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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:


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