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Why are opera and classical music discs so insanely expensive?

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5 replies to this topic

#1 of 6 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted January 22 2013 - 03:26 AM

Please can anyone explain to me why opera discs are so expensive? E.g. here in the UK, I've seen versions of The Marriage of Figaro or The Trojans costing more than 30 pounds sterling (versus ten or twelve pounds for a run of the mill movie). As far as I can see, the same price ratio more or less applies in the USA. At first I thought it was small edition sizes, but these opera discs are generally region free worldwide releases and must have bigger production runs than e.g. a lot of arthouse movies like the British Film Institute's Ozu series, which cost about fifteen pounds each. I cannot believe that it's a case of recouping production costs either, since a high proportion of these discs are straightforward recordings of television broadcasts of stage productions, and the stage productions themselves are more often than not heavily subsidised by public funds and/or corporate sponsors. The same argument applies to a lot of classical music discs as well, which again are stupidly expensive. I'm just baffled.

#2 of 6 OFFLINE   David_B_K


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Posted January 22 2013 - 03:47 AM

I would assume it is because such Blu-rays do not have mass appeal. Not all classical Blu-rays are overly expensive; but most are. I just imported the Royal Opera House production of Tosca with Gheorghiu/Kaufmann/Terfel for ₤13.59, which isn't bad; and it's not available in the USA anyway. Sometimes you can get good deals in the Amazon marketplace or ebay. I got the Thielemann/VPO Beethoven set new for a good price from ImportCds on Amazon.

#3 of 6 OFFLINE   Paul Penna

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Posted January 22 2013 - 05:21 AM

I managed to get the ROH Tosca from Amazon (US) back in October for $22.48, but as of now it's only available from Marketplace sellers for around $33 for some reason. I notice that as of today, Amazon has a number of opera Blu-Rays for $9.99, including a Verona Tosca, a La Scala Traviata ($8.99), Zurich Rigoletto, the Maazel Ring Without Words, maybe more.

#4 of 6 OFFLINE   JoeDoakes



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Posted January 22 2013 - 05:59 AM

It's pretty simple: 1. Opera is extremely expensive to produce and Opera Houses try to grap as much cash as they can; 2. The market for Opera is smaller so costs have to be spread over a more limited issue than with a mass release 3. Opera fans are generally will pay higher prices than most other consumer groups

#5 of 6 OFFLINE   schan1269


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Posted January 22 2013 - 06:06 AM

Being a fan of "world cinema" I can tell you first hand it is a "demand side" scale. The most I've ever paid for a movie? $65(And I'm cheap). It was for a Russian edition DVD of Ken Park. I got it before it was banned in the USA. The only reason I got it was because I have "every other movie" in the directors/producers/main actors line. Amanda Plummer is an actress favorite of mine. She is gloriously delirious in the movie. Notoriety(of the movie) notwithstanding.

#6 of 6 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted January 22 2013 - 06:31 AM

Many thanks for the replies, folks. Paul - thanks for the tip, and I will look more often in the bargain basement of Amazon.com. I picked up a very cheap (but good) Rigoletto there. I already have the Tosca and Traviata you mentioned - both are very good.

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