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Not high. Not low. Just culture.

May 12, 2011

Last night I went to see Opera North’s new version of Carmen at the always beautiful Grand Theatre.

This has been getting really mixed reviews – from the two star slating in the Telegraph right through to the much more positive of the Guardian.

I enjoyed it. I’m new to this opera stuff. The first one I saw was The Magic Flute in London a couple of months ago, when I was surprised by just how funny it was. Carmen was totally different again – wacky, off kilter and frankly bizarre in places – but really interesting to watch.

It was much more like Baz Luhrmann’s brilliant Romeo + Juliet than anything else I can think of – simply in terms of how it transplanted the story from one time and place to another and (bar a few tenuous ‘bull’ references) it all made sense.

But what it did get me thinking about was how universal stories are.

I was talking to a primary school teacher afterwards, and we got onto the topic of making things more accessible. To people in general, and kids in particular.

She told me about how she’d struggle to get kids into Shakespeare. Because when you are reading the words they sound dull and out of touch. As soon as the kids got in front of it being performed (she referenced Shakespeare 4 Kidz in particular) they’d realise that this isn’t something boring and old.

This was something that was just a good story.

As soon as they saw it brought to life – suddenly it made sense.

Which has made me think about two related things today:

  1. A little bit of extra thought into how you present something can make it feel a whole lot more relevant.
  2. Don’t assume that people ‘won’t get’ something. The problem is probably how you’re telling them not what you’re telling them.
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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 20, 2011 5:24 pm

    I agree with you. Presentation is everything especially in getting kids to appreciate the classics. I love to read but I’ve recently discovered the bliss of audio. I go to librivox (free) and listen to the classic read by volunteer readers (not bad). I’ve never been a Fitzgerald fan. I appreciated him, but that was all … until I listened to the Beautiful and Damned on audio. It was wonderful so I downloaded a copy from Project Guttenberg.

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