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Subject: Re: The Met's Audience
From: Lloyd Hanson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Lloyd Hanson <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 7 Apr 2009 09:44:18 -0700
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I wrote the following in answer to Ed's response which you included in  
your recent note

> Ed:
>
> Of course there is much to be learned from past singers, even from  
> recordings that are scratchy and remote in sound.
>
> But my point was that prior to the recording age, singers did not  
> hear other singers with the degree of frequency that is now  
> available.  And even within the first half of the recording age,  
> singers showed more individuality than do singers today.   There is  
> a strong case to support the idea that the plentiful recorded world  
> has reduced the degree of individual investment and a more  
> generalized singing style and even a similarity of tone has become a  
> standard.
>
> Today all classical singing is marketed and whatever the present  
> marketing model, it is the only thing that producers, general  
> managers, conductors, etc. etc. will buy.  Anyone outside that  
> marketing model must be overly spectacular to even get a chance of  
> being seen on stage.
>
> In a sense this all began with the great success that Caruso had as  
> a recording phenomenon.  His style became the most desired style and  
> even a great singer such a Gigli was, to some extent, placed in a  
> lessor position by the recording market model established by Caruso  
> even though Gigli also made many recordings.
>
> A good discussion

I would emphasize the demands on today's singers to meet a "marketing  
model".  It is most common for excellent singers to be stunned with  
the results of their audition when it is obvious that they have  
honestly impressed those doing the auditioning only later to be told  
by their managers that the auditoneers felt they did not meet the  
present "model" for the "now" audiences.

If you examine the careers of some of our most recent 'stars' you will  
discover that it is the PR campaigns that made the star out of an  
otherwise superior singer but who could be easily lost in the milieu  
of showbiz that modern Opera has become.

I do not think the MET is the answer for the continuation of Opera,  
wonderful house that it is.  It is the B houses and provincial houses  
that will make or remake Opera into a 'not to be missed' ongoing  
series of events.

Lloyd W. Hanson



On Apr 7, 2009, at 8:39 AM, Robert Rideout wrote:

>  I agree with Ed that those who ignore the past miss a great deal,  
> and I'll go just
>  a little fruther in saying that I lament the relative lack of  
> interest in the age of the
>  opera dinosaurs because we are losing, if we have not already lost,  
> the style and passion
>  that drove many generations of singers in an unbroken string.  It  
> is not just "tradition",
>  which can be very stale, but in seeing music as more than just a  
> bunch of notes
>  on a page.  Or a route to a paycheck.  I may be wrong, but what I  
> hear for the most
>  part these days is a generic prescription for vocal music that  
> undercuts the individual
>  characteristics that were so much a part of my early opera  
> education.  And I do
>  regret it, very much.

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