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Brussels, 19 August 2012
To the editor of the International Herald Tribune


The relevance of opera today

In the Letter from America “How opera became a drab affair” (Page Two, Aug. 18-19), Zachary Woolfe provides no.answer to his own “crucial questions on why do we go to the opera, and what are we hoping to get from it”.  Instead he blames various film directors for trivializing the art form of opera in their movies.

Mr. Woolfe might as well have questioned the value of books and the arts if not culture at large.

Well, many people in Europe go to the opera for a variety of reasons – to enjoy the music and drama, to seek knowledge and comfort in their historical roots, and to be inspired by the symbolism and creativity of the composers and librettists.

UNESCO tweeted the other day:  “Culture isn't fragile heritage or lavish recreation.  It's a force for renewal and progress, an economic sector and a facilitator of development policies.”

That being said, opera company directors, like their ballet-concert-theatre-museum counterparts, will obviously need to continue to find innovative ways to cope with shrinking budgets while adapting to evolving expectations of the audience.

Jens A. Jorgensen, Brussels

Mr. Jorgensen is co-founder of Icons of Europe asbl that, endorsed by the World Health Organization, uses the arts including musical drama to call attention to the re-emergence of tuberculosis today as a worldwide killer second only to HIV/AIDS.

Reasons for why go to the opera.- La Bohème is an opera in four acts, by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa.

« Culture ... is a force for renewal and progress, an economic sector and a facilitator of development policies. »

Two U.S. replies to IHT


Bella Figlia: The Met
Bella Figlia: Flash mob

Casta Diva: Maria Callas

Caruso footage 1932
Interview on why

Wagner 2013¹

Reasons for why go to the opera. - Icons of Europe has developed a research paper for Wagner 2013 on "Wagner and Symbolism". It reveals the secret about who commissioned Lohengrin and why the last scene was revised in 1850.¹ Certain opera goers take a special pleasure in seeing, for example,
Wagner's Lohengrin, because they know who commissioned it and
why Wagner revised the very last scene before the premiere at Weimar
in 1850 - so far a well-guarded secret.  However, that will soon change ...
Wagner cited in Le Figaro, le 12 mai 1875:

Mon théâtre n’est pas un lieu de recréation,
c’est un temple sacré
» / « a sacred temple » !