The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

29 April 2004

What were they expecting?

Something Greg Hlatky said last month came to mind this afternoon:

Now no one is going to doubt that for a role like Salome, Miss [Deborah] Voigt's bulk might be a bit hard on the eyes. But what kind of state have we reached when costumes are considered more important in an opera than voices?

Voigt had been engaged for a Covent Garden production of Ariadne auf Naxos. What happened? Peter Katona, casting director of the Royal Opera, offered by way of explanation:

Normally Ariadne is presented on a stylized Greek island with the singers wearing toga-type clothes, but we wanted to present it in an elegant, modern evening dress.

I yield to no one in my admiration for the classic "little black dress," but it's obviously not for everyone, and it's apparent that Covent Garden was more interested in making a style statement than in presenting a credible performance of the Strauss opera.

I bring this up now because Deborah Voigt, who has one of those voices I would heedlessly follow into a dark wood with no thought to the consequences, is talking to Robert Siegel on All Things Considered, and while she's so over the dust-up with Covent Garden, she's not inclined to be forgiving either.

It boils down to this, she says:

More people look like me than they do like Britney Spears. The day Britney can sing Isolde, I've got a problem.

I don't think she needs to worry. And should Deborah Voigt come to the Tulsa Opera to sing Salome, I am there.

Posted at 6:18 PM to Tongue and Groove

"But what kind of state have we reached when costumes are considered more important in an opera than voices?"

Seems to me to be the same situation with the Oscars. The Red Carpet Show is far more important recently than the actual reason those costumes were put on.

Posted by: Vickie at 4:08 AM on 30 April 2004

Yeah, but I think of that as product placement, with the various rag sculptors (this is not a literal translation of "haute couture") trying their damnedest to get their latest creations on display.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:37 AM on 30 April 2004