Fight for relevance

14 Nov

Yesterday morning as I was scrolling lazily my Instagram timeline came upon a brilliant opera singer being all happy to be promoted as the Beyoncé of opera.

After the initial flutter of excitement that an opera singer gets featured on a mainstream media outlet (coverage is that rare, to make any reference becomes a cause for celebration), started to wonder why once more the mainstream has to equal the achievements of opera singers to pop ones.

Why couldn’t they refer to the scores of amazing women of colour that have treaded the boards of opera houses the world over and forged careers that lasted longer than Beyoncé’s whole life? And why are PR people, record companies and artists happy to conform to this dialectic? Why don’t they have some fight in them to go against that populist nonsense.

Why shouldn’t mainstream publications know who Marian Anderson, Shirley Verrett and Leontyne Price have been in the classical world?
With such well documented careers it’s never too late to educate others and keep those fantastic artists relevant as a historic reference and also as the important pioneers they were.

Accepting the status quo of media coverage is to accept that opera is no longer relevant and it doesn’t have its own heroes to offer to the mainstream. Which on its own is too depressing to contemplate.

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