From About Last Night, TT on the legacy of Beverly Sills:
….if you care about the continuing fate of museums, symphony orchestras, ballet, opera, and theater companies, and all the other big-money institutions that were the pillars of American high culture in the twentieth century, you’re going to have to accept the fact that these elitist enterprises cannot survive without the wholehearted support of a non-elite public that believes in their importance. Sills understood that, and did something about it. Perhaps more than any other American classical musician of her generation, she did her best to communicate to ordinary Americans the idea that the making of high art is a normal human activity, one whose fruits are accessible to all who make a good-faith effort to understand them. That’s not quite true, of course, but it’s a noble and ennobling lie, and I wouldn’t be greatly surprised if Beverly Sills is remembered for telling it long after the particulars of her performing career are forgotten.
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