Let the audience pay full price


Dave Armstrong, who ever he is, writes an opinion piece about the NZSO and what superb music they produce for the incredibly small number is liberal elite wankers like him. He misses the important part…like how about the patrons of such wankery actually pay the full cost if their seats:

I was very busy last weekend, witnessing murder, lust, infidelity, revenge, and a bit of incest for good measure.

No, I wasn’t attending the National Party conference in Auckland, but a concert performance of The Valkyrie (Die Walkure) by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Wellington.

The Valkyrie is a five- and-a-half-hour opera by Richard Wagner. Attending such an event requires stamina – it’s like watching an entire five-day cricket test rather than a quick hit-out in a Twenty20 game.

And what an amazing event it was. Ashburton-born tenor Simon O’Neill has performed in some of the greatest opera houses in the world, so it was a delight to see him in his home country. Kiwi- Samoan bass Jonathan Lemalu added bulk to the front row with an outstanding performance, while the two flashy imported sopranos were incredible.

But the undoubted highlight was the famous Ride of the Valkyries. Yes, it’s the music to the helicopter scene in Apocalypse Now. There’s a very good reason it’s so popular – it’s outstanding music.

If it is so good then the ponces can pay full price instead of having the taxpayer subsidise their hobby.

Arts Minister Chris Finlayson, with Wotan-like determination, assured us that the NZSO was not under threat. That was a smart move, as disbanding the band would disappoint many government supporters, as well as outraging the arts community. Going to the men’s toilets at the interval of the expensive Valkyrie performance was like attending a meeting of the Business Roundtable. Spending government money on houses for poor people is dreadful state intervention, but subsidising wealthy people to see their beloved Wagner is okay.

But therein lies the problem for arts organisations during a recession. People wrongly dub classical music an elitist art form. Yes, tickets cost a bit, but that doesn’t mean it’s elitist per se. I don’t think the thousands of people who hire classical CDs from our library’s superb selection each year are all snobs and millionaires.

It is elitist..and he just proved it. Instead of making people pay more to enjoy the wankery…he wants subsidies to increase:

I’m sure that any student of any low-decile school in the country would enjoy The Ride of the Valkyries as much as I did, were they given the chance to attend for free or at low cost. Classical musicians often tell me that some of the most enthusiastic audiences they have played to have been children experiencing a string quartet or opera for the first time.

When the NZSO was established by a Labour government after World War II, ticket prices were meant to be kept low so ordinary people could attend. And the orchestra was meant to tour frequently to provincial towns as well as cities. But increasing costs and declining funding have seen ticket prices increase and touring decrease. No wonder free-market barbarians are starting to form at the gate.

Enough already…pay for your pleasure yourself and stop expecting taxpayers to subsidise your choice. The taxpayer doesn’t subsidise my hunting so why should it subsidise the orchestra?

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.