What if we just treated opera like a rock band?

A bunch of six foreign opera singers on the German circuit go brainstorming in this 40-minute documentary on how to make a living in the costliest of art forms.

First online release on Slipped Disc.


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    • Rock music = innovation, creativity, pushing boundaries, excitement, for the masses……..here, try this:


      What wouldn’t the opera fraternity give to be able to pull a crowd that size, and a crowd that does not have to sit in insufferable silence like audiences at classical music “rituals”…….”did you see that, some insufferable person applauded between movements, shame, shame, shame!”

      • If being one of 50,000 or more people listening to music produced 100 yards away and amplified using equipment which, due to the compromises necessary in a large venue falls well short of even modest Hi-Fi standards, provides you with the type of excitement you seek, well good for you. Your choice, but I’ll stick with genuinely live performance or recordings played through my electrostatics at home.

        The “innovation” you refer to is more likely to be a product of the electronics industry than the musicians themselves and we are not obliged to sit in “insufferable silence”. There is nothing insufferable about it because, surprisingly, we like to be able to hear what we have paid for.

        Classical music does reach huge numbers of people – just spread over a long timescale. And please don’t bother with your usual knee-jerk response of “snob!” – we’ve heard it before and it’s getting a bit stale.

        • You just don’t get how condescending your response is in stating “the “innovation” you refer to is more likely to be a product of the electronics industry than the musicians themselves”………..tell me have you heard Eric Clapton, Steve Howe, Keith Richard, Keith Emmerson Rick Wakeman, Jimmy Page, Keith Moon? All consummate musicians who use amplified instruments which in no way detracts from their creative abilities. I think your reference to snob is a matter of “pan calling kettle black”
          And I am really am sorry that I don’t fit into your little “club” of so called real music lovers!

          • I’d be interested to know – precisely – which innovations the consummate musician Keith Moon was responsible for before his luck ran out. Please explain.

            Heard him at the Rainbow in the early 1970s. Obviously missed something.

            And the phrase “real music lovers” is yours, not mine.

          • Mr Mars, sorry but I plan to stay around to challenge the rather pompous attitude of yours to anyone who questions what you believe or think. As Grouch Marx once famously said “I wouldn’t want to be a member of a club that would have me as a member” so I will remain outside occasionally looking in.
            Keith Moons technical reputation as a drummer got lost because of his “excessive” behaviour and his capacity for creating mayhem. But he created a style that no one has ever matched, so yes he was innovative, he just wasn’t around long enough for people to fully appreciate it.
            I note that you picked out the drummer but nothing said about the other musicians I named. If you really want to chance your hand, Youtube John McLaughlin playing acoustic guitar with Paco Pena………sublime!

          • Apparently this is “innovation by consummate musicians”.


            It’s just as well we were told of their artistry in advance! Neophytes might have wrongly leapt to the conclusion that it was a bunch of self-harming drug addicts playing a three-chord trick while wearing rubbish costumes – and then smashing their instruments to show how very clever they are.

            The cultural roots of this “artistry” are varied. During the 17th it was considered a popular entertainment to go and gawk at mental patients in asylums. Freak shows had been popular since Roman times.

            But probably being unable to play the drums, or smashing an electric guitar, required “long, serious study, determination and endless practice”. Oh yes, definitely, eh?

          • Ellingtonia – your sole reason for coming here is invariably to attack people with whom you disagree or whose preferences you dislike. You claim to know what is going on in people’s minds but you are unable to answer a straight question. YOU brought in Keith Moon but you are unable to say precisely what innovation he is responsible for. Very little, I suspect.

            My first comment, above, was about music, technology and individual choices, not personalities, but you accused me of being “condescending” – presumably because snobbery had been ruled out. I’m sure this suspension will turn out to be temporary. Others are apparently “pompous” or “arrogant” because their opinion of rock is not the same as yours, but as usual, classical is fair game.

            As you don’t appear to agree with anyone here, why do you keep turning up? I certainly don’t hang around rock centred blogs looking for people to take a pop at.

      • I am a professional opera singer who still enjoys going to live performances from orchestral concerts and opera to the Rolling Stones and very much appreciate the performing qualities of the examples you mebtion. I do not expect to be sitting in “ritual silence” when going to a rock concert and relish the atmosphere of that type of event. However when listening to a Bruckner symphony or late Beethoven string quartets I do expect my fellow audience members to remain silent during the prrformance so that I and all the audience can concentrate and enjoy the vast nuances and dynamics of musical interpretation. They are simply two totally different genres of music to be enjoyed by all.

  • Enough with the my-music-is-better-than-your-music arguing. Every style requires long, serious study, determination and endless practice. Most who try to struggle through soon fade away. A few who’ve learned their craft manage to rise to greatness through the sheer force of their personality and talent. It’s not an easy road for any of them. We admire those special people. We pack stadiums, nightclubs, concert halls and opera houses to watch and listen. They bring us joy with their artistry. Bless ’em all.

    • An expression of an egalitarian world view where there are no cultural distinctions. It is one thing to say that every cultural activity should be accessible to everyone with an interest in it; it is another to imply that it is all on the same level of meaning and importance. Pop/rock concerts pay for themselves because of the numbers (the bottom of the pyramid); high art presentations are much more expensive and address fewer people, but what happens there, is open to all and in due course drips through to the bottom of the barrel. When high art is no longer seen as something special and deserving a privileged place in society, the entire society suffers. We will be remembered by our cultural achievements…. pop/rock does not belong to them. That is not ‘snobbery’.

      • No, that is sheer and utter arrogance……………and since when have you been the proscriber of what is “high art”………….or did I miss the election process?

        • Thank you for demonstrating exactly what I mean. It’s like pointing to a cathedral and someone criticizes: ‘Who are you to say that there is a building standing there? Are you an architect?’ Or: ‘What arrogance to say there’s a building standing there!’

          • Seeing it is not the issue, evaluating its worth is the issue at hand…………something which you have failed to grasp completely. And you have still not answered the question of “who elected you to define what high art is?”

          • …. in other words (since this seems to be extremely difficult to understand for some people): pointing towards something that is there for everybody with eyes to see, also in terms of meaning and quality, is not a very special achievement but mere common sense. The taboo surrounding observation however, is the telling part of the story. ‘If I can’t see where you are pointing at, it’s not me being blind but it’s you being arrogant’.

    • Obfuscation again, the fact that I can see it does not imbue it with any value and has nothing to do with common sense but with opinion.. You are placing your own evaluation on it and arrogantly assuming that everyone else should accept your evaluation.
      And as the old saying goes “there are none so blind as those that cannot see” and you cannot see beyond this belief that only you can define what high art is.
      I will ask once again, who elected you to define what high art is?

      • Life is difficult, isn’t it? I am not defining anything, I made an observation. There has been high art around for centuries, as a result of a consensus (elitist, isn’t it?), the great museums are full of it, the concert halls and opera houses trumpet it on a daily basis, but probably still not loudly enough for everybody. I rest my case….

  • In all honesty, I commend them for trying new things and hope they’ll continue. But that did not hold my attention at all. If these singers are looking to emulate the video/digital production styles popular today to sell themselves, they’ll need to make their videos quicker and crisper with less old-style narration. It seemed like a very old-fashioned video. I’m sorry to say this because I’m happy to see this effort.

      • Haha. We don’t need to change the music. The world nowadays is about presentation, for good or for bad. The classical community needs to figure out that part of it, it seems to me. The music deserves to be heard.

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