“Opera is many things to me. Elitist is not one of them” – please debate

In the Guardian on the 21st March 2018 there was an article, “Opera is many things to me. Elitist is not one of them”. Opera is not elitest as music it is the inequality of funding that sets it apart and one could argue that it is conspicuous consuption writ large with two opera houses existing almost side by side.

Opera receives a disproportionate amount of public subsidy compared to other art form. In a time of continued austerity there are two opera house in London soaking up substantial public funding.

The Arts Council’s funding decisions are based on the bounded rationality of the past. The lack of art form polices guiding funding decisions has bedevilled the arts in England since the instigation of the National Portfolio bidding process in 2012.

The National Portfolio scheme was an abrogation of the Arts Council’s duty to ensure funding by art form on an equitable basis. The result is that in 2018/19, Opera will receive a total of £57.1 million of which 32.5% will be spent outside of London. Classical music will receive £19 million of which 55% is allocated to the English regions and jazz will receive a total of £1.6 million of which 30% is spent outside of London; 3.4 million people attend classical music concerts, 2.1 million people attend jazz concerts and 1.7 million people attend opera.

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