Subsidizing Opera For Millionaires ?
I've been having a rather futile argument at a political forum I'm on with conservatives there who are adamatnly opposed to givernment support of America's symphony orchestras and opera ocmpanies . They couldn't care less if they go under , and argue that the government has absolutely no business providing any financial help to them . They argue that if they can't amek it on their own, they don't deserve to survive , and they aren't really of any importance to America anyway .
It's like arguing with a wall . One member said that he doesn't want the government taking hard-earned money from honest, hard-working Americans in taxes to "subsidize opera for millionaires ". This just shows how lacking in understanding of the whole situation , and his blind acceptance of the myth that opera is just a frivolous entertainment for the wealthy . And he doesn't even realize that the vast majority of Americans , as well as Europeans and others who go to the opera, are not even millionaires in the first place !
It's true that tickets to the Metropolitan opera can be pretty expensive , up to about $350 for the priciest, but you can still get perfectly good seats for only about $25. And if tickets are expensive, it's because opera is an expensive art form, by far the most costly . In addition to the singers, you need to have the following kind of people to put on first-rate opera : an orchestra,chorus, conductors, reharsal pianists and musical assistants, coaches for the singers, stagehands, technicians of all kinds for lighting etc, the people who make and adjust the costumes, wigmakers, and many other people with highly specialized jobs . The Met even has a fencing master to teach singers how to use swords in certain operas where these are needed !
And don't forget , if you want to get tickets for broadway shows or the most famous pop singers , that can be just as expensive as tickets to the Met . The people who attend opera ar eoverwhelmingly midlle class . True, there are some wealthy people who go to the opera , but if you think that opera is just a fancy social event for the wealthy, you're dead wrong !
In addition , America's many opera companies , which can be found in all 50 states, provide gainful employment for so many people . Is it good for America for so many people to have their livelihoods jeopardized ? Of course not .
And would providing subsidies to opera companies be a burden on taxpayers ? Not at all . The Iraq war, which turned out to be futile and disastrous, was a far greater ta burden on us Americans than subsidies for the arts could ever be . Some people never learn .