Research on cultural consumption and its social conditions mainly focuses on tastes and on
products consumed rather than on modes of consumption. This article takes up this desideratum
and studies the modes of listening to classical music in opera audiences based on a visitor survey.
In contrast to the prevailing image of the silent and intellectual audience in high-brow institutions,
the study shows there is a broad array of modes people use to listen to classical music.With
respect to Bourdieu’s theory of arts perception, in particular his notion of cultural capital, one can
show empirically that the modes of cultural consumption in this case are determined by listeners’