2011 audience statistics are out for Berlin's state-funded arts venues. Although the overall picture is a healthy rise in audiences, not everywhere has been so lucky, especially the opera companies.
Daniel Barenboim's Staatsoper, in its temporary premises at the Schiller Theatre, was 7,000 down on last year, and occupancy fell from 85.3% to 75.8%. Some have speculated that the Schiller is less attractive or less convenient for audiences, but I have to wonder what part 2011's rather dull programming choices played.
The Komische Oper did nearly as poorly. Its total of 157,321 visitors is 5,500 less than in 2010, and utilization fell from 61.1% to 58.9%.
The Deutsche Oper was the only house to show growth. I personally contributed to their record-busting total by attending three performances in 2011, compared with one at the Komische Oper and zero at the Staatsoper. I wasn't the only one - 11,000 additional visitors boosted its total audience to 252,000. It may have the lowest risk production style of the three houses, but could it be any coincidence that it had the most interesting and varied programme?