Will children ever care about opera?

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English National Opera

Rupert Christiansen writes: What role opera should play in our educational system is a problem that has baffled and exercised me for my 25 years as a critic – and lover – of this great if beleaguered art form.

My feelings are complicated by the fact that my own path to opera was entirely self-motivated. Nobody in my family was interested in music unless it was Frank Sinatra, and my prep school offered only some class singing and piano lessons. But I listened with instinctive pleasure to the wonderful popular music of the early Sixties – from the shows of Rodgers and Hammerstein to the Beach Boys and the Beatles – and from there graduated to Gilbert & Sullivan. All this was simply available via public libraries and the media: nobody pushed anything at me or proselytized.

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Neil McCauley / editor in chief

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