bravo, COC: a blue-ribbon, 21st-century opera organization

Earlier this week, the Canadian Opera Company (COC) announced their 2012-13 season. In case you missed the slate of productions on tap, here’s the slick YouTube video they released on the announcement:

It’s a clean, fresh, energetic video–informative, too. I love all the personalities sharing with you in the video, as well. Everyone comes off as interesting and approachable, someone you’d love to sit down and have coffee and a good chat with.

The season is impressive–balanced. Watch the video and see for yourself.

But what I am most impressed with is their savvy use of smart technology to make their season announcement accessible and fun for fans. I give them a blue-ribbon for being a digital leader in every regard as North American opera companies go.

For instance, the news conference was broadcast via USTREAM, so anyone, anywhere in the world could watch and share in the event. How inclusive and wonderful!

Last February, I had a wonderful time in attendance at the Metropolitan Opera’s news conference to announce their 2011-12 season. And they had done a magnificent job– wonderful videos and photography, great remarks by Gelb and Levine, but only about 150 people could really experience that splendid event as we lucky few had. I wish more people could have seen and heard what I did. I told everyone I knew about it. By contrast, in using USTREAM to broadcast their news conference, Canadian Opera is welcoming the world to their announcement and made us all feel like fortunate insiders.

Also, during the USTREAM broadcast, the COC tweeted each new production and significant details as they were being announced. It was addictive. I was at work and needed to move off Twitter and onto something work-related but found it very hard to pull myself away. Masterful use of technology to engage anyone interested in opera and opera performance.

In the past, I have also participated in live chats during the intermissions of radio broadcasts. During the last one I took part it, Sondra Radvanovsky was answering questions to anyone registered to chat.  Did that make an impression on me? You bet it did. I felt privileged to have that opportunity to talk with the world’s reigning Verdi soprano.

The COC also has a blog and Alexander Neef, the general director, blogs, too. I just can’t say enough good things about Neef. He hails from Germany and has brought a level of sophistication (the whole ethos of German engineering isn’t far off the mark) with him that has infused the company, its hallmarks being innovation, high-quality, and forward-looking ideas that are implemented.

According to their website the Toronto-based COC  is “the largest producer of opera in Canada and the sixth largest in North America.”  Other companies, Lyric Opera in Chicago, for instance, and the Met, of course, are making performances available through live radio streams, all of which are fantastic.

Let’s see more coordinated use of technology to include operagoers, à la COC.

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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Audience participation, North American Opera, opera and technology, Opera Marketing, Video

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