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NEW YORK, 18 OCTOBER 2010 — Europeans and Americans often see things differently on the matter of funding for culture and the contemporary performing arts. The following reader comment was sent to Culturekiosque in response to Alan Behr's review of this year’s Opening Night Gala of Wagner's Das Rheingold at the Metropolitan Opera in New York..


I was saddened (but not surprised) by the reference to European opera house funding by Alan Behr, in his recent Met Ring review:

"The problem for the Met is that, unlike European opera houses which live off the public dole and are given free rein to experiment, the Met gets few governmental subsidies and is beholden to its audience."

It is disconcerting for a European to see anyone referring to cultural funding as a peripheral like this. Presumably the author would feel the same if he read that the U.S. Marine Corps was "funded by the public dole"?

I did, however, wonder if the British English usage and overtones of "public dole" differ from the American English ones. In British English, it has definite reference to charitable support of the local poor and needy.

Mike Gibb
London, England
United Kingdom 


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