When I was a kid, back in the 50s, there was a sort of day camp near us that focused on the performing arts. There were classes in things like acting, dance, arts & crafts, singing, instrumental music, poetry, stagecraft, lighting & sound, costuming, makeup, clowning and puppetry. In addition to taking several classes, I played violin in the orchestra, with gave concerts throughout the summer, in addition to being the pit orchestra for musicals.
I also played in the school orchestra, from 6th grade ultil high school graduation. I was the concertmaster, and played a senior solo. I was fortunate in attending a high school that had a well-known music department. We had 3 orchestras and 4 bands and I don’t know how many vocal groups. The main groups went on tour every year.
And I was in the drama club in high school and college, in spite of extreme stagefright.
We always had music at home. My father had a substantial collection of classical 78s, which I still have in the basement. And he was also active in community theater groups, so I was always taken to see him in various plays. And of course I regularly attended Cleveland Orchestra concerts, either with my family, friends or through school.
Then, when I moved to NYC, I immersed myself in the performing arts. Season tickets to the N.Y. Philharmonic, the Met, ballet, etc. I saw Nureyev and Fonteyn in Swan Lake. I was in the audience in Baryshnikov’s N.Y. debut. And of course Broadway . . . all the way back to seeing Streisand in Funny Girl.
No, classical music and opera are not dead, they’re just evolving through new formats, just as they always had. Edison’s wax cylinder didn’t kill it, and neither will the internet.