Having read the above, I’m beginning to realise that my fundament also must be similarly uninspiring by comparison.
Proms audiences seem to have a very healthy youth element these days, as they have done for as long as I’ve been attending. Opera less so, but there are other considerations such as cost and ticket availability, but on the occasions when we’ve queued/slept out for Covent Garden tickets (mainly thanks to my sloth and fading memory in forgetting to book the things in the first place), I’d say at least half of those queuing are very much on the younger side. Mind you, they’ve probably got more stamina.
We think it's probably best of all to start with children - even by the time people are at the young adult stage, they have formed preconceptions which are often difficult to overturn.
If going to classical concerts regularly from childhood, it just becomes a normal part of life for those people, not something 'for the elite' or 'for other people'. Sure, you will lose some along the way, but some will develop a lifelong passion for music and going to concerts - and that shouldn't just be limited to those children who learn to play an instrument or sing at school - we need people in audiences in the future just as much as we need performers!
To that end, we at Bristol Choral Society started a 'Mini Messiah' family concert last year that proved very popular - and importantly to us is just less in quantity, not quality, nor 'dumbed down' in any way.
You can read about our thoughts & experiences here:
We would be interested to hear your thoughts!
Two points. I was at the RFH Pollini Schubert concert last year and lots of young people were there; and maybe they are watching classical music on Youtube. Valentina Lisitsa has put most (all?) Chopin Etudes there and gets hundreds of thousands of hits. Maybe something is changing?