy challenges their participants to reflect on the socio-political significances of arts and festivals within the global world of today.

 

Inge emphasizes that The Festival Academy aims to create a non-hierarchal learning environment, in which participants learn from experienced festival managers but also vice versa. Since every participant comes from a different background, their approaches in management may vary greatly. By positioning the participants in an international environment, managers can learn from each other and perfect their understanding in festival management. Throughout the training, participants gain perspective, widen their views, and learn the most appropriate practices in different contexts.

 

‘We have, in our training programmes, people from small festivals only run on crowdfunding and people from established institutes. They work in totally different conditions, but what they share is the passion to realise something, to create something. It’s all about this yearning feeling in your stomach that you ‘need’ to do that thing. And you make it happen!’

 

The Festival Academy is also significant to the European Festivals Association’s belief in diversity and the wealth of different cultures:

 

‘With rising populism, walls-building and xenophobia, the role of the community is ever more important. So creating this global network and enabling a global conversation are very crucial. These problems today are not the issues of one continent or let alone one nation, but need to be addressed globally. Solving Europe’s or other continent’s problems is linked to solving problems in other parts of the world, and for this, we need to go beyond borders  in dialogue, analyses, solutions and action.’

 

In short, The Festival Academy aims to create a global community where different cultures are united, and is a platform which facilitates celebration, communication, or even reconciliation.

 

To summarise the impact of The Festival Academy in five words, following the evaluations of participants, it is all about ‘networking, inspiration, self-confidence, new collaborations and skills’, and more than often generates a “boost” in the alumni’s professional and personal life.

 

Click here to learn more about the European Festival Association’s The Festival Academy, and check out their upcoming events.

(Source: The Festival Academy)

 

On the next blog, Inge will share more about the importance of diversity and how The Festival Academy is dedicated to creating a cosmopolitan learning environment where everyone’s voice is heard.

 

Follow The Festival Academy on Facebook  now!

Angus Wu

 

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The Thrive of Arts Followed by the Growth of Economy – Arts Venues in Busan

Busan is South Korea’s second most-populous and current largest industrial area. With its thriving economy and the influx of population, the arts and cultural scene in Busan is expanding exponentially. Busan is now acknowledged as a landmark for its cultural, economic and international significance. Especially with the recent trend of easternization in economy, international events like touring concerts, conferences, touring concerts and performances are always hosted in Busan.

BEXCO (source: M.M.Minderhoud)

Located at the city centre of Busan, BEXCO Auditorium is one of Busan’s biggest and most modern construction, and it can accommodate more than 4,000 audience. It hosted events like FIFA World Cup in 2002, Jason Mraz’s World Tour in 2012 and other various concerts. The venue remarks on the thrive of arts, and the grandness of the auditorium is almost a reflection, or even a celebration, of Busan’s growing economy.

 

If you are not a fan of extravagant and modern venue, maybe a more intimate space like Busan Art Centre is something that you are looking for. This performing space has a 240 seat theatre which allows local amateur and professional artists to practice their crafts. As well as the theatre, Busan Art Centre also has 3 rehearsal rooms and 2 exhibition halls.

 

My personal favourite venue, however, is Yeongdo Cultural and Art Centre. Yeongdo Cultural and Art Centre delivers high quality, engaging and diverse programme of cinema, performing and visual arts. It is located in scenic Yeongdo Cultural Park, where it has a well-stocked library, a sports centre, a soccer field, a tennis court and also an outdoor performance theatre. Yeongdo Cultural and Art Centre, then, is a hive where the community comes together and appreciate arts.

Angus Wu

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Digital Marketing – How and Why?

Why do I need a digital marketing platform?

During this information era, virtual world and reality seem to merge into one, which offers a lot of potentials for marketing and audience engagement. This is especially important to the performing art sector as your potential audience is not limited to regular theatre goers only, but it can be a random internet browser who gives your page a “like”.

How do I manage my digital marketing platform?

  1. Positioning and Branding

Identify a market problem or opportunity and develop a solution. After identifying a position in the market, your brand should be coherent to your positioning. A precise positioning and consistent branding can effectively connect your companies with your target audience.

  1. Pin down your audience

Using Culturehive and Audience Finder can effectively pin down your audience type. This is especially important to communicating your brand with your keywords.

  1. Choose your digital platform

Different social media have different audience. For example, Facebook users tend to be more mature, and teenagers have a tendency to use social media like Tumblr and Instagram. Select your marketing platform carefully is essential to a successful marketing campaign.

  1. “Go short or go long?”

According to a google research on online video marketing, short and long advertisements serve different purposes:

‘For brands with a focus on awareness, the short format can be both effective and efficient. Shorter formats can raise awareness, keep the brand top of mind, and create signals that drive important behaviours such as search […] For brands moving beyond simple awareness, a longer story may be necessary to persuade people to change how they think. ’ (Jones 2016)

  1. Interact with your audience

Interact with you audience and keep them engaged! Bear in mind you are not selling only an art product but an experience, and your online marketing campaign is part of the ‘package’ of the entire art experience! So use your platform to entertain them if necessary! A pertinent example is Wendy’s in America which interacts with their costumer on Twitter regularly but in a ‘sassy’ tone. The company successfully identifies a new position and create a new brand in the online market.

 

Angus Wu

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Opera Co-Pro at the launch conference of the FEDORA Platform!

 

FEDORA platform is a project funded by the Creative Europe programme. To continue the intercultural dialogue between artists, the FEDORA platform, led by Edilia Gänz, encourages innovative, hybrid opera and ballet co-productions within Europe. The project seeks to diversify the current products and also their audience.

