The ever wise and articulate Alex Ross of the New Yorker has a disturbing piece this week on his New Yorker based blog. It is not entirely unconnected to issues raised in my morning post of yesterday. And it is an analysis of a situation which we all in our business in the USA have seen creeping up on us during the last decade.
Oddly, it is a phenomenon that is less evident in Canada and in the UK. Indeed opera in Canada is hugely popular, especially in Toronto where the Canadian Opera Company continues to play to full houses with a varied and interesting repertoire. And the Toronto Symphony Orchestra likewise appears to be prospering after a downturn in the 1990s. In London five symphony orchestras - the LSO, the LPO, the Philharmonia, the RPO and the BBC SO provide an array of concert programs that must be the envy of music lovers in other great cities. And both the Royal Opera and English National Opera are in fine fettle with adventurous programming and inquisitive audiences of all ages.
So it is probably something to do with the education system here, where serious stuff has been marginalized and leisure activities are focused on sports at the expense of much else. The public and private schools appear to be equally at fault in producing young people with no clue about these things. And I guess it's been much like that for more than a generation, given that remarkably few otherwise well educated professional people under the age of 50 seem remotely knowledgeable about anything other than their work (and the bankers amongst them even screwed that up) and football.
Alex Ross has made some perceptive observations. Those responsible for the education of our young must pay attention. It is never too late. The professional companies are doing all they can to develop their education programs. But they can do that best in partnership with schools. I see insufficient passion in the schools' leadership. Hardly surprising since so many of them are members of the Fatal Generation X.
Rant for the day over!
The Morning Email helps you start your workday with everything you need to know: breaking news, entertainment and a dash of fun. Learn more