Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Observer excels itself

Whatever is this? I may, to put it mildly, be no fan of Verdi, yet I should hesitate to say that he, let alone Wagner, deserves the eccentric coverage served up by one Vanessa Thorpe. She is a writer - well, of sorts - who, we are told, 'became Arts Correspondent for The Observer in 1999 and went on to write on media news too. She has covered the changing world of culture and entertainment under New Labour and anticipates a fresh phase of debate and adjustment ahead across the arts.' Should the future of arts reporting lie in the hands of the likes of Ms Thorpe, the nature of such 'adjustment' may prove more radical than any of us can yet imagine.

The Royal Opera is staging something called Ring Cycle, or perhaps even Covent Garden's Ring Cycle; the article's text remains slightly ambiguous. At any rate, Ring Cycle is a 'roof-raising, four-part masterpiece'.

A Verdi gala in Munich will 'kick off on Boxing Day'. A little further north, Bayreuth is the 'German home of the annual festival established by Wagner himself'. Where, I wonder, is the festival's Italian home?

Wagner, we learn, 'is known for themes [?] such as The Ride of the Valkyries and his stirring bridal
march'. He also 'created a mythology that drew on his own turbulent personal life.' Ms Thorpe declines - I can hardly imagine why - to expand upon her claim.

As for what 'the wider BBC' might be or constitute, I cannot quite bring myself to ask. Its 'significant contributions' to the anniversary year of 2013 will surely be dwarfed by further 'phase[s] of debate and adjustment' from our intrepid 'Arts Correspondent'.