Cheap seats at the opera

I do not enjoy opera but I can understand that many people do enjoy it. At its best it is a fabulous mixture of music, dancing, costumes, set design, lighting and. of course, singing. I think that it is good to have opera and for people to be able to enjoy it, although as an art form I think it ranks a long way behind plays, poetry, novels and painting. In London the Royal Opera House receives about a third of its funding from the taxpayer. I find that astonishing. Most taxes raised come from poor people and I have difficulty in understanding why poor people should subsidise rich people to watch the opera.

As far as I see almost all rich people disagree with my view. However we do pay for opera, so while we do if you struggle to make ends meet or to pay your bills for the necessities of a civilised life you can seek comfort in the fact that a very small part of your sacrifice in tax has gone to keep the seats at the opera cheap. 

Earlier this year a deputation of the great and the good including the chief executive of the Royal Opera House met Gordon Brown to discuss “arts funding”. In the end the Department of Culture Media and Sports secured from the Chancellor, Alistair Darling in October an above inflation increase of 2.7% in the amount of taxpayers’ money they get to spend rising to £2.21 billion for 2010 to 2011. 

Maybe I have a warped sense of priority, but when the government want to discuss funding with the renewables industry they have never asked me or my competitors to talk to Gordon Brown (even though Genersys supplies around 30% of the flat plate solar panels used in the country) and we do not even get to meet a Minister. As for the renewables industry getting £2.21 billion in three years time I should dream on.

2 Responses

  1. Oswald Chambers said that there exists only one sin from which we must all desist, the sin of serving self above all else. Although I must confess to thoroughly enjoying Opera, I have just recalled the Emperor Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (aka Nero) who played his violin whilst Rome, which had prospered under his rule as never before, burnt. This ushered in an era of political change in that has been marked by historians as the beginning of the downfall of the once mighty Rome.

    Perhaps as Messrs Brown and Darling enjoy their opera, the earth will burn and this will usher in a new era in the fight for the environment? To be fair though, the good citizens of Rome saw their prosperity go up in smoke as Nero devalued the currency by reducing the mass of coins and in so doing also raised inflation levels.

    In Britain today does Average Joe see his proseprity threatened by the environmental issues and along with it the relatively good standard of living he enjoys?. Surely he must take portion of the blame for not holding his “senate” to account.

  2. I suspect that the average Joe has no idea just how quickly climate change will affect his prosperity, comfort health safety and well being, not just here but everywhere. Imagine if all the low countries had to cope with sea rises that cause widespread permanent flooding. Where will all the people affected go and when they get there will they be welcomed?

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