Magazine December 20, 2021, Issue

Classical Music Without Quotas

A crowd gathers for an opera at the Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium. (eurobanks/Getty Images)
Orchestras shouldn’t be affirmative-action programs

I recently left the Metropolitan Opera in New York after a performance of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. A friend who was with me had never seen the work before and suddenly blurted out how amazing it is that anybody could view such an art form as elitist or somehow difficult to access. True, it was past midnight, and we had started this journey through Wagner’s lightest work at around 6 p.m. In other words it was only around twice the length of the average Hollywood film these days. Yet opera has a reputation for elitism that cinema does not —

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This article appears as “Music Without Quotas” in the December 20, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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