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Thread: Child reality TV "opera" singers

          
   
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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Child reality TV "opera" singers

    A very informative, respectful and balanced article about child talent show "opera" singers, by vocal coach Claudia Friedlander.

    I have to say that although she urged readers to watch the whole of Laura Bretan's performance I only lasted 15 seconds of the actual singing, it was so painful. She is a darling though.
    Natalie

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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    A very informative, respectful and balanced article about child talent show "opera" singers, by vocal coach Claudia Friedlander.

    I have to say that although she urged readers to watch the whole of Laura Bretan's performance I only lasted 15 seconds of the actual singing, it was so painful. She is a darling though.
    Thanks Nat. An excellent and well argued article. I couldn't listen to much of it either but the judges/audience reaction was totally genuine.
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Lots of food for thought in Claudia Friedlander's article. I made it through the girl's entire "performance" (painful as it was), and agree that the audience's/judges' reaction was absolutely sincere. It probably doesn't hurt that she has an engaging personality.

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    Senior Member Veteran Member Povero Buoso's Avatar
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    I lasted 2 seconds during the singing until I realized what was happening once again to poor Nessun Dorma. As much as it pained me (as it does when O Mio Babbino Caro also suffers the same treatment the constant presence of these arias on talent shows likely a testament to Puccini's skill in concocting catchy arias.) I think the audiences reactions are entirely sincere. The Judges also seem to be mostly sincere as well though I am tempted to think that in Simon Cowell's case he has become long in the tooth with regard to singers like Miss Bretan so knows that it can make the season a potentially strong one ratings wise. I do agree though that the young lady possesses a winning personality and in some ways it makes me sad that she's potentially ruining what could be a good voice in a decade or two by engaging in this activity now. As the article said though I hope that it transports more fans into the real core of opera which is the perfect combination of acting, singing, instrumentation and story instead of just the odd great catchy aria.
    "Non sono in vena" Rodolfo summing up P.B's feelings on his dissertation.

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Oh wow. Someone please yank this girl out of the reality TV circus and protect her voice.

    Excellent article by the voice teacher. Thanks for posting, Nat.

    It makes me think of that young member we had who posted her videos here. What was made of her?

    Now, the author of the article does make good points about avoiding the jealous/snob label when talking about opera singing to non-educated listeners but I'm still a bit skeptical. I don't really think that a lot of people from the Andrea Bocelli-loving crowd will ever make the jump to become true opera lovers, even with guidance, so I'm not sure if this is really any kind of opportunity.

    It seems like the kind of crowd that is moved by this kind of performance will want the cheap thrills that something like this (or Bocelli) delivers, but then they will discard it and move on to the next "sensation."

    Opera takes hard work, stamina, and commitment including from the listener, so as someone who has spent his professional life observing people, I think the two crowds are just made of different kinds of people, and they have different brain wiring regarding what gives them pleasure. The short-circuit kind of pleasure setting that makes someone jump into this is very different from the sustained, slow fruition that we opera lovers get from the art form.

    The same person who is engaged in tearful standing ovation of this young lady's display would probably be bored to death while trying to listen to a full-length, professionally sung opera.

    And then, it's been commented widely, the young lady is indeed adorable and has a charming personality so many are reacting to her (and to her young age - the child prodigy thing has been always appealing throughout History) rather than to the sounds she is producing.

    Now, if she does aspire to have a classical singing career, she is definitely on the wrong track. Maybe she doesn't. Maybe she will make some other use of her new-found celebrity status and will go on to be a pop singer or a TV artist. Good for her, whatever she pursues. I just hope she won't end up with ruined vocal cords and bitter/frustrated.

    The pitfalls of young fame are many. Soccer analogy: Freddy Ado was heralded by non-discerning American soccer lovers as the next Pelé (anybody like me who knows soccer knew that he was far from that). He burned out quickly and had a pitiful career.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); June 7th, 2016 at 07:51 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    I remember when a 13 year-old girl named Sandra Schwarzhaupt was all the rage on German TV, warbling opera arias (soprano coloratura arias, if my memory serves). She's a mezzo now, and from what I can tell, is pursuing both opera and pop careers. Here, under what I'm assuming is her married name, Sandra Calderón, she sings Carmen. I'm also assuming the tenor, Lazáro Calderón, is her husband.


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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    I remember when a 13 year-old girl named Sandra Schwarzhaupt was all the rage on German TV, warbling opera arias (soprano coloratura arias, if my memory serves). She's a mezzo now, and from what I can tell, is pursuing both opera and pop careers. Here, under what I'm assuming is her married name, Sandra Calderón, she sings Carmen. I'm also assuming the tenor, Lazáro Calderón, is her husband.

    It's interesting that I don't find her singing very refined, at all. I wonder if her too-early start made her acquire defects that she was never able to shed once she became an adult opera singer.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    Now, the author of the article does make good points about avoiding the jealous/snob label when talking about opera singing to non-educated listeners but I'm still a bit skeptical. I don't really think that a lot of people from the Andrea Bocelli-loving crowd will ever make the jump to become true opera lovers, even with guidance, so I'm not sure if this is really any kind of opportunity.

