I have no idea what she gets from royalties, but what opera has in common with any other genre is that those who are not at the top don't make very much. The top rock stars can easily make in the millions. But that's a relative handful, and the number of opera singers who do well (but not in the millions) are also a handful. The typical performer in opera doesn't stand out as a money maker and won't come close to a doctor or lawyer. The same is true for the typical rock musician including recording artists. If you are not at the top, you are lucky to make enough to live comfortably.
There are some artists these days who are bypassing the major labels completely. Rather than settling for a commission of 60 cents per CD, they can sell them on their own website. If they lose 90% of the sales that a major label would have brought them, they are still far ahead.
It's far easier to have a home studio these days because even a 24 track digital recording setup is within the reach of a smaller artist. And reasonably good quality 1080p video cameras are available for a few hundred dollars. Editing software that can work with multiple video feeds is not expensive either and even home editing software can easily handle several video feeds. It's not likely that a typical artist will fall into DIY mode, but the raw cost of equipment makes it possible for small production companies to pop up and do work that surpasses what studios were doing a decade ago.
So it would be entirely possible for an opera company or classical orchestra to produce recordings at a profit. Some of the best sounding classical recordings were made by RCA in the 1950s using two or three high quality microphones and an orchestra. Take away the analog tape, hiss, and recording limitations, and all you need is a distribution channel. It's very easy to sell on Amazon, and it's just getting things into retail stores that's a problem. It boils down to whether the typical consumer of classical music shops at WalMart or on Amazon. If in-store sales give the bulk of the profits, it might not be relevant if the studios are out of the loop and only the per-item commission for selling at Amazon comes off the top once CDs are produced. And if people buy into downloadable formats, then the costs are even lower.
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