It would seem that since G.F. Händel’s days there has been no change on how publicity is handled in London. According to some stories, Händel gleefully accompanied a cat fight by his two leading ladies (on stage, during a running performance!) at the harpsichord, shouting over the uproar in the house “There is no bad publicity”.
Not quite the same though, it seems. Not the same house (Händel’s opera house went bankrupt) but the same city some centuries later: Royal Opera House created some rather bad publicity for themselves. Blogger Intermezzo – who’s been blogging for years and always illustrated her posts with some tasteful pictures from curtain calls – has now been the target of ROH. Intermezzo received an email asking her to take down all the pictures referring to performances at the ROH. In response she took down all her postings – which was, given the time frame set by ROH, much quicker and easier to do. She has published all her correspondence with ROH on her blog. (We shall refrain from all the nasty comments that come to mind in connection with the very interesting grammatical and spelling choices employed by the ROH administration… after all, it could be embarrassing if two German bloggers were to get involved in this…. and then, we would probably make as many mistakes while commenting on theirs….)
ROH has the house right, meaning they can decide who takes pictures, videos etc.; but I can’t see them being in any sort of danger by Intermezzo reporting about their performances, and most certainly attracting more people to the opera than ROH does through its own website. It seems that they need a bit of help on how to operate within the social media space (they could have known about Intermezzo for years if they had cared to find out) – and attract a younger audience. Maybe they should have listened to Ben Cameron’s TED Talk and learned how many hours young people spend in front of a computer…
It is difficult to control what equipment people are taking into the auditorium (someone took a whole audio equipment into Simon Boccanegra and more or less openly recorded the opera sitting in row 3- we clearly saw the green/red lights from our seats above). ROH will probably sooner or later come up with the idea that everyone can only enter into their premises only armed with a ticket… (body searches? airport scanners?).
Well, at least people are talking/writing about ROH, right?!