You’d have thought that, after the Glyndebourne fat-shaming furore, music critics would be a little more careful with body-shape issues.
Not a bit of it.
Leipzig launched this weekend what many feel is a must-see production of Richard Strauss’s Frau ohne Schatten. The cast is impressive. But the MDR radio critic Dieter David Scholz, after praising her ‘stupendous tones’ , attacks the American singer Jennifer AnnWilson for looking like Miss Piggy. You can hear his shameful comment at 05.20 here.
This is, in any language, unacceptable.
It is made worse by the fact that a previous reviewer, two years ago in Berlin, attacked this singer in exactly the same offensive terminology. Laziness? collusion? mindless cliche peddling? Call it what you will. It has no place in the discussion of opera or the profession of music criticism.
Ms Wilson is not a size 8. But she’s a terrific singer, and no artist deserves to be referred to in animal caricatures.
We await to hear Leipzig Opera’s response to this disgraceful piece of phoney criticism.
photo: Leipzig backstage
UPDATE: Mr Scholz has sent this response to Slippedisc reader Saski Constantinou: ‘I didn´t attack Mrs. Wilson. I didn´t say, that Jennifer Wilson was like Mrs Piggy! I said that the costume-bildner was so ugly to dress her like that! Which was not very nice for her. I critisized the costume-builder, not Mrs. Wilson!!! Thats a difference. And I said wonderful things about the voice of Mrs. Wilson.”
We think that is no justification for his terminology. no excuse. If he is saying a singer looks like, or is made to look like Miss Piggy, he is drawing attention to sensitive body image issues. That is not acceptable.