Saturday, March 24, 2012

New York

New York has long been considered the cultural capital of America. Is it still? If not, where?

This is a contest entry.

The weight of culture in America has always been slanted toward New York.  I subscribe to The New Yorker and the New York Times because they are the appropriate outlets for news about arts in America.  I don't subscribe to the LA Times or the Chicago Tribune or even the San Francisco Chronicle because the amount of arts news is always going to be much smaller.

This purports to be an opera blog, though I like to let myself branch out into other arts.  By starting up the live in HD series bringing performances of the Metropolitan Opera into local movie theaters Peter Gelb has strengthened New York's leadership around the globe.

The provinces often take the lead in the area of new opera.  Leadership in the opera world in American can flow from the San Francisco Opera to New York, or in the case of the currently playing Maria Stuarda, from Houston to New York, but this has at times the feeling that these outlying cities are mere tryouts for New York.  What counts for the singer is success at the Metropolitan Opera.

On the planet it is quite another story.  In the world of opera Germany is still the leader.  However, the Europeans are rapidly demolishing their cultural institutions in the name of balanced budgets.  Eventually America may be alone, because our budgets come from private sources.

Writing about culture in America is in the process of disbursing to the four winds via the internet.  It is a new world.  If there is a new center, it would be the ether.

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