Megan Miller hopes to draw more young professionals to opera performances.
As director of marketing for Opera Carolina, she wants millennials to consider trading in one night out at nightclubs for a night at the opera. Miller sings for Opera Carolina in addition to running the nonprofit’s marketing efforts — a role she considers her dream job.
“For 12 years, opera has been my life,” Miller says. “I wanted to sell opera.”
To make it easier to target specific demographics for Miller’s marketing efforts, Opera Carolina has partnered with local tech firm Tresata. Abhi Mehta, the CEO and co-founder of Tresata, wanted to find a way to give back to the Charlotte community, and Opera Carolina needed a better way to view its data.
Mehta reached out to Miller a few months ago, asking how they could work together. In exchange for tickets, Tresata donated software to Opera Carolina so the organization could get to know their patrons better. Opera Carolina gives Tresata’s developers data about their shows and ticket sales. Miller says the software has made life easier for the organization.
It used to take hours to pull information from various spreadsheets but now Miller can log onto Tresata’s platform and look up how many millennials attended an event or see how many people prefer tragedies over comedies.
“It helps us with programming and makes us more efficient,” Miller says. “Maybe people would rather come to the opera in the fall.”
Miller’s goal is to integrate opera into “every aspect of the Charlotte community.” She is working D9 Brewing Company to brew an Opera Carolina beer, and The Punch Room at the Ritz-Carlton is creating cocktails for each of the opera’s shows this year. Miller is also inviting social-media influencers to dress rehearsals before performances to review the shows.
Miller says making the opera more visible in the community depends on relationships. She finds out what individuals or organizations need and then pitches how the opera can help.
For example, Miller launched the organization’s Opera Recycles initiative a couple years ago to turn leftover marketing posters into fashion pieces. One of the recycled dresses was even featured in New York Fashion Week recently. Miller says she promoted the designers behind the dresses at Fashion Week. The dresses have also been displayed at the Bechtler Museum in Charlotte and made an appearance at Tresata’s recent party in its new South End office.
“It’s now becoming something Charlotte asks for,” Miller says.
Opera Carolina’s season opens with “The Barber of Seville” in October at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.