Educating the privileged elite

Opera News has very kindly given web access to a story  I wrote for their July issue, in which I compare fanboy culture to opera culture:

Fanboys are not always boys, and they’re not exclusively male. They are fanatical, deeply knowledgeable about their obsessions (sci-fi, video games, anime, comics), and when they talk shop, they do not suffer fools gladly. They are the warrior-elites of what is often called “geek culture,” which is not, in the end, all that different from the culture of opera-lovers.

 And I find a few things that opera educators might envy about the more contentious, wild and vibrant world of fanboys:

 I don’t hold up fanboy culture as an ideal. But there are two valuable beliefs innate to their world that seem to have leeched out of the opera world: they equate knowledge with participation and pleasure; and they don’t expect anyone to educate them. The professional opera world often seems devoted to the very opposite of these two propositions.

This leads to a discussion of how people “self-educate,” and whether opera educators might learn from existing patterns of self-education, rather than try to institute old educational models. You can find the whole thing here.

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1 Comment

Filed under Culture, Music, Opera

One response to “Educating the privileged elite

  1. Alex Lupu

    Reading your article I was left wondering why there is no mention of the new media for opera (DVD and Blu-Ray). This new technology allows for Opera to reach the big masses, not only those who live close to an opera house, or can afford the tickets. If we want to educate the people and young people in particular, we should use some the medium they are attracted to guide them through opera as an art form and to each one of them. I haven’t seen anyone put together a program to introduce you to the world of opera, with suggested DVDs to buy and explanations like the METs CDs “talking about Opera”.
    Opera is an encompassing art, the “story” is important, but not necessarily the most important one. Most books and articles written about opera center on the story, while others will center on the performer and some particular High C forgetting the complete experience of the total art in Opera. Is there any way we can use the already available technology to make Opera a more popular art than it is today?
    Thanks for taking the time to read my few words.

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