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Syracuse Opera looking to bring in a fresh audience this season

 Three women and one man sit at a wooden table with looks of distress.
Ashley Montalvo/Ashley Montalvo
Syracuse Opera's 2022 Fall production, "The Medium."

For its upcoming season, Syracuse Opera is working to attract new, younger audiences by breaking down barriers as well as misconceptions, one of the biggest of which, says Alexandra Deshorties, is that you have to look fancy to attend.

“You want to dress up, dress up. You don't want to dress up, be comfortable!" said Deshorties. "Whatever is going to enhance your experience. You want to wear your t-shirt and jeans or a tux, go for it.”

Getting rid of dress codes is just one way Syracuse Opera is looking to make shows accessible to younger audiences. Deshorties says they're also launching a YouTube project called “Opera 101” and continue to offer reduced tickets for students over 18, while children get in free when they're with a ticket-holding adult.

Syracuse Opera has also been adding modern works into the mix, like this year’s season opener, "I Am A Dreamer Who No Longer Dreams," about immigrants in America.

“Opera is for everyone," said Cate Berger, Director of Community Engagement with Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton, "but there is a large part of the community that wants to have these cultural experiences, who may not quite understand how they can engage and enjoy opera in a low-barrier-to-entry kind of situation. You don't have to go straight into Mozart, in full Italian!”

Tri-Cities recently partnered with Syracuse , to collaborate and share resources, which is helping both opera companies recover from the pandemic, which has been one of their biggest barriers in recent years, like virtually all arts organizations.

The new Syracuse Opera season is set to open October 20th at the Redhouse Arts Center. A complete look at their 2023/2024 season can be found here.

Marissa Carello is an undergraduate student studying magazine journalism at Syracuse University, expected to graduate in May 2025. As a student contributor at WAER, Marissa helps produce digital and radio stories.