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“If you’re really looking to defend classical music, follow Internet Rule 1 and don’t feed the trolls.”

I like this week. It started with an article by Mark Vanhoenacker in Slate magazine that irritated a few people. The result was an unexpected wave of optimistic journalism, arguing against the tiresome claim that classical music and opera are dead.

Upon further research, I confirmed my suspicions that there were plenty of lines written about the impending death of opera. My favourite had to be the one with the fanatical-Christian twist; it’s perhaps the densest source of prattle I’ve ever seen.

I found gems like this: “Unfortunately, the operatic voice – which evolved partly as a technical device to project a beautiful sound from the stage to the back of a large auditorium – has now become venerated for its own sake by opera fans, and, conversely, is offputting to many others.”

For its own sake?  Sigh. Screen Shot 2014-02-02 at 1.53.50 PM

But when I flipped to the sunny side of the debate, I found plenty of reasons to look forward to a bright future of opera and all things classical music:

  • Anne Midgette writes for the Washington Post about journalistic cherry-picking.
  • Marion Lignana Rosenberg at NewMusicBox makes sure we’re all in the loop about the surprising quantity of opera and classical music projects happening today.
  • At properdiscord, in my favourite deconstruction of the day, Andy Doe takes on that damned Slate article that got us all ruffled up.
  • William Robin at the New Yorker sighs in print (and in one awesome chart designed by Andy Doe) about how long we’ve been having this freaking debate.

Take that, opera scoffs. I like the way Geoffrey Wheatcroft puts it in his indecisive article on the above subject, so I’ll paraphrase: the mantra of opera and classical music can now change from “the situation is serious but not hopeless” to “the situation is hopeless but not serious.”  I think that’s a liberating way to shake off the redundant debate and get back to making more art.

Also, this.