According to a statement issued this morning, Opera Boston is ceasing operations as of January 1. [Boston.com]
Happy Holidays to you also.Thanks for your very insightful comments.
The essential act of introducing opera at the early stage of a child’s development in the school setting is the only saving grace for opera. If it is not introduced in the home, the schools are our only salvation. Many will not like it but those that do will either pursue it as a vocation,advocation or will be our future audience. It’s devastating to realize that the simple act of not teaching classical vocal music would cause this state of affairs. There was a time when classical music was the only music taught in the school system. It should be a mandatory part of every primary school’s curriculum.
Not, sadly, when one of our major political parties has a vendetta going against the arts, wants to completely eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts, and wants to cripple the educational system in this country because it knows an educated, literate electorate is not its friend. I’m too discreet to name any names.
Kennedet is exactly right -- there is no substitute for early childhood education. It doesn’t even have to be opera per se -- any kind of active musical training will do; it opens up the ears and gives an ability to process music that very few people can acquire later in life. The kid who has learned to play an instrument, even at a basic level, or has sung in a choir and learned to read music, is then in a position to react to whatever strikes the fancy in adolescence or adulthood. It’s sad but true that people who don’t have this early exposure usually don’t “hear” in a meaningful way anything much beyond a beat and a tune -- maybe just the beat. There are exceptions, but damn few. Right, it should be mandatory (want to know why US and European orchestras today are full of Koreans? It’s mandatory there -- god bless them!). Not to mention that it tends strongly to improve math scores, etc etc
The Met broadcasts (and I include the HD) can only do good for classical music; not everyone is fortunate enough to live within driving distance of a decent opera company, much less a great one. One can’t reasonably decry the lack of musical education as an ongoing threat to support of the arts, then say that the Met is killing regional companies with its HD performances. The villain here is the economy, and the cuts people have had to make not only in their charitable giving but in their discretionary spending. Add to that the fact that managing a small nonprofit is no easy thing, particularly if management isn’t focused on keeping a grip on the bottom line. Audience creation is key; EVERY conservatory, college, and university had better get cracking and send students to public schools to do Intro To Classical Music programs -- and for cheap or nothing, since that’s what schools can afford these days. Make outreach performance a part of their required curriculum. Point out to the students that they’re buttering their own (eventual) bread by helping to create an audience for their art.
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