Monday, July 29, 2013

Hampson on Hardtalk – Opera May be Expensive, but it’s not Elitist

Thomas Hampson is one of our best ambassador/advocates for opera for  and to the people. He is down to earth, well-spoken, accessible, and of course, one of our many favorite baritiones! Here is a interview aired today on BBC 3 Radio on the program Hardtalk, a chat program of  interviews with the world's leading politicians, thinkers and cultural figures. Here is the intro to the chat: 
"Opera is one of the least watched art forms in the world, and possibly the most expensive. Hardtalk speaks to opera superstar Thomas Hampson. He says the way to get people to love opera is to get them to understand it, and then it has the power to transform. If he is right, could one of the most elite and expensive art forms have worldwide appeal?" 
Listen to it on iPlayer for 7 more days and/or listen and/or download it as a podcast.


  1. Rob,

    "If he is right, could one of the most elite and expensive art forms have worldwide appeal?"


    (Sigh)... Here we go again. Of course not!

    Sure, there might be a couple operas that one can appreciate and love at first but (in general) opera requires a degree of focus and concentration and a willingness to subsume oneself in the art form.

    Since the meaning of opera is fundamentally musical (its essential argument is posed in musical language) it follows that the truest lover of the art form will choose to spend his or her leisure time in contemplative study of recordings. Opera will never, ever be a medium of wide popularity. Its appreciation and love will always be confined to a relatively narrow segment of the population. Why? Because listening to, assimilating and internalizing the great masterpieces requires a level of commitment and patience that most people are not prepared to give (or, more likely, interested in giving).

    1. Well, I wouldn't disagree with you. Opera will probably always be of limited appeal. At the same time, exposing more people to more opera to more people could never be a bad thing. All of us had an opera "first time" that caught our interest and made us want to know more!


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