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Watch: Are opera and ballet elitist?

Highlights from The Big Question debate, held at the Royal Opera House.

By Lottie Butler (Assistant Content Producer)

3 April 2013 at 10.36am | Comment on this article

Whether opera and ballet are the ‘hoity toity’ preserve of the upper classes or simply high performance art at its best came under discussion recently at The Big Question, the first of a series of live-streamed debates organized in conjunction with the Telegraph.

Composer Mark-Anthony Turnage, Written on Skin director Katie Mitchell, The Royal Ballet’s Gary Avis and novelist Dreda Say Mitchell formed the panel that discussed elitism in opera and ballet, covering questions ranging from cost and accessibility to whether there is a stigma attached to attending opera and ballet.

'It’s not so much about the opera or ballet,'  said Dreda, 'but that it represents this notion that our society is cut into a pecking order of high culture and low culture. A lot of people go to opera because they want to be seen, not because they like the art form.' On the other side, Katie highlighted that the 'good art is good art', and emphasised that such barriers are imaginary and need to be overcome.

The evening included audience questions and comments, and prompted a lively debate online: read a selection of audience comments.

Watch highlights from the discussion:

By Lottie Butler (Assistant Content Producer)

3 April 2013 at 10.36am

This article has been categorised Ballet, Opera and tagged Ballet, debate, discussion, Dreda Say Mitchell, Gary Avis, Katie Mitchell, Mark-Anthony Turnage, opera, The Big Question, The Telegraph

This article has 1 mention elsewhere

  1. Accessible or Elitest? | Ballerina Balance:  [...] The question of whether ballet is elitist or not has not escaped the attention of the wider ballet community. Earlier this year, a panel of distinguished guests discussed this issue at the Royal Opera House. Highlights from the debate can be viewed here. [...]

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