The HBO test

But first, a warm and happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

And now…the HBO test? That’s something that, as I said on my blog, I wish opera companies would do. When they commission a new work, and it’s taken shape enough so they know how it’s going to unfold onstage, bring in someone from HBO. Ask them if they’d show a drama written and structured like this opera.

And if they say no, pull the plug! Cable/streaming outlets like HBO and Netflix are the gold standard these days for strong or entertaining drama. Too many new operas seem pretty feeble compared to what I see there.

My first example is Silent Night, by Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell, and I go into detail on why I don’t think HBO would go near it. And why it seemed like an empty evening in the opera house. So obvious, so stereotyped!

How can we attract the new audience we need, if we can’t match the quality they’re used to getting elsewhere?