Monday, December 03, 2007


This interview happened in August:

Someone wants to interview me. And here it is:

My name is Gonçalo Frota and I'm a Portuguese journalist with weekly newspaper Sol ( ). I'm writing an article on how the world of classical music has changed in the more recent years and has gotten closer to that of pop music.

While doing some research in the Internet, I found your blog and took an interest in the way you praise the singers bodies and the role being sexy plays in any sort of music nowadays.

Therefore, I'd appreciate if you could tell in your own words what do you think of all this and if you allow me to quote you in this article of mine... I've already spoken to some director of classical record companies, but I also wanted to present the view of someone less interested to sell their products.

What I'd like to know is:

--- How do you think the image of classical artists has changed in the last years?

DrB: Maria Callas was a media icon to top all other opera singers. She wanted to be this and made a deliberate plan.

That said, singers these days are being promoted for their sex appeal to keep the general public interested in opera.

--- You were also connected to this world? Were you also a singer? How were things then?

DrB: I was a singer long ago. This was the day of Nilsson, Tibaldi, Price, a time when singers stood around and sang. Recordings were the media of choice, and the classical recording industry was much more active. This contrasts with today when there is increased interest in DVDs of live performances. Now people become known by the excitement they generate on the screen.

--- Do you agree classical and opera is getting sexier by the minute?

DrB: So what's wrong with sexiness? Opera is the sexiest, most happening medium around today. One of the reasons I am blogging is to try to make people aware of this. If you want to know what's happening in the arts in the 21st century, opera is the place to start. It isn't just sexiness. It's immediacy, topicality and theatricality.

The virtual disintegration of the classical recording industry requires opera companies to find other ways to create fame for their artists. I think YouTube often fills this role. I would like to see YouTube create search methods that bring new postings to the front. I see YouTube as a promotional medium.

--- What moved you to create a top of sexy artists?

DrB: Nobody was doing it. I was trying to counteract the snobbery that people imagine goes with the opera. The real fans of opera are often interested in specific artists, and this interest often manifests itself in the same way as fans of movie personalities. Right now I am thinking I have neglected Natalie Dessay. Of all the singers out there, Natalie is the most up front with her sexuality.

I was surprised to find that it's much easier to find sexy pictures of men in opera than women. The women still seem to want to be considered significant rather than sexy.

--- Is classical music getting closer to pop?

DrB: Pop is dead. People keep claiming opera is dead, but if you are paying attention it is obvious that the current period of pop music is dreadful--monotonous, uncreative, bordering on white sound. Opera is jumping in to fill the gap.

I try to avoid the pop/opera performers like Bocelli and Jenkins. I think there are plenty of sexy legitimate opera singers to promote.

Opera and indeed all of classical music is based in musical genres of the past, a repertoire that requires great musical devotion to make its best effects. I hope this aspect of classical music isn't moving toward pop.

--- Do you think the audience of classical may change as a result of this sexier appeal?

DrB: The hope of everyone involved in the classical music business is that younger people will become interested in it. They are the future. One of the topics being discussed around the internet is the ultimate effect of all these cheap opera broadcasts. Will these new fans stick with opera? I see it differently. Will opera be able to hold them? The new opera producers are interested in attracting a broader audience.

--- Is it crucial for a soprano to be incredibly good looking?

DrB: She must be either incredibly good looking or incredibly good. I think some of the most beautiful singers coincidentally turn out to be the best singers. Look at Elīna Garanča. She is a terrific singer and a gorgeous woman.

Thanks a lot for your help in advance.

DrB: This was fun.

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