Skip to main content

I attended this Battle of Ideas Satellite event at The R.C. of Music on Thursday

X-factor: Singing in the name of quality?
Thursday 14 October, 7.00pm until 8.30pm, Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2BS Satellite Events 2010
Venue: Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2BS

Sarah Boyes, freelance writer and editor; assistant editor, Culture Wars; editor, Battles in Print 2010
Christopher Cook, visiting professor, University of the Arts, London; regular contributor, BBC Music Magazine; convenor pre-performance season with English National Opera, Join the Conversation; chair, Cheltenham Music Festival
Mark Frith, editor, Time Out London; former editor, Heat and Smash Hits; author, The Celeb Diaries
Barb Jungr, singer, writer and performer; current CD release, The Men I Love
Norman Lebrecht, writer, cultural commentator
Michael Rosewell, director of opera, Royal College of Music
Peter Whittle, journalist and broadcaster; director, New Culture Forum; author, A Sorry State
Chair: David Bowden, co-ordinator, Battle Satellites 2010; poetry editor, Culture Wars; TV columnist, spiked

A good debate where Norman Lebrecht argued that x factor type shows give people a false idea that singing is all about talent rather than hard work, huge amounts of practice and learning your art.
Peter Whittle rightly pointed out that x factor vs high art is a false dichotomy, that opera will never be popular (in a mass way) they are different things.

The 'high art' section of the panel appeared to me to be a bit fixated on pop culture, which raises the question why should they be bothered? The high arts need defending in their own right. The social inclusion, 'being relevant' agenda has made it unlikely that a defence of, opera for instance, for its own 'irrelevant' sake is heard.

This does put the notion of opera in pubs, a popularising 'inclusive' project, into perspective. As discussed by Angus Kennedy here:

http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2010/10/11/pub-lic-opera/

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Have we got copyright wrong?

Next Birmingham Salon: Have we got copyright wrong? 7.30pm Thursday 13th September at The Ropewalk, 15-20 St Paul’s Square, Birmingham B3 1QU


Is copyright a principle that is impossible to maintain in the modern world where reproduction is almost effortless? Should we take a pragmatic line and formulate alternative licensing and business models that are adaptive to the new realities of the digital age? Or should we, make a stand against the devaluation of works of art and entertainment as freebies, and defend the notion of social creations deserving of reward and accreditation? And as the British government prepares to make publicly available scientific research for everyone to read for free, are there separate principles involved in research literature on the one hand and artistic works on the other?

http://www.birminghamsalon.org/events.html

Life is a Dream by Birmingham Opera Co.

Two members of Birmingham Salon are taking part in Birmingham Opera Company's next production, the world premiere of Life is a Dream by composer, Jonathan Dove and writer, Alasdair Middleton. They have created a brand new, full length opera and they've used a legendary play by 17th century Spanish Playwright, Calderón. Artistic Director, Graham Vick, designer Samal Blak, and William Lacey from Leipzig Opera are in charge. Singers include British tenor, Paul Nilon as the King, Wendy Dawn Thompson (mezzo), Keel Watson (bass), Donna Bateman (soprano). They'll be joined by American tenor, Joseph Guyton who played Cassio in Othello and is a finalist in Germany's X Factor. Playing the role of Segismund is American baritone, Eric Greene.
One member of the chorus, Niall Crowley, wrote this piece 
for Independent about the production and the company:


Opera for the masses, by the masses?
By Niall Crowley In a disused tin-plate factory in a backstreet of Digbeth in Birmingham, an extra…

Drink, smoke, eat: prohibition today

I am producing and chairing this discussion on our changing attitudes towards personal pleasure as part of the Battle of Ideas Festival at the Barbican Centre, London.

Drink, smoke, eat: prohibition today
Sunday 21 October, 5.00pm until 6.15pm, Garden Room Under the Spotlight

Are we entering a new prohibitionist era? Drinking and even smoking are still perfectly legal, but there is a palpable sense that they are less acceptable than they once were. Cigarettes have become far more expensive thanks to punitive taxes, and the authorities would like to do something similar with alcohol. The spread of ‘no drinking’ zones in public places also seems to follow the pattern of smoking bans, which now cover every indoor public space and many outdoor ones too. So are we witnessing prohibition by stealth? Instead of banning certain activities, is the state trying render them socially unacceptable?

Putting smokers beyond the social pale certainly seemed to be health secretary Andrew Lansley’s obje…