I started an opera blog, yes, but will it be an adequate one? Rather than enumerate to myself the various things making me unqualified to write about opera and discourage myself from blogging, I thought I’d preemptively list them here and go ahead with it anyway.
1. I don’t live in a major opera center
The Canadian Opera Company is actually pretty good, with seven operas next season and high-quality productions. But I seldom have a chance to see the singers featured in Opera News.
2. I’m not obsessive about singers
In arguments about the superiority of various vocal techniques, or about which diva’s Tosca was the greatest, or which young up-and-comer is about to ruin his voice, I’m generally underpowered. I have some regret about this, but not much. Because of reason one above, I don’t often see A-list stars in performance, and I’m a lot more interested in opera-as-musical-literature (does that mean something?) anyway.
3. Some operas bore me
Most of the Bel Canto repertoire (Lucia, Norma, etc.) leaves me cold. I find Simon Boccanegra an ordeal. Same with the majority of opera seria — although Opera Atelier’s revelatory productions have been slowly changing my mind.
4. I am beginning to lose interest in genre purity
Back when Charlotte Church and Andrea Bocelli were popular and I was a teenager anxious to prove my cultural credentials, I was ready to condemn “popera” wholeheartedly. These days, I would still privately roll my eyes a bit if someone referred to Paul Potts as an “opera singer”, but don’t really see the point in guarding the gates so vigorously. A few arias sung on Oprah won’t do irreparable harm to the form. Aside from there being no need to alienate entry-level opera fans, it’s one of the least interesting things to talk about and at worst you wind up coming off like this guy. Also – Sweeney Todd on opera stages? Bring it on.