The role of arts criticism

Posted on: May 20, 2016

“Two weeks ago, Canada’s National Post took down a review of the Canadian Opera Company’s ‘Maometto II.’ On Tuesday afternoon, they put it up again,” writes Anne Midgette in Tuesday’s (5/17) Washington Post. “In the meantime, their critic—Arthur Kaptainis—resigned. … Dustin Parkes, the executive producer for features at the National Post, took down the review of his own volition, because of an e-mail from the Canadian Opera Company. The company didn’t ask him to take down the review. They just asked for two [small] corrections. … When a newspaper runs a review by a critic, it’s a sign of implicit support of the critic—even if the critic’s views differ from an editor’s, or a reader’s, or the subject of the review. This principle does not seem hard to grasp when it involves a paper’s editorial page. … The principle that arts are important, and discussing them, thinking about them, questioning them, is alive and well. And it’s on just that principle that newspapers run arts reviews. The challenge lies in finding ways to make the connection, to find a way to escape from the formulas of newspaper criticism and hook into the audience that’s eager to be part of the debate.”

Posted May 20, 2016