In the UK it is almost obligatory for a culture minister never to have attended an opera. In Latvia, a small country that takes these things very seriously, the newly installed culture minister hasn’t just seen plenty of operas, he’s starred in them. Nauris Puntulis a tenor who also had a successful pop career in his 20s, but is now the craggy, grey-haired minister-from-central-casting in the country’s centre-right coalition government. Latvia is proud of its musical traditions. Like Finland on the other side of the Baltic Sea, it produces a remarkable number of leading conductors and classical musicians for so small a country. This summer it is launching an annual music festival at the capital’s seaside resort, Jūrmala, designed to be more than just a moment of high culture but something of a rallying point for a country with a delicate historical and geo-political backdrop. “When we founded our state [after the first world war], culture was a … [Read more...] about Can music unite a young nation?