LA Opera "are looking for a few awesome people who are active in social media to attend the final dress rehearsal of Simon Boccanegra and tweet, Facebook, G+ and blog throughout the entire performance". They're after "authentic opinions and thoughts, and perhaps even a scene-by-scene recap of the onstage action".
What's novel about this offer is not that LA Opera are engaging in social media (yaaawn) or even that they're setting aside 'tweet seats' (again, not new) for the awesome few. Where they break with convention is in facilitating public discussion of a preview show.
And why not? Perhaps performances won't be quite polished. Maybe interpretations won't be fully crystallised.
But getting the word out early can only help raise awareness of the company's work. And by showing an interest in their audience's opinions and encouraging open expression, LA Opera create a mutually beneficial bond of trust and communication. The company discover their audience's needs and expectations. That has to help with fundraising as well as future planning. By thinking about and articulating what they see and hear, the audience feel involved and engaged. What's not to like?
Compare and contrast with the Royal Opera House. They (behind the scenes) actively discourage any discussion of public dress rehearsals - which let me remind you are paid, ticketed events - outside their own tweeted pronouncements. In fact their entire social media strategy seems designed to control audience response and channel it into harmless irrelevancies of the 'your favourite opera' type, while neglecting to provide concrete, useful information such as cast changes.
Incidentally, I'm not keen on the idea of 'tweet seats' for regular shows, where I suspect they distract tweeters and adjacent non-tweeters alike. But in a dress rehearsal, where production staff are coming and going and photographers are snapping away, someone fiddling silently with their phone is the least of the disruptions you'll encounter.