Unexpected success ¦ Interview with Giampiero Beltotto, Il Teatro La Fenice

La Fenice

Il Gran Teatro La Fenice di Venezia

Due to my Italian passion I also focus on the social media activities of the two most famous Italian opera houses: Il Teatro della Scala di Milano and Il Gran Teatro La Fenice di Venezia. Of course I follow both of them on Twitter and Facebook. With La Fenice’s Twitter activities during their New Year’s concert I came to a closer contact with this opera house. They were very communicative and so I took the chance to ask the “Director Marketing and PR”, Dott. Giampiero Beltotto, some questions on their social media activities.

Dott. Beltotto, please, would you introduce Teatro La Fenice in a few sentences to my readers? Probably not every one might know your program and history.

giampiero-beltotto

Giampiero Beltotto, Director of Marketing an PR

La Fenice Opera House was opened in 1792 in Venice and rose two times (1836 and 1996) from her ashes like ‘La Fenice’, the bird of Herodotus Greco-Persian wars books.

For La Fenice, Rossini wrote Tancredi and Semiramide, Bellini I Capuleti e I Montecchi, Verdi wrote five operas, amongst them La Traviata and Rigoletto. During the 20th century, La Fenice was an international reference point, with world premieres of works such as Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, and Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel and Nono’s Intolerance 1960. The focus on contemporary creativity continues to be one of the highlights of the programme, as recent premieres of works by Kagel, Guarnieri, Mosca and Ambrosini have shown.

In the 2012/2013 season La Fenice was the Italian theatre with the most performances (opera, concerts, ballet).

We also take advantage of our gorgeous rooms dedicated to Apollo (Sale Apollinee) for other events like lectures, opera or music courses for the young people from the schools of the Veneto Region, gala dinners or La Biennale Music Festival, our long-term partner. Today La Fenice is a foundation, so it relies on partners’ subsidies, on ticket sale and on touristical programmes like the daily visit tours.

Which social media channels do you use?
At the end of December 2011 we decided to popularizes our history and our current events on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram and finally on our new website.

How do you use these social media channels? Or to be more precise, do you address different target groups with different channels? Does the content differ accordingly?
Every day we take a communicative tour on our website. We start the daily communication with focusing on a certain composer or musician, e.g. on their respective birthday. Well, on Facebook we share a photo with a little quote on the works of the composer celebrated, we write two or three tweets, we upload an opera video of the musician of the day. After “the celebration day” activities, we continue with our opera or symphonic events. We generally write on Facebook while using Twitter to share photos. On Facebook we write in Italian and English language, on Twitter often in English, because Twitter is not so popular in Italy.

Which target groups do you want to address? (e. g. artists, visitors, agents, the media, political decision makers, interested public)
We talk to all, but mainly to an inexperienced public. It’s very important to stay in contact with this audience to provide them with background information or specific knowledge on our activities. But of course we also offer in-depth information for a musically educated audience.

How have you integrated social media channels into your overall communications concept? How important are they?
We print a booklet for every opera or symphonic performance. We also use these publications to introduce our social media channels as an integrated part of our communication and, that’s important, as an extension of our communication activities. On Facebook, for example, we are able to share a printed publication online. So, the printed booklets for each opera rather address our traditional subscribers, the online version is dedicated to young people who might never have been to a theatre. We aim to attract them by using the new communication channels.

Which topics do you communicate and why? Has social media made a difference (e. g. new/more satisfied visitors, closer relation to your visitors, contact to artists, greater awareness in media/forums) How do you measure the success of your social media activities?
We have a big but unexpected success with our social media activities. We indeed talk with our audience. People ask for tickets or have comments or questions regarding our productions. The page is “live”, “animate” and never listless, well, that’s your success.

What was the feedback - in-house as well as from your followers - on your Twitter activities during the New Year’s concert? Are you going to repeat twittering from concerts?
During the New Year’s concert the feedback was supported by television. Anyway, I think it’s a good idea to twitter from every concert or every opera event One of our projects includes inviting twitterers especially to the performance rehearsals.

In the US, the discussion about offering special “tweet seats” for concert- or theatre-goers arose just recently. What do you or the management of La Fenice think about it?
I think it’s possible to do it, but we have to take one step after the other: for the time being we twitter from every concert and maybe at a later point in time invite twitterers to the performance.

Thank you Dott. Beltotto for taking the time to answer to my questions.

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