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Thread: Thoughts on the Future of the Performing Arts in the US

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    Default Thoughts on the Future of the Performing Arts in the US

    An alternative take on the future of the performing arts organization in the US: http://www.tinyurl.com/artsfutures/

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    How about this as a radical idea. As the world changes and moves more online, more manufactured and more and more fake, we cultivate live theatre and music as an experience that is more authentic?

    N.

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    Senior Member Rogerx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by artsalternatives View Post
    An alternative take on the future of the performing arts organization in the US: http://www.tinyurl.com/artsfutures/
    It's a world wide problem, not only the US.
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    How about this as a radical idea. As the world changes and moves more online, more manufactured and more and more fake, we cultivate live theatre and music as an experience that is more authentic?
    That won't get you very far. Live theatre and music will have to innovate, but I have no idea in what directions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
    That won't get you very far. Live theatre and music will have to innovate, but I have no idea in what directions.
    Why? If you believe in the power of an artform, then the artform is enough. There is a possibility that opera will die out (some would say it already has looking at today's singers). However, there will always be a remnant, however small that will hunger for something more authentic than that on offer by the leaders of the world. It's also possible that the way the world is going, the lack of opera will be the least of our problems.

    N.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    Why? If you believe in the power of an artform, then the artform is enough. There is a possibility that opera will die out (some would say it already has looking at today's singers). However, there will always be a remnant, however small that will hunger for something more authentic than that on offer by the leaders of the world. It's also possible that the way the world is going, the lack of opera will be the least of our problems.

    N.
    I agree. I feel that the lack of singers is at the moment one the most threatening things for opera. I don't think there's a single 21st century recording in the standard repertoire which would seriously compete with the powerhouse recordings of 50s, 60s, and 70s. I have no idea where the great singing tradition of the previous century has disappeared in such a short period of time.

    The second problem seems to be that there's no one to write new operas or those which are written are not necessarily as easily approachable for general audience. If we stopped producing new films and the cinemas only showed the old classics, it wouldn't be surprising that its popularity would decrease. I have nothing against contemporary classical music but much of it seems to remain very far from an average person on the street. It doesn't require an higher level of erudition to appreciate something like Beethoven's 5th or Verdi's Rigoletto. I'm a young person and many of my friends enjoy going to opera when I invite them. I don't think it's a question of opera being unapproachable as an art form in general but it just needs to start moving again.

    Performing arts, particularly theatre and classical music, run deep in European cultural consciousness and have survived for hundreds of years. I don't think we'll just let them die. It's part of our national heritage which countries try hard to retain. If we lost that, what will be left of our culture?
    Last edited by annaw; Sep-17-2020 at 13:17.

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    Senior Member vivalagentenuova's Avatar
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    I'm with those who think that opera is basically dead. If you put together a few threads on this forum you can see why. The quality of singing has deteriorated. The quality of staging and production has deteriorated and been taken over by directors who force their concepts on works and end up not presenting the opera you went to see but the director's work (seriously, just write your own damn play). The quality of new works is very low. When was the last time a composer wrote an opera that caught on outside the dedicated community of opera goers? That used to happen all the time, now it almost never happens. That's not sustainable.

    As an opera lover and someone who believes in government funding for the arts and for artists, I honestly couldn't justify spending millions of people's tax dollars on a new Bayreuth production.

    As for the article, to be honest I think it's totally absurd.
    Build the solutions, target your constituents. Push tactical content alternatives through channels that engage your audience around those insights…that is co-created in service of that truth….and, through insights gleaned from the response, build out and introduce new thinking in response to evolve and grow the conversation, to continue to engage your audience in service of your mission.
    Is that supposed to mean something other than: "innovate"? "Build the solutions" is the most bogus sort of corporate babble. Vague appeals to the knowledge economy, innovation, and tech-based "solutions". It's the same sort of meaningless drivel we've been fed by consultants and politicians since the nineties. I honestly can't decide whether it's a parody or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vivalagentenuova View Post
    As for the article, to be honest I think it's totally absurd.
    Agreed!

    The content of this thread is much better than the article.

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    Senior Member TalkingHead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
    That won't get you very far. Live theatre and music will have to innovate, but I have no idea in what directions.
    Well, innovation is about new directions I would have thought. Maybe we could innovate in a backwards direction and write new classical music whilst wearing wigs?
    Last edited by TalkingHead; Sep-17-2020 at 16:57.

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    At some point, just not doing what everyone else is doing must qualify as innovative. If we just limit innovative to something no one has done before, there is mostly just stuff that hasn't been done before for a reason.

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    Opera needs better singers.

    But aside from that what we need is people to be exposed more to opera and classical music. Classical is very different to electtical instruments.

    Opera will always be a more niche thing but strong convictions and passion can help it survive.

    Innovation for innovations sake leads to flash in the pan out of fashion in a week things. Opera needs to be more approachable. Though period dramas are always popular so I don't see why opera can't be.

    Hmm make classical music appear less snobbish maybe? I don't know how you would do that?

    Perhaps the secret will be in the selling of the theatre experience? Everything seems to be mission statements and customer experience these days.

    In rambling conclusion fresh blood and sell the live experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    How about this as a radical idea. As the world changes and moves more online, more manufactured and more and more fake, we cultivate live theatre and music as an experience that is more authentic?

    N.
    Are you suggesting that online "experience" isn't authentic? Why? What makes something authentic?

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    Quote Originally Posted by vivalagentenuova View Post

    As for the article, to be honest I think it's totally absurd.

    Is that supposed to mean something other than: "innovate"? "Build the solutions" is the most bogus sort of corporate babble. Vague appeals to the knowledge economy, innovation, and tech-based "solutions". It's the same sort of meaningless drivel we've been fed by consultants and politicians since the nineties. I honestly can't decide whether it's a parody or not.
    Hmm - to each their own, I suppose. When the article talks about context / agon, I think it speaks directly to the issue that you're having with directors "who force their concepts" onto works. You call "co-create in service of that truth" parody...but isn't the absence of that practice the root of the problem that you have with directors' "concepts" and what you perceive to be the "very low" quality of new work?

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    I want to go see Dune in a real movie theatre, or failing that, in a restored Drive-In Theater! I want to shelter in an air-conditioned movie theater when the weather gets too hot.

    I want to go hear and see Aida again, or The Ring at the San Francisco Opera again, or hear Mahler’s 8th at the San Francisco Symphony again, or Sing-along Messiah once more, or twice more, or get my ears pinned back by the fortissimo chorus of Dies Irae in Verdi’s Requiem.

    I want to go to Denny’s across the street from Disneyland to order their extra crispy hash browns with my breakfast.

    I even want to go to another MET in HD presentation (without Plácido, please).

    So, I have some hope.

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    Opera is a centuries-old, music-based art form substantially dependent on a centuries-old singing tradition. That tradition is mostly unsuited to contemporary music (actually, to my ears, most contemporary classical music sounds unsympathetic to singing of any kind), and much about the way contemporary operas use the voice tends to grate on me. I'd say that Wagner and Strauss pushed vocal writing about as far as it could be pushed without making the voice into something ugly.

    I'm sure my position on this is biased by my own experience as a singer, but I'm inclined to think that on the whole opera has had its day, though musical theater as a broad category is probably timeless and will persist, with singing styles and techniques suited to its musical idioms.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Sep-18-2020 at 07:54.

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