Paola Dubini

Made in Italy: positioning Italian Opera in the global context

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Opera; Theaters; Globalisation; Italian Opera Made in Italy; Production and Distribution of Opera.

This paper analyses opera as a sophisticated expression of the European culture and opera houses as cultural and economic actors characterised by a dense network of relations. The paper addresses the role of Italian opera within the global context, by examining the extent to which the traditional reputation of Italy as the birthplace of opera can be viewed as a potential source of comparative advantage in the production and distribution of plays. The empirical base of the research consists of 422 theaters and festivals in 50 countries producing 747 opera titles and 2.268 productions, and of 757 theaters and festivals in 67 countries performing 1.469 titles by 1.984 conductors and 2.171 directors. The time frame considered in the analysis is 2011-2013. Within this sample, Italy is - not surprisingly - well positioned in the global opera network, due to the high number of theaters and festivals and to the high number of productions. Moreover, operas from Italian composers are among the most performed titles worldwide, making opera a phenomenal element of diffusion of the Italian language worldwide. Italian opera houses tend to perform mostly titles from Italian composers, thus potentially making opera an outcome of made in Italy and of made of Italy. This popularity and this specialisation in the Italian repertoire does not necessarily mean that Italy has built a comparative advantage in the growing global market for opera. Developing a strategy in this field appears to be crucial from a cultural as well as economic point of view.

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