Gustav Adolfs torg Stockholm - The Masked Ball in Boston - Censors

Stockholm Opera main stairs
Years back while living in Stockholm, I was a guest at the Royal Opera House for a performance of Verdi's Requiem.  I sat in the box right over the stage.  I got to see both the goings on on stage and see the audience at the same time.  The soprano/alto duet, Agnus Dei, went horribly amuck when the alto started on the wrong note - not even close - and the soprano vainly tried to follow the lead only to get
sunk when the chorus, now terribly confused came in.  Disasters registered well on the faces of the listener and the performer.

I remembered that today as I was doing some webwork and Verdi's "Masked Ball" overture was on the radio.  That opera was named originally "The Vendetta" and "Gustave III" the Swedish king who was shot point blank at a masquerade ball in the 1790s or thereabouts.  The Opera House is located on Gustav Adolfs street in Stockholm ... hence the vague title of this thread.

When Verdi wrote it, the various Italian censors got in a dither about showing a monarch assassinated on stage, didn't want it named Gustave, and demanded it be set in Boston of all places, not Italy or Sweden.; but Boston.   It is one of the more infamous exhibitions of censorship of the arts in music history

I've been thinking about censors for a bit off and on after hearing the music and thinking back to Gustave and Stockholm.  It isn't really clear how all that ties up so let's talk about censors.  I think that
censors had a certain place as protectors of society.  I'm not being flippant.  They really did.  In an ideal setting they survey the society on whole and decide that there are some things that if allowed to enter society, will in the end drag it down.  (Take gangster jeans that hang below the butt for instance).  We have to rely that the censors are noble, fair and just (impossible alas) so in the end, whatever good they do, gets all mucked up in being arbitrary.  In the absence of a free press, censors fill the void.

I suppose that the "free press" we enjoy (Article I) is the one thing that takes the place of censors.  The press, if it is doing its job, spots stuff going on, being said, acting out, and draws the public's attention to it in the hopes that enough folks will think about it and either condemn  it or give it thumbs up.

The Donald hates the press.  He would hate censors a lot more so be grateful, my little red haired friend.