Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pop Star to Opera Star

We here at Aria Serious are torn by the news that ITV in the UK is filming a new reality series called "Pop Star to Opera Star" where pop stars will tackle the operatic repertoire while being mentored by Katherine Jenkins and Rolando Villazon.

While we here at Aria Serious love to see our favorite art form on prime time TV, we're also concerned that this lowers the artistic standard. In a Company that prides itself in attracting the best talent possible, do shows like this undermine our work or is it a much needed breath of fresh air?

One thing the show has going for it - Meatloaf (the singer, not the leftovers in your fridge) will be a judge.

10 comments:

Chrissy Fleming said...

I doubt this will have any more negative effects on opera than Il Divo! Just kidding (sort of), but I understand the frustration. I often tried to watch Dancing with the Stars with my husband, who used to compete in ballroom dance. He was absolutely maddened by every episode because the standards were so low, the praise so rediculous, and yet I bet that show brought a lot more people to take dance, and maybe even to see the real thing. I don't think we need to fear an audience member coming to opera with lower standards of expectations, it just means we have that opportunity to blow them away. If the show is smart, it will have guest appearances by opera stars who have proven their mettle (just like American Idol has guest performers), put Natalie Dessay on there next to the wannabes and that will keep some perspective!

Cliff said...

What a coincidence - here I am in the UK wearing my ten year old San Diego Opera sweatshirt and googling 'Pop Star to Opera Star', and suddenly your site appears!

I was really looking forward to the show, but after the first 45 minutes, I simply can't stand any more. It's an absolute train wreck: facile, doltish and importing all the worst conventions from other reality shows. Avoid this leprous monstrosity if you value your soul.

San Diego Opera said...

@Cliff - well we need to get you a new shirt. Our logo has changed since then ;-) I'm watching the comments about #PSTOP on Twitter (which I assume is airing live over there right now) and the comments are not positive. I'll have to check the internet tonight to see if anyone has posted it online. I *DO* need to see it for, um, professional reasons much in the same way I need to look at the car crash as I drive by. All the best - San Diego Opera

Anonymous said...

This show is an absolute disgrace. It has no value whatsoever and is just cringeworthy and the cheapest TV I have ever seen. Surely ITV can be more imaginative? The "popstars" are all understandably hopeless at singing in a style that requires years and years of training. Mind you, with the panel of "experts", who have no right to be anywhere near an opera house let alone judging these publicity hungry popsters, it's no wonder this show is appalling.

Anonymous said...

I started to watch Popstar to Operastar yesterday. It was quite the worst thing on TV for some time. Not only is it facile, but it it NOT Opera they are doing. Teaching someone to sing a cut down arrangement of an operatic piece is not opera, especially when they sing in the same pop style, relying on close microphone technique. Nothing on real technique - breathing exercises - support etc etc.....scales etc. This programme is a dis-service to opera and misrepresents its cultural importance. What it does show is that ITV makes REALLY BAD PROGRAMMES. Katherine Jenkins is there to look pretty - she is not an opera singer and as far as I know has never appeared in one in a real role. And why is Alan Titchmarsh, a tv gardener, presenting? Perhaps ITV will see sense and take this programme off the air.

ruffled_feathers said...

For what it's worth, they were all better than I thought they would be. In view of the years of training required, if you expected anthing else then all opera singers have wasted much time in training. Many people wouldn't sit through an opera, but many do like the arias (or bits of them) even if they don't recognise them as such. This won't create a host of opera-lovers, but it may open people's ears to more classical music. As with ghastly soap operas, you don't HAVE to watch.

Anonymous said...

As a novice... I wish I could find listings of the titles that each contestant has or is singing... then I can go away and look them up and listen to how the greats sung them. I mean what was that aria/song that Kym Marsh sang? Can someone please help?

ruffled_feathers said...

Anonymous - Google "popstar to operastar" - you will find the ITV website - on there is a link to Amazon who are listing the arias and for each are recommending a professional recording

Furtive Lachryma said...

I thought the lady who attempted the Queen of the Night's aria didn't do a bad job, until I clocked that it was down a third, only the first half, and taken at about 70% speed! Last night Darius gave us the most pedestrian of champagne arias - he'd certainly look the part of the Don if nothing else! He goes head to head with Bernie Nolan in the final. She took breaths all over her aria in the semis and sounded in grave danger of cracking with the vocal strain. Can Belto rather than Bel Canto!!

Anonymous said...

It appears that the "screaming rent a crowd" are employed by the X Factor,Britains got Talent, and now Pop Star ect. which is why i've stopped watching all three. The organisers of these shows have to put a stop to the ridiculous screaming and shouting over the slightest thing. It's bad enough to try and listen to the contestants, but impossible to hear what judges or others to have to say.So, come on organisers, make these shows acceptable to the public, without the "sceaming schoolgirl crowd" that seams to be employed in trying to make dull shows "exciting".