At the first COC podcast, we discussed the implications of a post from John Terauds, when he speculated about Toronto audiences.
In passing it was observed by one of us (perhaps Wayne Gooding, perhaps John Gilks, perhaps Gianmarco Segato; all I know is that it wasn’t me) that the venue in question was part of the problem. Koerner Hall was half full, which was the reason the matter was raised as a concern by Terauds. A half-full Koerner Hall? Still likely 500 people present, but it doesn’t look very good, does it?
Optics can make a huge difference, it seems.
On the one hand, you have the phenomenon reported by Terauds, where 500 seats seem paltry. Even worse is the example someone gave of a chamber concert in Roy Thompson Hall, where the ambience of the venue already seems too big, particularly if there are unsold tickets.
If you put on an opera in a smaller venue (that is, 100 seats or even fewer) and sell every ticket, making your audience frantic for those few tickets, the result is “buzz”.
The lesson would seem to be, that one should aim for the right size of venue. Too small? You make less money, even if you create excitement. Too big? Even if you’ve sold plenty of tickets, you don’t want to seem to be rattling around inside a large space, because there will be less excitement.