“Twitter War” Yields “Financial Opera”

Tweets by Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves were the inspiration for Scott Diel and Eugene Birman's new cantata, Nostra Culpa.(Photo: Twitter)
Tweets by Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves were the inspiration for Scott Diel and Eugene Birman's new cantata, Nostra Culpa.(Photo: Twitter)

An American economist, the president of Estonia, a writer and an opera composer have collided at the crossroads of international fiscal policy, social media and art, resulting in a new musical work inspired by the global Great Recession, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

What has been called a “Twitter war” between Princeton economist and The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the president of Estonia, has prompted Latvian-born composer Eugene Birman and Estonia-based American writer Scott Diel to create a so-called “financial opera” – Nostra Culpa – to premiere this spring in Estonia’s capital, Tallinn.

After Krugman wrote a blog post last June criticizing the Estonian government’s economic austerity measures, Ilves responded with some now-famous tweets on Twitter. “Let’s write about something we know nothing about & be smug, overbearing & patronizing: after all, they’re just wogs,” Ilves wrote, along with, “But yes, what do we know? We’re just dumb & silly East Europeans. Unenlightened. Someday we too will understand. Nostra culpa.”

Diel picked up on this exchange, and the idea for Nostra Culpa, a cantata or soprano and string orchestra, was born. Nostra culpa premieres in April.

Read more: Estonian Austerity, Paul Krugman and Twitter: All the Elements of an Opera? (CSM)

Comments