The more I research into the issue, the more I discover people and organisations who want to change the face of classical music.
I was recently speaking to a masters graduate of the Royal Academy of Music. The cellist wants to combine her love of opera and chamber music into a new music genre. As well as being a collaborative process between librettist, composer, string quartet and singer, the mini-opera would be less costly making it more feasible to stage in a variety of venues.
The idea is that a story would drive through the whole piece with instrumentalists taking the role of singers. This is an example of adding meaning to the music beyond that of abstract patterns, which would give the audience something to follow while listening to the piece.
If successful, this could be a way to help listeners stay engaged throughout a piece of classical music. While they may not be able to follow the musical narrative, they could latch onto the written narrative which in turn would hopefully enlighten their whole experience of the mini-opera.