Friday, February 02, 2007

Menotti on Art and Commerce

Sixty years ago, Gian Carlo Menotti, composer of Pulitzer Prize operas and founder of the Spoleto Music Festival, who died this week at 95, came to the City College of New York to talk to a student body of second-generation European immigrants.

In lilting but imperfect English, he told of the struggles of a young artist to make his way in a commercial world.

During the question period, someone asked: "Why don't you go to Hollywood, write music for a few movies and make enough money to do your serious work for years?"

Menotti smiled. "Ah, yes," he said. "Your family is hungry, so send your sister out on the streets for a while. But when she come back, she never be the same."

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