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Subject: Re: WGBH-2 off-hours Verdi
From: "William A. Fregosi" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:William A. Fregosi
Date:Thu, 31 May 2001 10:09:07 -0400

text/plain (63 lines)

>Maybe I should reconsider my intemperate statement about the "much-vaunted
>cultural Mecca, Boston,"

Well, perhaps you should, John!  WGBH isn't the sum total of Boston's
cultural life.  There is the New England Conservatory of Music that has a
certain cachet (as well as four other schools of music of excellent
standing), a local symphony orchestra that has a goodish reputation, a
solid regional opera company that is expanding and improving with time, two
regional repertory theaters of national standing, an Early Music Festival
of a certain depth, and there are even one or two institutions of higher
education that have caught some attention during the last three hundred
years or so!  :-)

BUT you are right on the mark about WGBH, a station that has become the TV
equivalent of our dear "departed" WCRB radio station.  Yes, the hunger for
Antiques Roadshow must be tremendous along with the demand for endless
showings of mediocre (or worse) British sitcoms.  All these are packaged
and aimed at the monied northern and western suburbs that have been trained
by WGBH over the years to believe that 1) if it comes from England it must
be good and 2) not only good but far better than any American effort of a
similar nature could possibly be.  So operas and other solid fare are
marginalized into remote timeslots--if they are carried at all-- or onto
the much less powerful subsidary Channel 44 while "Keeping Up Appearances"
and "The Vicar of Dibley" take prime time.  I really have no problem with
including foreign material-- properly chosen, it can be broadening.  But
when you consider that our taxpayer money and a lot of individual
contributions by Americans are going to a station that makes it a policy to
crowd out excellent American arts programs in favor of imported fluff,. you
have to wonder.

In fact, it is the old and tiresome story: WGBH's commercial sponsors--yes,
sponsors, lets call them what they are--are convinced that anything with an
English accent will sell better than anything American and so that 's what
we get, at least here in the Northeast.  (Yeah,  I know this place is
called New ENGLAND, but there are limits!  And I notice that their
Anglophilia does NOT extend to the wealth of operatic, serious theatrical,
ballet or other English performing arts material that must be available, at
least not to a significant degree).

But accounts of Boston's cultural Meccahood are not just hype, WGBH not

Bill Fregosi

William Fregosi
Technical Coordinator for Theater Arts     Ph: (617) 253-0862
Massachusetts Institute of Technology      FAX:  (617) 258-7149
E33-201   77 Massachusetts Avenue         E-Mail: [log in to unmask] (office)
Cambridge, MA  02139                                [log in to unmask] (home)

       I live through risk.  Without risk, there is no art. You should always
       be on the edge of a cliff about to fall down and break your neck.

Carlos Fuentes

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