Opera performances are regarded by some as stodgy events quite unrelated to “real life,” but opera’s main attraction for many is its direct application to experiences of their own. Opera opens the hidden spaces of “polite society” and tells the world about injustice, scandal, assaults on innocence and the enduring power of true love. Many opera composers, such as Verdi and Puccini, were required to change their work by powerful censors among the nobles or the church because those in the ruling classes were afraid that the opera might encourage the working classes to rebel against the aristocracy.
Real art, whether it is a painting, a photograph, an opera, a Broadway musical, or a performance by a DJ, never worries about being “politically correct,“ and has always evoked reactions that challenge, and at times frighten, audience members. Although we value art for his inherent beauty, we also value it for its ability to help us re-examine our most basic values, and to build our determination to support those values.
The importance of art in the form of music, paintings, photographs, dance, theater and other new forms is recognized by all. Each of us can remember an experience with art that brought a smile to the face and joyous feeling of freedom for the spirit.
In many countries, performance and display of art is supported by the government, but we have not chosen to dedicate much government support to art we produce in our own country. In the United States, citizens have both a right and a responsibility to support their beliefs, including a belief in our need for expressive art that tells the truth.
Why do people want to support art?
• They find some art to be honest expression of their own beliefs.
• They feel that supporting art helps to maintain and build a national culture they value.