Brussels, 19 August 2012
To the editor of the International Herald Tribune
The relevance of opera today
In the Letter from America “How opera became a drab affair” (Page Two, Aug. 18-19), Zachary Woolfe provides no.answer to his own “crucial questions on why do we go to the opera, and what are we hoping to get from it”. Instead he blames various film directors for trivializing the art form of opera in their movies.
Mr. Woolfe might as well have questioned the value of books and the arts if not culture at large.
Well, many people in Europe go to the opera for a variety of reasons – to enjoy the music and drama, to seek knowledge and comfort in their historical roots, and to be inspired by the symbolism and creativity of the composers and librettists.
UNESCO tweeted the other day: “Culture isn't fragile heritage or lavish recreation. It's a force for renewal and progress, an economic sector and a facilitator of development policies.”
That being said, opera company directors, like their ballet-concert-theatre-museum counterparts, will obviously need to continue to find innovative ways to cope with shrinking budgets while adapting to evolving expectations of the audience.
Jens A. Jorgensen, Brussels
Mr. Jorgensen is co-founder of Icons of Europe asbl that, endorsed by the World Health Organization, uses the arts including musical drama to call attention to the re-emergence of tuberculosis today as a worldwide killer second only to HIV/AIDS.