Opera Has Legs

Via the delightful Opera Chic blog comes this story about German supermodel/pair of uberlegs Nadja Auermann who just modeled a series of ads for Deutsche Opera Berlin to promote the 2008-2009 season. That's her Turandot to the left..

Let's talk about bringing sexy back to opera.
Or let's not; I can write my best material right now but it can't hold a candle to these images so let's just get to the pictures already.

- Edward

Venus from Tannhauser:

A very very naughty Carmen:

The Flying Dutchman:


Die Agyptische Helena:


Anonymous said…
It's an interesting concept. As a younger newcomer to opera, I share the view of most of my generation - opera should adapt to the wants of its upcoming audience. But do attractive singers "cheapen" the art form, as one Opera Chic commenter suggested? We had one patron complain about a performance because he felt the soprano was not sufficiently attractive enough to warrant two men fighting over her. So how believable does opera have to be? Given some of the plots, not very, but if we're expecting opera singers to act (heaven forbid), shouldn't they appear believable in look and action? I'm not saying all opera singers need to be supermodels. As a marketer, I have to ask whether the singer's appearance will be a draw for new audiences. I, personally, wouldn't mind seeing some more sizzle in opera ads - I saw one that opened with, "Not getting enough of it at home? Try the opera for a night of passion." By taking the sexy OUT of opera, are we actually demeaning the work of the composer, librettists and original directors? I have to think Verdi would've approved of a little naughtiness, given how shocking his works were considered in his day.
Anonymous said…
As per our email conversation... I find it sad that when my friends think of opera music, they still think of the fat lady with the horns. I mean, sometimes I think my looks work against me... and I'm not being full of myself, but it is so much harder to get ahead with jealous fat little women in the opera business being angry that someone tall, slender, and beautiful is trying to make a go at it. I think it is all very difficult on the way up... All the straight men want to sleep with you, all the women hate your good looks, and everyone tries to keep you down thinking that you have it all. As the underdog moves up the ladder because people are giving them a helping hand. Yes. Voice is important. But I am working just as hard as all the underdogs to make my voice the best out there. I just don't want to be discriminated about because I look like a model. The fat ladies had their chance in the sun for decades... give the supermodels a chance now. Let the people decide.
he he he...
San Diego Opera said…
I think the artform is making some concessions by taking looks into account as well as vocal talent.

While I haven't experienced vocal quality taking a backseat to looks (not in our house), I believe in order to attract the future audience opera deserves one will need to consider the "Hollywood effect" and cast accordingly.

There will always be purists that will cling to the notion that the voice is the most important part of opera -- they are right of course (ok, fine, call me a purist with eyes) but I think we forget that Art, good Art, (and opera is the greatest of Arts) reflects the trends and times it exists in. I think it is safe to say that the artform is changing and the Opera my children will see will not be the same Opera my grandparents saw, just as what we see today is not the same Opera as it was in Verdi's time.

There will always be a place for singers with a great voice, because looks aside, a properly trained unamplified voice with natural beauty can cut through just about anything. But I also think we'll see more singers who, although talented, won't have the "perfect voice" but combined with their looks will get quite far and be very successful in the business.

"Not getting enough of it at home" - I love it.
Anonymous said…
And THAT, my dear friends, is why Carmen is my favorite opera.
Anonymous said…
I love that opera requires more acting now than it did in the early 1900's, and I appreciate how many singers are taking care of themselves better to be in shape and believable in their roles, too. :o)

On the other hand, though, I wonder if the choice of the model used isn't a bit too extreme. It's bordering on misleading advertisement when there really aren't many Wagnerian soprani around who are slimmer than a size 10...

I'd like to think that even if the new audience buy the ticket looking to see someone this leggy sings Isolde, they would still be conquered by the quality of the music and singing and staging even if they find that Isolde turns out to be ... er.. a lot bigger...

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