May 17, 2013
By Scott Walker
When a country’s economy is in decline, art is often the first to suffer.
Italy’s financial woes are putting the future of its first music festival in jeopardy. And singers at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino are hoping the United Nations can help.
An association of professional singers is appealing to Italy’s president to have the festival declared a UNESCO World Heritage. That designation would compel Italy to provide funding for the festival.
In an open letter to President Giorgio Napolitano, the artists call it “unthinkable that Florence, where in the 17th century lyric opera was born, could lose an institution that, for its prestigious history, has been admired even from abroad.”
The letter also points to a recent report that shows Italy spends less on culture than any other European nation.