Informations and abstract
Opera foundations are a relatively new institution in Italy catering for opera and music performance. Their financing, almost entirely public, is declining and many think that cutting costs would help maintain the productions. While some savings are always useful, the problem is not there - as most merit goods cannot pay their own costs. Rather, we lack criteria for evaluating performances and opera houses. If only physical indicators are used (cleaning, fire extinguishing, etc), no evaluation is possible. If a customer satisfaction survey is carried out, something more on the quality produced is obtained; but the citizen is not necessarily an Opera goer, and the social quality is not appraised. One important screening device is the critique carried out by the media. Public authorities should pose the critics the questions that can fathom the cultural quality of a performance, and encourage them to feel that they are carrying out a social task, not only an artistic judgment.