Sunday, July 24, 2005


Things people are worrying about___

Is opera a museum work? This is a fun argument and requires a pretty European look at things. If the answer is yes, then shouldn’t it be a MOMA instead of an old masters gallery? The lack of new works in the repertoire is seen as the fault of the managers and boards of the opera institutions around the world. “Force people to listen to new works whether they want to or not!” seems to be the manifesto. Ticket sales don’t even come into the argument. In America we have Broadway to provide alternatives to opera houses and symphony halls. So in a very timely way Opera News has an article about….

Is the American Musical dead?

Look, guys, the state of the musical arts basically went to hell in the twentieth century. The large institutions went on as though the nineteenth century had never ended while the heart went completely out of any new classical repertoire that came on the scene. Here’s a question for you?

How come we bragged so much about how superior capitalism was while Shastakovich went right on writing stuff that was significantly more interesting than anything produced in capitalist countries?

Because, you see, it all has to do with money. Ipod is saving Apple. Everybody likes the idea of buying music one song at a time for $1 or so. The number of people who want to buy a whole $20 cd is much lower. What if I don’t like it? So a $30 ticket to the symphony is going to appeal to how many people? And what if I don’t like it? And we haven’t even gotten to the $100 opera ticket.

Technology and the marketing of music to the mass public have changed everything. I hate to say this, but capitalism has won, and capitalism is Mariah Carey, not opera.

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