The announcement today that the Independent newspaper will cease printing is both sad and inevitable. Sad, because 30 years ago the paper changed the face of British journalism. Inevitable, because it now sells only 40,000 copies, in place of 400,000 in its heyday.
David Lister, the veteran arts editor, joined the paper in 1986. In what may be one of his last utterances, David tries to read the runes for the future of an opera company in dire straits:
A worrying footnote in the history of opera took place this week. It occurred in the English National Opera’s production of The Magic Flute. In one scene, Sarastro should appeal to his assembled Masons for their support in solving the problem of Tamino’s future, but instead he turned to the audience. In a twist that Mozart would not have foreseen, but one that the mischievous composer might have relished, the cast and director had clearly decided to forget the masonic overtones of the plot and make this moment a cry for help for English National Opera itself.
One sadness after another.
But there’s not much for the Coli to learn from the Indy’s disaster, even though both have depended for years on rich men’s calculated benefactions.