Remarks reported the other day about the role of culture in society left me trying to imagine how our world would be today without art, music, dance, sculpture – not a pretty picture!
Leire Giral, reporting in the Diario de Mallorca, was interviewing mezzo-soprano Maria Jose Montiel before her recital in Palma de Mallorca's Bellver Castle circular keep. Reflecting the parlous state of Spain's economy and its consequent lack of financial support of any type of cultural activity, she was quoted as saying, "Without culture, our minds cannot develop; art, painting, sculpture, music – all lead to moral growth, the only pathway out of darkness." She later added that for her, "singing is the voice of the soul".
Maria Jose is right - it was not an idle name that was given in the past to the "Dark Ages" when culture was in very short supply for most people. Today, when there has been such a flowering of cultural opportunities during the boom days of most countries' economies, we all need to become inventive and diligent to ensure that the arts survive and still flourish.
The mere thought that one could not attend concerts, visit museums and art galleries or read wonderful books drives home to me just how integral such culture is to life. Without them, the days would be decidedly dull and grim, with far fewer moments of beauty and uplifting delight and stimulation.