The Washington Times has two noteworthy articles in today's issue. In "Opera divas: Ready for their close-ups?" Washington Times Literature (and Arts) reporter Kelly Jane Torrance muses on the effect on opera that HD broadcasts have - specifically if this will lead to an undue (?) focus on the 'presentability' of singers. From one of our favorite opera blogs - the lovingly snarky, deviously delightful Opera Chic - come many quotes as juicy as we'd expect. But there is also a familiarly contrarian voice that chimes up:
Some purists may decry the increasing attention paid to how singers look and act, but not journalist Jens F. Laurson... "It will make for better, more entertaining and enthralling, more attractive opera..."
"Opera is becoming less the provenance of the voice fetishist but moving toward that which it ideally is: the combination of music and drama as equals," he says. "For the beauty of pure voice there will always be the oratorio and art-songs or those few operas where the drama really is only an excuse for vocal display."
A few pages before that an OpEd titled "Despot serenade" takes the New York Philharmonic to task for pussy-footing around at the East Pyongyang Grand Theater with bland musical choices for their North Korean date.
After the New York Philharmonic accepted an invitation from the North Korean government to perform at the East Pyongyang Grand Theater, a flurry of commentary condemned and praised the move. Was this savvy cultural diplomacy, or merely a PR coup for one of the world's worst tyrants?
Encapsulated, the point of the editorial is that the NYP should indeed have agreed to go - but instead of Gershwin bring as their offerings Beethoven's Eroica, Shostakovich's Fourth Symphony and some K.A.Hartmann.