Wednesday 18 January 2012

I'm already jaded by the Olympics and they have barely started, but there again I am not a great sports fan and plan to be out of the country for a good part of the festival. But I must confess that I am finding it difficult to get enthusiastic about the Cultural Olympiad, the rather strange arts jamboree that will be happening this summer.

Granted, there are plenty of community based events and some exciting projects such as the Making Music Overture. But have you noticed that the British don't really do well at joined up thinking in these areas. The RSC and the BBC are both going to be giving us lots of Shakespeare in various forms, but there seems to be no attempt to link this to other art forms.

Surely someone could have come up with some key threads which could have run through the festival providing interesting links and cross pollinations. For instance, the Royal Opera House are doing Berlioz's The Trojans this summer, certainly a major event but not, I think, strictly part of the Olympiad. Wouldn't it have been fascinating, interesting and illuminating if other organisations had been encouraged to provide work around this theme. Just think, Greek drama in Greek, modern English versions of Greek drama, classical French drama (Racine, Corneille), other operatic responses to the Trojan War (Gluck, Strauss, Walton). Not to mention the possibility of modern dance, visual arts and all sorts of cross cultural activities.

I am sure that the events actually being promoted will cause buzz and excitement, and be of an interesting quality. But what we've missed is the possibility to create something a little bit greater than the sum of its parts. And the possibility that someone interested in one art form might find it illuminating and stimulating to see how the same theme is handled in other art forms.

But there again, if everybody is going to have their eyes glued to the actual sporting events, will there be room for interest in culture. Or am I just being cynical

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