Arts organizations of all kinds recognize that their futures depend on cultivating new audiences who will form long-lasting relationships with them. Perhaps no art form faces a bigger challenge in doing so than opera. Many people who've never been to the opera believe it's stuffy and elitist, and certainly not a place they'd like to spend a Saturday night. They think they'll feel like ignorant outsiders who can't possibly understand, let alone appreciate, what's happening on stage. Minnesota Opera set out to dispel those preconceived notions among women ages 35 to 60 through an unlikely partnership with a local talk-radio host who had a knack for relating to this demographic. An opera buff himself, he made the art form relatable and exciting to women who had never been to a performance, so much so that they jammed the phone lines when he announced ticket giveaways to Minnesota Opera on his radio show. After four seasons of the partnership, 1,114 households new to Minnesota Opera had redeemed their free tickets to attend a performance, and 18 percent had paid to come back. The company found that perceptions of opera as elitist were not insurmountable, but also discovered that one or two positive experiences were not necessarily enough to turn most of these new audience members into frequent attendees. Follow-up research identified barriers to that elusive return purchase, and the company has used these insights to adjust its marketing strategy to bring a number of those new audience members back.