2022, Volume 23
Towards an Understanding of Outreach and Identity: Professional Opera Singers’ Perspectives of Definitions, Value, and Status of Outreach
AUTHORS: Jessica L. Leary and Rachel Drury
ABSTRACT: The growth of outreach work in classical music organisations over the last few decades has cemented its place as a fundamental part of such organisations’ output. In doing so, it has also created a different mode of professional work for artists. However, tensions exist within the terminology that is used to describe outreach work, and in the terminology used to differentiate outreach from what is seen as the main artistic output (often performance). Academic discussion on outreach programmes has often been framed in terms of numbers, demographics, and experiences in relation to the audience. By contrast, comparatively little research exists into the experiences of, and impact for, the artists who engage in outreach work as part of their professional careers, and even less in relation to the singer. This small-scale qualitative study explored the lived experience of professional singers engaged in opera outreach work in relation to language (terminology) and perceptions of identity and status. Its aims are to gain a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of professional opera singers within this specific professional world and offer insight around the tensions in terminology in relation to their identity (professional or subjective) and status. Findings suggest there is a lack of clarity around the definition of what outreach work is, both by those inside and outside the industry. Furthermore, this lack of clarity impacts the identity and status of those singers working in opera outreach.
To cite this article:
Leary, J. L., & Drury, R. (2022). Towards an Understanding of Outreach and Identity: Professional Opera Singers’ Perspectives of Definitions, Value, and Status of Outreach. Australian Voice, 23, 49-59.