FROM CENTRALIZED TO DE-CENTRALIZED: THE ONGOING STORY OF OPERA'S ADAPTATION TO THE CHANGING AMERICAN CULTURAL LANDSCAPE
Degree awarded: M.A. Performing Arts. American University This paper asks the question, what is opera's place in 21st century American society? Through an examination of opera's cultural history in America since the Colonial Era, the author examines numerous key points in the history of opera in America and examines how the society and culture of the time influenced and shaped the opera experience. The later part of the paper examines modern audiences, technology, globalized and democratized culture, and how elements of such phenomenon influence audiences' perceptions and opera companies' programming and marketing strategies. Finally, the author discusses the choice of "opera for all" versus "opera as niche", and examines the ways in which opera companies can reconcile the two positions.