Sunday, 5 May 2013

Grand Opera

I was having a look through a few of the Belmont archives and see that I have not attended a traditional opera or operetta in Northern Ireland since 2011, when I went to see a very good production of  The Pirates of Penzance, by the New Lyric Operatic Company.

Since then, a key highlight of our season in Northern Ireland, Castle Ward Opera, has been ruthlessly shut down, despite continual, valiant efforts by the opera company to secure private sponsorship and funding.

Since then, we have no BP Big Summer Screen at Belfast's Botanic Gardens, an annual event I rather looked forward to, provided that the weather was fairly clement.

The permanent screen within the grounds of Belfast City Hall is, to my mind, a poor substitute; as is the location.

Whilst it is true that I have attended a couple of operas at the city's Grand Opera House since then, the productions have not been to my personal taste, which is essentially traditional.

Is the Royal Opera House the only venue which can afford lavish costumes, props, sets and ambiance now?

The people who sit on the boards of various Arts bodies, those who feel that opera, in their egalitarian world, is "elitist"; who despise grandeur, pomp, formality and tradition; the very people who thrive on spending others', viz. the Taxpayers', money.

These kinds of people have no difficulty with the Consumer buying expensive tickets for boy or girl band concerts; or even premier league football matches.

There's nothing wrong with the Elite; far superior to egalitarian clap-trap. Premier League front row seats are more financially exclusive than front stalls at the Royal Opera House.

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