More reality opera
It's a trend: first the chance of a Fort Worth Opera reality-TV show, now the prospect of an "Opera Idol" on radio. The BBC has announced a new operatic talent search show, with Kiri te Kanawa as head judge.
Mercifully, this competition appears to be looking for real, actual, honest-to-goodness opera singers rather than the pop-opera crossover blather featured on "Popstar to Operastar," currently playing on Britain's ITV. (You can't watch the videos on their website if you're not in the UK, but I don't think any of us is missing much.) "Britain's Got Talent" and Paul Potts have a lot to answer for.
(read more after the jump)
It's interesting that this kind of crossover is such standard reality-show talent-search fare that a number of people have mentioned to me how much they hate it that Susan Boyle, the latest talent-search star from "Britain's Got Talent," is making a travesty of opera. Susan Boyle doesn't sing opera. There are no classical tracks, pseudo or otherwise, on her runaway bestseller of a recording (unless you count "Amazing Grace" and "Silent Night" as classical music). I'm kind of intrigued that there's such a widespread perception that bad opera is inevitably a component of middle-aged talent-search stardom: it may be born of an idea that opera, misunderstood and even bowdlerized though it be, still confers some kind of street cred as a sign of putative quality.
British television has already done a lot more with reality TV and classical music, for good and for ill, than American television, with shows like "Maestro" (generally on the good side, surprisingly, at least in terms of helping viewers understand what a conductor actually does and how hard it is) and the annual Classical Brit Awards, which seem to rouse ire every year due to a heavy admixture of the glitz, or schlock, factor. (Katherine Jenkins, anybody? Yikes.)
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