Ann Patchett on opera and veggies

June 24, 2008
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"Sometimes I worry that culture is like vegetables and that I'd be better off eating that which is locally grown," writes novelists Ann Patchett in today's Wall Street Journal.

The piece isn't a celebration of local arts. Rather, it's a tribute to the technology that now allows the Metropolitan Opera to broadcast performances in her local multiplex (something I've written about here in the past).

"Implicit in my love for Tennessee has always been the understanding that certain needs were going to have to be met out of town. These days I find there are fewer and fewer reasons to fly."

There's no question that technology has made it easier to access the arts from outside our borders. But it's telling that Patchett doesn't mention anything about her town's own Nashville Opera.

 I can't speak to the quality of the company, but no less than Opera News called its production of "Elmer Gantry," "...one of the most enjoyable of premieres heard in many a season, richly deserves wider currency."

Perhaps the best diet for Patchett--and the rest of us--is a mix of quality local goods and the best of the rest.
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  • Opera is one of those things where the dropoff in quality from the top handful of cities is considerable in the quantity of operas produced and in the singing talent employed. The Metropolitan Opera produces something like 25 operas a year. Opera is one of those things that is passionate loved by its aficionados such as yours truly (who sees about 15 a year across various cities). Anything other than an absolute top tier city is unlikely to satisfy the craving, and even then maybe not all the way.
  • Dropoff in quality... Hm. I invite anyone reading this to hear the broadcast and webcast premiere of ELMER GANTRY on WPLN, 90.3 FM Nashville Public Radio. Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 12:30 PM Central or 1:30 PM Eastern. The streaming webcast can be heard at:
    http://wpln.org/?page_id=100

    or navigate to wpln.org

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  1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

  3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

  4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

  5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.

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