India might not sound like the most obvious market for western classical opera but we at Opera Co-Pro were surprised to find out that in Mumbai there is an opera house that dates from the British Raj and was refurbished only last year! The Royal Opera House Mumbai re-opened its doors in October 2016 after being shut for over twenty years. It was inaugurated in 1911 by King George V. Architecturally it is based on the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden and the similarities are clear to see on its facade. It is currently in the hands of the royal family of Gondal, one of the wealthiest royal families in India. The word ‘Royal’ in its name is still pertinent and not simply a leftover from colonial times.
During the early period of its current ownership it spent several decades as a cinema and then fell into disrepair with even trees growing out of the façade. In 2010 restoration began and brought the opera house up to modern standards. The 574 seat theatre has now been open for just over a year. To celebrate its re-opening, Mumbai-born British soprano Patricia Rozario sang to a full house. The Royal Opera House Mumbai is the venue for anyone wishing to stage western opera in India and would likely benefit from co-production partners to assist with this.
Contact us here to co-produce or sell your productions in Mumbai!
French opera website Revopera has recently published a survey on the financing of 14 leading European opera companies. According to 2015 figures collated from various annual reports and press releases, coming top in Europe with the largest income is the Opéra National de Paris which includes the two opera houses – Garnier and Bastille – at just over €200 million followed by the Royal Opera House in London with just under €160 million and La Scala in Milan with €124 million. Within this, the Royal Opera House has the largest share of its budget emanating from non-subsidy, i.e. self-funded which includes all ticket receipts, philanthropic and private donations, as well as revenue from other sources such as programme sales, visitor tours, digital cinema; that makes up 79% of its income.
However in terms of philanthropy alone, the Teatro Real in Madrid has the largest share of its income from such sources—as much as 24%. The share of its income that is self-funded has almost doubled in 5 years from 40% up to 70%. Naturally this has also come about as a consequence of the economic crisis of 2008 which has seen a reduction in government subsidy for many opera houses and has enabled philanthropic contributions to increase as a share of income to an average of around 9%. This is often a lot smaller in Germany and the Benelux countries where opera companies not only continue to receive large amounts of subsidy but on average still offer among the cheapest tickets.
Getting excited about your own co-production? Here are three fundamental points to consider: planning, scheduling and the co-production agreement.
Planning How many months in advance do you plan your season and cast your artists? It’s essential to ensure that a partner’s management team plans ahead at a similar time so as to match your own planning requirements. In addition Production Managers should work alongside each other very closely so as to prevent any overlap which could result in delays from the workshops in producing sets, costumes and props.
Scheduling Discuss with your partner company(-ies) suitable dates to arrange concept meetings and agree on dates for workshops to release costumes and sets. Then times and locations need to be set for rehearsals in combination with all partners. Where are rehearsals taking place? What happens when the production moves to a partner company? Mind that you allow sufficient time between the end date of the co-production at one partner and the start date at another to give you enough time to transport and assemble the sets.
Finally it’s useful to consider the content of the co-production agreement. State clearly which is the Lead Production Company; who forms the artistic and creative team and what vision they shall provide, as well as which partner will own the copyright of the production. How should costs be shared among the partners; which company is responsible for transport, insurance and storage of sets, costumes and props? Then consider how certain tasks might be divided, namely who is responsible for making recordings or videos and sur-titles? One should specify what ensemble(s) is/are involved? Which soloists, chorus(es), ballet or extras are needed and how many.
It’s now been over two weeks since the launch of Opera Co-Pro and its platform and we are delighted to announce that it has been a resounding success! So far more than 120 opera companies of various sizes and located as far apart as China, the US and Europe have registered or are in the process of doing so. Over 450 users have visited the site and left valuable feedback.
It all began with our successful launch at the 1901 Arts Club in London at the end of September where much of the UK’s opera world was in attendance. Before an aria recital given by soprano Magda Di Giacomo accompanied by pianist Matthieu Esnult, Opera Co-Pro founder and CEO, Ambra Sorrentino, gave an impassioned presentation and answered questions from the floor.
With a spring in our step from our launch event we seamlessly followed through with our attendance at Opera Europa’s Opera Pilgrimage conference in Parma, Italy last week. So many opera managers from all over Europe were eager to meet us and find out more about our services. Our Marketing Manager, Vincenzo Brugaletta, ran many presentations for all those interested in finding out more. As a result over 75% of those companies in attendance expressed their wish to get involved with us. In only its first 14 days, Opera Co-Pro has already brokered two co-production contracts.
We are now thrilled to be launching the Opera Co-Pro blog. You will find here all the latest information and data regarding opera management. To complement our platform the blog will aim to bring you the latest news, trends and statistics regarding opera management in addition to publishing interviews with those involved with the dissemination of opera worldwide. We hope that you enjoy reading our blog and please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us—we’d love to hear from you!