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LETTER: Operatic snobbery

From Mr Jeremy Blackall

Sir: Andrew Gumbel's attack on Luciano Pavarotti demonstrates exactly the sort of damaging snobbery that erects barriers between what is perceived as "high art" and more popular culture ("Dear Luciano Pavarotti", 16 October).

The public consumption of art in all its forms is largely personality driven; everybody loves a star and, be it Austen, Berlioz or Cezanne, it is the people as much as the product that makes the work vital and significant.

Pavarotti's combination of talent and charisma has won a huge new audience for opera, which can no longer claim to be the preserve of the elite. If housewives think "Nessun Dorma" is the soundtrack to a football match, so what? Do we all have to be fluent in Italian to be moved by great music? The potency of music is the issue, be it cheap or expensive,


Jeremy Blackall

London, E8