Jackie Evancho rose to stardom some years ago. Where you in awe? I was not. On the contrary. I cringed. It was so contrived and non organic. Small girls should not sing this kind of repertory. They have nothing in their precious little bodies to suport an operatic expression.
It is even worse than if I would attempt singing the role of Isolde with full blown orchestra. And I’m certainly NOT made for Wagners dramatic repertory! But at least I have technical skills and well developed muscles to take care of my voice. And my breath control is just fine. Hence, I could undertake an aria, with piano, and still be true to my instrument.
Recently Amira Willighagen is the new child opera singer. Hey, did I say opera? Really!? Listen to this bright eyed, cute little girl.
Yes, I’m on a rant here. No shadow on the girls. I’m after the grownups creating this phenomena. Not only can’t Amira sing a phrase properly, but also she has no idea what she is singing about. And of course her italian is all over the place. I’m not saying she can’t sing. Of course she has talent! I’m just saying she’s not an opera singer.
When I say “she has no idea what she is singing about” I’m into a bigger context than only understanding the words. I’m talking about culture, history and life experience. The experience of a woman, of a composer, of a librettist. And a lusting girl wanting to convince dad, the cute boy she just met is the one to marry!
Since we think it is a bad thing and openly admit to our opinions, we get called envious, haters, bitter, purists, ignorant etc.
My opinion is the complete opposite. We do care, deeply. About the girls, the music, the art form in itself and the audience that has no fair chance to get to know opera in its full, transformational glory. Real opera, sung WITHOUT MICROPHONES!
I have yet another aspect of this that I will cover in another post. It touches upon what the western african musical tradition has to do with opera and why it is close to an insult to have children make believe perform in front of such large audiences.
Until then, write your opinion below, in a polite manner of course! 🙂
(The sequel to this post can be found here)