Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Side Note: Baroque Opera and Economic Development

Which came first, the artists or the stable economy?

In an article for The Atlantic, Richard Florida addresses the "chicken and egg" skepticism around the arts and its role in urban and regional economic development — ie: that the arts can only flourish in cities that are already rich, rather than play a pivotal role in job growth and wealth creation — by looking back to the time of Baroque opera.

Citing a study published in the journal Labour Economics (which you can read here), Florida explains that the location of German opera houses built in the 17th and 18th century had a significant correlation to economic growth in later periods:

"Baroque opera houses, [the researchers] found, have a strong relationship to a region's later ability to attract high skilled talent and to grow...The opera houses and the cultural amenity they provide came well before the jobs, in this case by centuries...the talented, skilled high human capital people who locate in places that boast Baroque opera houses are the sources of measurable economic growth."

You can read Florida's full article here.

Just another reason to bring Baroque opera to Toronto. :)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Side Note: Sexuality and Speculation on Clori, Tirsi e Fileno

Clori, Tirsi e Fileno is a love story between a woman and two men, but a cantata written for a man and two women. While casting sopranos in male parts was a common conceit of the period, The Guardian's Tim Ashley points out the sexual ambiguity between character and actor "reveal [Handel's] awareness that sexuality is too fluid to be constrained along normative social lines." Other writers have cited this tension in speculations over Handel's own sexuality.

For more, check out the full article at The Guardian.