    It seems like the kind of crowd that is moved by this kind of performance will want the cheap thrills that something like this (or Bocelli) delivers, but then they will discard it and move on to the next "sensation."
    While I admire Friedlander's wish to make this a teachable moment, I have to admit to sharing your skepticism. There are numerous paths toward developing a real love of opera, but "America's Got Talent" is probably not the most likely.

    Similarly, while this was a lovely moment for Laura Bretan, I hope it doesn't mislead her about the real process of becoming an opera singer--if that's what she wants.

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Festat's Avatar
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    Even though I do believe most of the reactions are genuine, we have to keep in mind that in reality TV — any television with a live crowd, really, but specially talent reality shows — the audience is PUMPED for a reaction. It is sort of like sitcom audiences who will laugh even if they are not sure that line is a joke. There are people there whose job is solely incite intense, emotional reactions because that's why one watches America's Got Talent after all. Also, show is edited, we can't even tell for sure if those reaction shots/sounds are actually from the moment they appear in.

    All that aside, I think a big part of this whole thing rests on how obscure the operatic voice is to the mainstream. Most people are aware that "opera singing" is part of the canon of beauty, widely accepted as an extremely demanding — physically, technically, emotionally, artistically —refined way of singing. Nonetheless, most people do not have a concrete idea of what opera singing actually is. It is a bit, excuse the analogy, like mayonnaise. You can spend your whole life eating mayo from an array of differently labeled jars wholeheartedly accepting all of them as mayonnaise... until you make your own mayonnaise from scratch at home. After you taste the delights of freshly made mayo and understand what mayonnaise really is, you will never look at a Hellmann's jar the same way. It will from now on be a pale goo that vaguely resembles mayonnaise. It can even taste okay but it's definitely not nearly as good as real mayo.

    In 2016, the mainstream lacks a solid reference of what opera singing is. It gets mystified as "something I don't know but that I'm told is very good and very difficult". Then when a cute little girl shows up singing Nessun dorma my brain will be triggered and rescue in my memory that one perfume ad that has Casta Diva on it and suddenly I'm all OMG THIS IS OPERA THIS IS GOOD THIS IS REALLY DIFFICULT AND A 9 YEAR OLD IS DOING IT SOUNDING JUST LIKE A GROWN UP POURING HER LITTLE HEAR OUT EVEN THOUGH I DON'T KNOW WHY BECAUSE I DON'T UNDERSTAND THESE LYRICS!!!! Jaw drops, gasps, tears and massive applause. All sincere as can be. We've all been there once.

    I agree that it will hardly lead any of those people to get into opera, because the experience of the voice and the experience of opera are two different things. They are listening to an aria without any context and have no idea what it means, even though it moves them. This is a treatment of opera that is recurrent in popular culture, from Morgan Freeman's prison movies to Nazi propaganda: something that I don't understand but that gets to me on deeper level, usually out of context. I think this explains why some people have all of the Three Tenors CDs and yet have never listened through Rigoletto. It is the experience of the voice they are after, not the one of opera.

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Festat's Avatar
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    On another note, isn't it about time we have an opera reality show? Not a talent competition because that's usually cringeworthy (in a bad way) material, but... something Real Housewives inspired maybe? The Real Opera Singers of New York? All the drama hidden in practice rooms, personal feuds, chaotic rehearsals, crazy stage directors... I'd watch it.

    Or get in the lip sync battle craze and have drag queens in elaborate costumes as the most extravagant characters in the repertoire lip sync-ing for dear life while RuPaul silently judges from afar:


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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Festat View Post
    On another note, isn't it about time we have an opera reality show? Not a talent competition because that's usually cringeworthy (in a bad way) material, but... something Real Housewives inspired maybe? The Real Opera Singers of New York? All the drama hidden in practice rooms, personal feuds, chaotic rehearsals, crazy stage directors... I'd watch it.

    Or get in the lip sync battle craze and have drag queens in elaborate costumes as the most extravagant characters in the repertoire lip sync-ing for dear life while RuPaul silently judges from afar:

    Yep! I'd watch it too!
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    Yep! I'd watch it too!
    I'd compete!

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Festat View Post
    On another note, isn't it about time we have an opera reality show? Not a talent competition because that's usually cringeworthy (in a bad way) material, but... something Real Housewives inspired maybe? The Real Opera Singers of New York? All the drama hidden in practice rooms, personal feuds, chaotic rehearsals, crazy stage directors... I'd watch it.

    Or get in the lip sync battle craze and have drag queens in elaborate costumes as the most extravagant characters in the repertoire lip sync-ing for dear life while RuPaul silently judges from afar:

    Mozart in the Jungle, the excellent HBO series, has that, but about instrumental classical music. Sure, one about opera would be nice. There is a movie about the struggles of an opera company (fictitious) and their conductor while rehearsing for Tannhauser.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Mozart took on the world of backstage intrigue in his comic opera "Der Schauspieldirektor" (The Impresario), complete with a pair of feuding prima donnas.

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    This is more like it:

    Natalie

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