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Why Boston is ‘not an opera town’

A century-old collapse reveals volumes about the city’s arts culture

When Opera Boston announced just before Christmas that it was ceasing operations, the city’s supply of fully staged opera was rather abruptly slashed. Opera Boston had, in its eight-year run, fed the city’s appetite for novelty and rarity, putting on operas both new and old that had infrequently, if ever, been seen or heard here.

The company’s dissolution had its own specific pathology, of course: slow fund-raising in a down economy, maybe, or a fractured board. But in the wake of its unexpected collapse, one familiar theme emerged: Speaking of Boston, the company’s former general director, Carole Charnow, said: “I think it’s not an opera town.”

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