The Estonian National Opera is a historical organisation familiar to every Estonian and many foreigners, which began in 1906 under the leadership of directors and actors Paul Pinna and Theodor Altermann in the form of the professional theatre "Estonia". Throughout almost 120 seasons, hundreds and thousands of productions have been staged at the Estonian National Opera, and the opera house and concert hall work continuously to offer the best experience to its visitors. The Estonian National Opera brings together a concert hall, an opera house, a conservatory, several rehearsal halls, costume rental and much more under its roof. In addition to visiting performances and concerts, the Estonian National Opera also offers tours of the theatre building, organising events and renting halls.
The Estonia Opera project commenced with its initial commitment, utilising Django CMS, a robust content management system constructed on Django. This framework facilitates straightforward content editing through the admin panel, using the React library and Bootstrap styles for UI components.
Noteworthy is Thorgate's contribution to the implementation of the intermission orders feature. This functionality seamlessly integrates with the AIRE accounting system and includes payment bank links. Importantly, Estonian pay links are incorporated through an open-source project developed by Thorgate.
How Thorgate helped
Thorgate Digital has been a partner of the Estonian National Opera for almost seven years, during which we successfully developed a comprehensive website. Our efforts included integrating various systems to streamline the opera house operations. As a versatile service provider catering to a diverse audience, we faced a significant challenge in designing the Estonia National Opera website: the need to present a wealth of information in a single location, all while ensuring a visitor-friendly experience.
Throughout our years of collaboration, Thorgate Digital has crafted a holistic solution for the Estonian National Opera. This encompasses a robust platform for event management, interfaces with essential external systems, and a comprehensive update to the general website. In comparison to the structures of other theatre and concert hall websites, the Estonian National Opera's site follows a distinct logic. With numerous genres and a substantial volume of information related to ballet, orchestra, choir, soloists, and general activities, the challenge was to disseminate this content in a way that caters to every aspect equally. All information must be easily accessible to visitors.
According to Maarja Pärn and Rein Mikk, representatives of the Estonian National Opera, a significant enhancement is the jointly developed intermission orders service. This system greatly simplifies life for visitors and the opera house by allowing visitors to order snacks and drinks directly from the website during the specific performance intermission, eliminating the need for long queues.
The pre-order functionality also enables the opera house to offer a more extensive menu selection for groups of varying sizes, thereby reducing stress for visitors and saving time for all parties involved. Orders placed through the website seamlessly integrate with the accounting program, streamlining sales administration and accounting processes. The widespread use of this service minimises costs associated with excess raw materials and resources throughout the Estonian National Opera. Furthermore, it aids the in-house catering team in effectively planning orders, personnel, raw materials, and other resources. According to Rein, this automation improves risk assessment and facilitates quicker decision-making regarding menu additions.
The collaboration between Thorgate Digital and the Estonian National Opera is progressing positively. Preliminary assessments of the developments facilitate ongoing budget planning, ensuring smooth communication. Maarja highlights the importance of having a designated contact person in collaboration with Thorgate, considering it a significant advantage. Despite the inherent complexities and the need for occasional adjustments, the website's overall performance is commendable, with Thorgate providing prompt support in more intricate situations.
Both parties acknowledge the potential for further enhancements to elevate the website's usability. However, given the abundance of information and materials, improving the user experience remains the primary challenge. The Estonian National Opera also desires to enable direct ticket purchases without leaving the page. Such a feature would enhance Estonia's understanding of the customer journey and provide greater flexibility in organising event sales.
As I see it, having a designated contact person is a significant advantage in collaborating with Thorgate. Despite the inevitable complexities and the need for continuous adjustments, the overall functionality of the platform is commendable. Moreover, in more intricate situations, the support from Thorgate has proven to be swift and effective.
- Maarja Pärn, Estonian National Opera representative