High Culture vs. Give the People What They Want

juandiegoflorezThe New York Times’ review for La Fille du Regiment isin, and as I predicted two days ago after I saw the premiere, it was fantastic.

What struck me most about the review is not that Juan Diego Florez hit all 9 high C’s, and not even that he did so twice, after having done the first solo encore at the Met in 14 years. What struck me at all is that there was a ban on this at all.

What? The Met has been too highbrow to allow for anything different? It is a wonder, then, that Peter Gelb (the General Manager of the Met Opera) was quoted in the Times as stating that opera should be “as entertaining and exciting for the audience as it can be.”

Isn’t that what music and opera and art and culture is all about? Give the people what they want? If culture is too highbrow for people, and old and outdated restrictions prevent audience desire from being realized, then the art itself will get scaled back and dismissed as something archaic and out of touch with consumer (yes, consumer) desire. That is what was happening with opera itself before Gelb took the reigns. Nice to see sense come back into the genre. High culture is wonderful, but it still costs money and needs support.

Go Florez, go!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *