Who cares about opera?
Benefits for society
There is a common idea that extending people’s access to the arts will do them good, perhaps by supporting their education or social integration.
That is not our motivation. Instead, we take the view that having opportunities to experience art is a human right, as expressed in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that ‘Everyone has the right to freely participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.’
There’s no reason why opera should be excluded from this provision. The foundation of co-creation is equality between professional and non-professional artists. That is impossible if the professionals are working in the belief that they are somehow doing good to the non-professionals.
Social change is not the purpose of opera co-creation—but it is often a consequence.
We benefit in many ways from participation in cultural life. We learn about ourselves and others, gain new skills, and grow as individuals. We strengthen and extend social networks, cooperate with strangers and build community. We develop our potential and extend our human capabilities.
These and other positive changes happen, and they can be immensely valuable, but they are the normal result of cultural participation. Each person finds what they need in that experience. It is not something that ever needs to be done for them.