“Originally, art was by the minority, for the minority.
Then it became art by the minority, for the majority.
And we are beginning a new era where art is an enterprise by the majority for the majority.”
José Antonio Abreu
“Tocar Y Luchar”
(“To Play and to Fight”)
Welcome to Opus Osm. We publish the free-of-charge, paperless monthly magazine about Czech classical music, opera, and ballet.
We’re published at www.OpusOsm.com from Prague, the Czech Republic for an international audience. Most of our content is in English; some is written in simplified English, and we also translate some articles and information into other languages, too.
Why the Czech Republic? Why Classical Arts?
What’s the Story, Anyway?
Once Upon a Time, there lived a little girl …
who wanted to be a Princess. A tough slog for the middle child in a middle-class family in middle America in the mid-1950s.
So she took ballet lessons instead. The results were middling. Her first on-stage role was as a frog in Alice in Wonderland. In a green swimsuit with big black sequins, and a small lily pad with a large flower on top of her head.
No wonder, then, that she soon turned to voice, singing soprano in the city’s children’s choir. Her highlight performance was singing live on a local television station, in the opera Hansel and Gretel — as part of the chorus.
But these early arts experiences left their mark.
A few more years intervened — about 30 or so, when she was a writer, editor, and journalist — and then in 1995 she moved to the Czech Republic to teach English.
Now it’s been about 15 years, and I’m still here in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. And I’ve been noticing something troubling lately.
Namely, that today, classical music, opera, and ballet — our cultural heritage, our cultural legacy — in many situations is being shoved aside, shunned, ignored, or minimized more than ever before.
That’s not fair. These arts are not meant to be stuffed into a glass canning jar “up there” in the heavens. They belong in the open air, “down in here,” in the heart, the soul, the mind — of everyone.
What’s more: simultaneously, for years the people who had been “cocooning” (staying home in the dark, huddled in front of tv sets, computer screens, fish tanks, microwave ovens, and other things that glow in the dark) were starting to get restless. Their solitary life was getting unsettling. People began to reach out to other cocooners through new tools like the internet, Facebook, and Twitter.
Suddenly, now, complete strangers — performers or not — want to talk together, complain, chat, laugh together, and support each other in the arts. It doesn’t matter now that they might not do it in person.
For the first time in human civilization it’s possible to connect, touch, move, educate, and inspire an entire globeful of complete strangers and bring them into one community through three awesome arts — classical music, opera, and ballet.
And the more you start to nose around these arts, the more you keep on discovering that an awful lot of this cultural legacy has some kind of Czech connection.
In fact, it’s positively awesome.
Come join our community! We’re here, waiting to connect with you, whenever you click on us. We issue new content in the entire magazine around the first of every month, and in the meantime, your comments and suggestions create the meeting point and focus for lively discussions, ideas, and opinions.
We’re looking forward to meeting you!
(but no longer performer)
Why ‘Opus Osm’?
Which of the eight Opus Osm communities do you belong to? (Do you belong to more than one?)
* Performer or composer of classical music
* Performer or composer of opera
* Performer or choreographer of ballet
* The audience that goes to performances of Czech works, anywhere in the world
* The audience that enjoys performances at home via the internet, CD, DVD, radio, etc.
* Other creative contributor: writer, critic, artist, lighting director, stage manager, set designer, usher, etc.
* Educator, including teacher or administrator at a school, academy, or other institution
* Financial stakeholder, including institutions such as banks, grants administrators, media partners, etc.; and individuals such as advertisers, donors, contributors, and ticket buyers.