The Royal Opera House is diving into polemic-lite to inaugurate its new series called The Big Question and asks if opera and ballet are elitist. The debate, vaguely framed, is cast through a wide, egalitarian net: "To help make the debate as wide as possible, we would actively encourage people with no experience of opera and ballet – or those who actively dislike the art forms – to come along."
C'mon. The big question for OC is :why pander to people who think opera is elitist (or even worse, distilled to the image above)? Because the b-side argument inferrer is the untapped masses who'd rather spend their disposable income on Mamma Mia matinee tix or Yankees vs. Tigers, so if that's the case, just commission a season full of operas about Rihanna's and Chris Brown's punch drunk love (literally) or The Kardashians (I dieci Kardashian) and you'll make a love connection between butts and red velvet-upholstered seats. Or replace Mahler's Fifth Symphony with The Verve's Bitter Sweet Symphony and hand everyone a cigarette lighter. Luckily that's as unlikely as Ryan Lochte becoming a SAT math tutor. Unlike other cultural arenas, opera (and its unfairly neglected BFF symphony) carries the connotation that it needs a cipher to appreciate it. But you don't need a cheat code to connect with opera's archetypal meat -- love/betrayal/forgiveness/justice/revenge. When did such a pure artform become so complicated? Wait. Don't answer that. Don't answer that. Don't answer that. Indoctrinate them all and let Beethoven sort 'em out.
If you're an opera/ballet-loving elitist, you can listen to it all go down from your Eames lounger (while the opera/ballet-hating bourgeoisie can listen from their Ikea horsemeat chairs) on Monday, March 11, live-streamed from the Royal Opera House/Telegraph websites at 8pm UK time. The panel of tangential opera peeps is moderated by Telegraph Arts editor Sarah Crompton who rolled out an editorial in Thursday's paper. *tents fingers to nose*