Sunday, 22 September 2013

HAVE THE powers that are in charge MADE OPERA ORDINARY?

Ever since I was a child I have loved opera. I used to lie under the piano while my grandmother played and my mother sung, imagine  the magnitude, the fantasy, the singing.  I used to imagine one day I could become a singer like my mother called Caroline Brown/Gilliat. She trained at the Paris Conservatoire.  I would practise hourly but despite having stage presence, it is a gift from god that you either decide to train correctly or you don' t.I did not.
How can you tell if somebody sings well? How do I recognise great singers? Is it their voice, belief, technique? What exactly turns somebody into a number one singer.
Of course I have a love of Callas and Felicity Lott. It is of course a matter of personal choice.
Why do people prefer Adele to Callas, or Madonna to Montserrat Caballe? Or do they?
My younger son came into the house and said he was fed up of screeching and only likes Pavarotti. Opera goers find Placido Domingo to be the best of the three tenors.  Not only is he dishy but he has spot on musicality. It is the panache and star presence that ultimately takes you up the road to the road of stardom. Many people do things well, but how you present yourself is ultimately how you get to the top of anything. Your ability to get on with other people and whether you have the luck and the opportunity to be let in. Hunger and depression also drives people to succeed.  If we are happy all day why would anybody get up to do anything?
In theatre you need to see the person for them to communicate and in opera you need to hear an individual's beautiful voice to imagine the character.  To make all the singers sound the same means that you never find a 'Callas or a Caballe'  and you're left bored. Please keep standards high. Yesterday we went to see Tosca in Cardiff and I do not wish to be unkind but  the voice of the American Soprano who will remain nameless was not charismatic enough. In fact none of the cast was up to show business in my view. In a fantastic auditorium next to the sea, with an atmosphere to die for , better than the Paris's  Opera Bastille, the singers really did not do justice to their environment.  This is because of the terribly unimaginative casting, and the lack lustre ability of their teachers.  Stardom is out of fashion because celebrity has taken over.  In England all the agents are American and in Europe they are English.  My favourite new singer Sofia Dimitrova pushes herself to find a job to show her fine ability.  My son luckily is going to the Royal Welsh College of Music of Drama having finished Mannes College of Music, and perhaps when he leaves, these ideas will have changed?.

Even though I criticise last night, it was an enormous treat to be here and celebrate the world of music in Wales, and realise that somewhere in Great Britain, the classical world and old fashioned manners, appreciation of the arts is flourishing within the general population. I wish I had been brought up here, among this proud and gentle race of poets and warriors. Having been spoilt at the St David's Hotel, I feel happy to return to London.

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