Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Should the present climate scare you off?

I have been giving this a lot of thought. I'm sure that you are aware of what is happening in the world of the arts today.
Whenever the economy is in trouble (perceived or real), the arts are seen as the most expendable thing out there. In addition, even though arts funding from public sources in this country make up only a tiny fraction of our budgets, they are an easy trophy to take out. Cutting arts funding can make it seem that frivolous fat is being excised. Never mind, that dollars spent on the arts generate revenue dollars far in excess of those spent. We live in a world where perception is at least equal to reality.
So, against that backdrop, should you still jump into this field, and do the auditions that we discuss here?
Of course, a career decision that has profound financial implications is ultimately personal, but be sure of the reason you decide to forego it.
What I am referring to here is the fear that we all have that somewhow what we do is "going away". While it is true that many companies have scaled back, and others have closed, the art form has been with us for 400 years, and the people that produce it will adapt to changing economic and social realities. How you prepare, how you are hired, and even what that means, may change, but I feel confident that opera will persevere.
In the meantime, you as a performer, are the best ambassador our art form has. Every recital, benefit concert, church gig, and other event you do, helps keep what we do in front of the public.
Talking about the intrinsic value of art seems to be a discussion that has gone underground, but I believe it is true, and together we will move things forward.

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