It’s time to stop using “exoticism” as an excuse for opera’s racism

Mary Rose Go, a Filipina-American soprano, says she’s “always felt extremely uncomfortable” about productions of Madame Butterfly and Turandot—two Puccini operas that often involve gong-banging pageantry similar to The Mikado. And that’s even as opera producers are nowadays keen to cast someone who “looks the part.” Go says she opted out of the chorus section of a Madame Butterfly production in order to avoid “a space where an Asian American’s worst Halloween nightmare can happen nightly in rehearsal,” as she put it.

Madame Butterfly isn’t my voice type but, unless they re-imagined the production and got rid of the kimonos,” says Go, “I prefer not to be part of those productions.”


Beverly Sills, Placido Domingo and Julius Rudel, backstage at the New York City Opera, after one of their legendary performances of Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux.

great minds think alike

Queens of opera offer royal take on ‘Maria Stuarda’ at Covent Garden

A link to footage of the recent ROH Maria Stuarda and Carmen almost ripping off Ismael Jordi’s clothes.

"I do not have a dream role. You see, I have worked for most of my life with an art form where lots and lots of the audience come to boo. Because they believe that opera is a tradition rather than an art form. My dream is to see real joy in opera. My dream is to see opera opening up to other art forms. My dream is to bring real opera a tiny bit closer to the non traditional opera audience. After all, Opera came to be as a kind of revolution against the all ruling power of the church but now opera is conservative to the very bone. I dream of that little revolution again !"
--I absolutely love and 100% agree with what the awesome Malena Ernman says in that interview. (via oohdesire)


Happy Birthday to die schöne Bloggerin Amber!

you are beautiful and your hair is indeed rad

happy birthday and good luck for your move!



So when I write that this is the Le comte Ory threesome instead of terzetto it is because of reasons

'Max Hole is right about the Royal Festival Hall: Tear it down'

I only reluctantly link to Norman Lebrecht’s pitiful excuse for a blog but this ‘article’ really takes the cake. Notwithstanding the customary sensationalist headline and whiffs of Lebrecht’s shameless martyr complex - ‘sometimes I felt like a voice in the wilderness [against] the whole classical establishment’ - his criticism of the Royal Festival Hall is laughable. The Hall admittedly has sub-par acoustics (although the ROH and RAH aren’t exactly shining examples of acoustic engineering either) but this is not Norman’s beef. In support of his complaint he cites Max Hole’s criticism that:

'There were no screens to show the musicians up close, the conductor had his back to you [my bolding], he didn’t speak to you. I thought this was all wrong.’

Since when have Superbowl-esque close-ups of a sweaty violinist been the standard in enhancing the immersive experience of an orchestral concert? Even more bizarrely Lebrecht seems to advocate conductors with eyes in the back of their heads, presumably so they can pay more attention to the audience. I’m all for a brief explanatory introduction by the conductor, but let’s not forget that it’s not just him doing the work. A concert becomes a transcendental experience when all the musicians work together in service of the music, rather than a orchestra as a faceless entity directed by a ‘star’ conductor-spokesman. Lebrecht then adds his own vague and unrelated complaints to the pile (he doesn’t like yellow and brown, poor baby).

The point, however, is less that Lebrecht’s journalism is a joke, and more that Slipped Disc is, according to his About page, the world’s most-read cultural website (possibly because the articles are usually four lines long and require minimal brain power to click on, read and forget), and this is symptomatic of the ineffectuality of wider discussions of ‘classical music and related cultures’. How on earth can we expect to resolve important issues about the classical music industry and by extension, its perception by the wider world, if this kind of flabby journalism is the norm?

Martina Serafin (Marschallin) and Sophie Koch (Octavian) in Der Rosenkavalier