Operatic upturn as Houston bucks the Gelb gloom

Houston Grand Opera has announced a three percent audience increase this season and 92 percent capacity sales.

It’s a narrative that contradicts Peter Gelb’s gloom-and-doom line about the inevitable decline of the opera audience and the threat of bankruptcy at the Met.

Houston has also raised $165 million in donations. Full numbers here.


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  • I seem to remember similarly positive results for San Francisco and Chicago, also. Chicago, in particular, has had several years of increased attendance and giving. It’s quite an impressive operation – maybe coincidentally run by Anthony Freud, who previously set Houston on its current course.

  • HGO has NOT raised $165MM “over the year,” but instead during a comprehensive campaign that has spanned the last seven years. Not to undermine their successes, just to correct an error in reporting.

  • I’ll be one of the ways they did it was by being nice and appreciative to their ticket buyers, and contributors and patrons – very much unlike the Met.

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