 

The project has three main objectives:

  • Increases visibility for the works of emerging artists
  • Funds artists in support of productions with guaranteed quality
  • Develop the current market, targeting the younger audience especially

 

FEDORA offers two prizes each year for a ballet and an opera production, and L-EV Sharon Eyal Gai Behar and Wide Open Opera & LandMark Productions were the winner of FEDORA prizes in 2017. These prizes validate these artists’ creativity and dedication to arts, and they support and enable the next generation of talented artists to thrive.

 

FEDORA is a collaborative event with 19 opera and ballet organisations in 13 different countries participating. It is estimated that the project can reach approximately 4 million people. With the international engagement and the promising estimation, this project has the potential to enhance the cultural and economic interactions within Europe.

 Opera Garnier, Paris, is the headquarter of FEDORA organization.

Another focus of this project is the incorporation of digital technology. FEDORA aims to launch a Platform App in 2019/2020, which allows mobile donations and increases interaction with audience anytime and anywhere. This harnesses the digital shift to target loyal as well as new audience, which seeks to make arts accessible to everyone without the limitation of time or space.

 

Overall, this is a project in response to the needs in the current arts industry. It allows intercultural interactions between artists during the time when multiculturalism is celebrated. It also breaks the boundary between arts and digital technology during this information age. FEDORA indeed is an exciting project which develops our arts sector and cultivate our emerging artists.

For more information please visit here

Links to Fedora Platform Facebook page, Linkedin page and Twitter page

Angus Wu

 

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Data Analysis For Classical Music Managers 2.0

Opera Co-Pro’s Chief Technology Officer, Anna Costalonga, presenting the ‘Musik Lovers’ project at the recent edition of the Coding da Vinci cultural hackathon held at the Jewish Museum in Berlin. (photo: Annette Thoma / Konzerthaus Berlin)

An exciting new project for cultural institution managers has been developed which seeks to process and analyse data on the most performed composers and their pieces over a given period of time. As part of Coding da Vinci, a hackathon – a contest for software developers – that recently took place at the Jewish Museum in Berlin, organised by Wikimedia Germany and the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek [German Digital Library], involving several German cultural institutions and which aims to facilitate the digitalisation of the cultural sector; data scientist Carole Wai Hai and Opera Co-Pro’s very own Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Anna Costalonga, presented their project called ‘Musik Lovers’. Using the Konzerthaus Berlin’s data which was the only classical music institution that happened to be involved with Coding da Vinci, they charted concert information for the venue already set for 2018 and going as far back as 2008 concerning all pieces performed and their composers.

In their so called ‘Hitparade’ one might not be too surprised to find that Mozart, Beethoven and J S Bach are the three most performed composers of the past ten years and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is the most performed piece over that same period. Naturally these results only reflect the Konzerthaus’s programming which is not an opera venue. Of greater interest is the possibility of replicating this process with other venues and then comparing how pieces and composers fare across several institutions in different markets or even reflect a possible venue bias. Says Ms. Costalonga “This sort of data analysis is more commonly carried out in other business sectors to figure out end-user trends and provide an interactive graphic visualisation of sales reports but it has yet to be done in classical music management. This method could open up new and fascinating research perspectives for musicologists and classical music managers alike.”

There is of course a famous yearly study done by the website, Bachtrack, which only gives us an annual global view of all composers, pieces and performers rather than – as one might say in the jargon – a more ‘granulated view’ paired down by institution and over a longer period of time. The project has already caught the attention of the Senator for Culture of the Land of Berlin, Klaus Lederer, whose purview includes three opera houses and a myriad of classical music venues like the Philharmonie in addition to the Konzerthaus. The team at Opera Co-Pro take a lot of pride in our CTO and her partner’s research project and hope it will encourage opera managers, music directors and venue directors to come forward and involve their respective institutions. Please visit musiklovers.eu to find out more.

— Richard Grossman

 

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Opera Houses and the Financial Crisis in Spain

The auditorium of the Teatro Real in Madrid whose public subsidy only constitutes 30% of its income. (photo: Fss.fer)

As they are in most European countries, the public subsidies provided by central, regional and local governments have been essential in preserving the precarious life and balance of opera in Spain.

Various models of management have been pursued by opera theatres throughout Spain, and the financial crisis of 2008 has impacted each of them to varying degrees.

Companies have resolved to explore new practices to surmount economic difficulty and evolve the public’s perception of opera as an elitist and costly spectacle. Some actions taken by lyric managers have been to organize free outdoor shows and share online performances. Many have also adapted financially by co-producing with other theatres and offering new ranges of subscriptions.

A primary concern for classical music venues today is to revitalize and expand their audiences, and the opera houses of Spain are no exception. Opera and zarzuela educational programs in collaboration with schools and universities are growing and increasingly being promoted by many larger companies, and subscriptions are becoming more flexible as their “younger audiences” become older.

Meanwhile, producers are looking for other sources of income to compensate for their reduction in public subsidies, though this has proven to be difficult within the current framework of economic circumstances. Opera XXI, the association representing opera and zarzuela in Spain, has repeatedly indicated that the 21% VAT for cultural activities and the absence of a genuine patronage law has prevented the performing arts sector from receiving private funding. In this context however, Teatro Real’s financial model may surprise. Having turned to private donors several years before the financial crisis, Teatro Real still continues to develop new ways of obtaining sponsorship with only 30% of their resources now coming from public contributions. (See our previous piece on European opera house financing – Ed)

In essence, Spanish opera houses have had to cope with great cutbacks while maintaining a high-quality operatic life and involving their audiences who continue to enjoy opera and zarzuela throughout Spain.

—María Elena Santaella Morales

 

The author is a PhD candidate in musicology at IReMus (Institut de recherche en Musicologie) of the Université Paris-Sorbonne.

http://www.iremus.cnrs.fr/fr/doctorants/maria-elena-santaella-morales

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