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Opera and Emotion: The Cultural Value of Attendance for the Highly Engaged

Edelman, JA and Sloboda, J and O'Neill, S (2016) Opera and Emotion: The Cultural Value of Attendance for the Highly Engaged. Participations: journal of audience and reception studies, 13 (1). pp. 24-50. ISSN 1749-8716

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Abstract

This paper examines the cultural value of opera through a study of its most devoted and long-standing audience members. Its key research objective is to develop our understanding of what opera-lovers love about opera. In doing so, we provide a case study of one way to research audience experience of the arts. We use a theoretically-grounded, interview-based method. Our analysis starts with a quantitative account of what people said, and moves to an in-depth, qualitative analysis of respondents’ emotional engagement with opera. We suggest that this paper will be of interest to performing arts organisations, to academic researchers of audience experience, and to those with responsibility for arts funding and cultural policy.

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