Dumbing up with a Britten Happening
More confirmation that dumbing up is classical music's next big thing comes from Belgium. On 18th March the de Singel international arts campus in Antwerp is mounting an impressively wide ranging Britten Happening. The performers include Steven Osborne, Roger Vignoles and Edo de Waart, and a visit to the online box office shows that the Happening is almost sold out. As dumbing up gathers momentum artists need to beware of the shadow effect of dumbing down. Yesterday BBC TV announced a new series of Maestro at the Opera. When it comes to dumbing down both the organisations involved, the BBC and Royal Opera House, have been there and done that. But Mark Elder and Marcus du Sautoy will needlessly tarnish their reputations by appearing on this tawdry TV game show. It is unfortunate that a very talented conductor and an Oxford professor of mathematics have not studied the independent data which shows that not only does dumbing down classical music fail to increase the net audience, but it actually results in a smaller audience.
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