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A room with a view of ignorance

How many students graduate with no idea what opera is?

View from the music building of Point Loma Nazarene.
  • View from the music building of Point Loma Nazarene.

The Old Maid and the Thief by Gian Carlo Menotti was originally written for radio broadcast and has now become a staple of opera workshops at colleges and universities across the country.

Point Loma Nazarene does not have an opera workshop course but they do have a student opera organization. As an aside, what music department worth its salt doesn't have an opera workshop course? It makes no sense.

The institution cut the course several years ago because of funding but at the same time has continued to crank out new multi-million dollar buildings. I guess the Nazarenes think buildings make the difference when it comes to higher education.

Wait, I forgot. Education doesn't come into the equation except as a commoditized aspect of an entire product package. Your kid will graduate without knowing what opera is, but that will happen in a new building with an ocean view. See the value?

As an aside to the aside, let's think about that. How many tens of thousands of students graduate from college and don't have a clue about what opera is? I might be a tad biased but that sounds like an uneducated group of students. Perhaps we should stop calling them educated and start calling them people who learned some stuff.

Oh I'm sorry, does that seem unfair? I'll say it again but more directly — still probably feels unfair, but I'm in no mood.

If you don't know what opera is, outside of Warner Bros’ What’s Opera Doc?, then you have information but no education. Now go get a job, and never go to the opera, because no one ever educated you.

Back to Point Loma. Despite marginal institutional support, the vocal students from Point Loma have established a tradition of excellence. How has that tradition been honored by the student body? The ASB cut the funding for the student opera organization, Point Loma Opera Theatre, by two thirds this year.

In spite of this, the Opera Theatre has managed to put on two opera productions during this academic year. It has been said that Joseph Stalin put artists under distress in order to make them produce better art for the nurturing of the Russian people.

Maybe that's what's going on at Point Loma. Is the lack of support designed to create better opera?

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