On Tue, 25 Jul 2000, Max Prola wrote [in response to the
announcement that Ghorghiu will sing Norma]:
> Opera is for fun: intellectual, aesthetic, emotional, social. It's not
> brain surgery. Enjoy it!
The difficulty with this attitude is that it eventually leads to
mediocrity and worse. One of the reasons athletes keep breaking each
other's records is because the level of expectation is so high. The fans
do not cheer mediocrity. They do their homework: know what's been done,
by whom, when and where; they know how things should go.
We opera fans have a similar responsibility and we ought to show a similar
level of commitment. Gheorghiu's intention to do Norma is cause for
concern because of the compromises that will have to be made by the singer
AND by the audience, ie, the fans. If we applaud those compromises, we do
not help the art form we love so much. One of the reasons that Gheorghiu
is attempting Norma is that she knows that there are a lot of fans who
will both let her get away with it and applaud her effort.
Dr. Peter J. Binkert
Chair, Department of Linguistics
Director, Center for American English
Rochester, MI 48309-4401
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