Symphony orchestras and opera companies across the country continually ask the same question: How do we attract a younger and more diverse audience?
Saturday night, I discovered something of an answer at the Washington National Opera's east coast premiere of Champion, a four-year-old opera by jazz trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard.
In 21 seasons of attending WNO performances, I've never witnessed a more diverse crowd.
The opera's themes of self-discovery, sexual orientation and the American Dream seem to resound even more loudly today than when the opera premiered in St. Louis in 2013. Perhaps as a result, audience members — straights and gays, many African-Americans, Hispanics and many young people — realized they would see characters who looked and acted like themselves on the stage.