Category Archives: Found on the Web

Quentin Letts Shows Us What Ugly Is

Share Button
What Ugly Isn't

What Ugly Isn’t

There’s been an uproar in the opera world after London critics delivered a series of very personal insults regarding Tara Erraught’s weight. “Dumpy of stature”, “unappealing”, and “chubby bundle of puppy fat” gives you a sense of it. Most of the critics have since tried to contextualize their comments as specific to the role at hand, one in which Miss Erraught plays a rakish young man. Indeed, it’s somewhat easier to swallow these comments as captions under an image from the production being reviewed than under Miss Erraught’s publicity still. But in a startlingly tone deaf retort, Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail actually doubles down, amazingly hurling a new round of insults towards the singer while defending the critic’s responsibility to speak their truth.

Here’s the thing Quentin, your truth ain’t shit. Your narrow definition of beauty has been polluting our collective brains for too long. If you were really searching for a truth, your criticism would read more like “Miss Erraught, who is more attractive than ninety nine percent of the people I encounter in the real world, and quite a bit more attractive than anyone I have ever shared any sort of intimacy with, doesn’t match the standard of beauty that I have been conditioned to expect when watching television or movies. By choosing to use my reviews to point out this difference in a particularly hateful way, I not only perpetuate these ridiculous, deceitful, and disgusting expectations, but I show that people who don’t conform to these standards shouldn’t be treated with respect or consideration. In short, I am a total asshat.”

Now that’s a truth worth publishing.

We’ve learned a lot about these critics in the past few weeks, enough for me to completely discount their thoughts and opinions regarding just about anything. We’re not censoring your thoughts, Quentin, we’ve just realized that they’re worthless.

Leave a reply

Dvorak vs Twerking

I can’t tell if they’re serious. I think they might be. I think they really might believe that the only thing that keeps classical music from overtaking Miley Cyrus in the hearts and minds (and other body parts) of today’s listeners is the twerking. If it works for Miley, surely it can work for Antonín.Continue Reading

One Response to Dvorak vs Twerking

Leave a reply

Why bother composing?

Jeffrey Parola sounds kinda bummed in his latest blog post. He outlines the all too familiar plight of the contemporary concert music composer (no appreciation, money, and little hope of either). He then earnestly asks: Why do we bother? In my mind the answer is simple. Creation of music that didn’t exist before HAS toContinue Reading

3 Responses to Why bother composing?

  1. Well said. I have to agree with you. Composing as a profession may, sadly, be diminishing in relevance, and perhaps permanently. Supply and Demand. But writing music will always be relevant to the writer. And if it isn’t then why write at all? If the music is in your head, the exercise of expelling it, writing it out, realizing it fully, hearing it realized, should be the greatest reward. Everything else is largely ego and (false) expectation.

  2. Alexander Frank says:

    Exactly right. I imagine people write music for many reasons, but there is an almost certain trade-off regardless of your motivation. If you compose for your own edification, for the pure joy that only musical creation can bring, you must accept that any fame or compensation will be incidental. A composer of talent who desires recognition or money would be better served writing music geared toward radio play or scoring for film.

    If I strove for many years, writing exactly the music I wanted and loved, and it failed to gain any sort of recognition, I would certainly be discouraged. But the frustration would be directed toward others; more of an incredulous sadness that they aren’t affected by my music the way I am. For me, a (amateur) composer who is at least capable of conceiving and writing out novel music that I genuinely enjoy, to merely be given a perfect recording of every piece I ever wrote, even if I had to listen each in solitude, would be enough. The music is its own reward.

  3. Ben Phelps says:

    Well said indeed. Couldn’t agree more. How many composers have I met who I strongly suspect don’t like listening to their own music? Most of them. I simply can’t understand it.

Leave a reply

I Hate This So You Can Tell Who I Am

Today’s blog entry in Deceptive Cadence echos a theme of my Voice Box radio show with Chloe Veltman and the corresponding conversation on Lisa Hirsch’s blog. Specifically, musical taste, both what you love and despise, is often more about self identification, ego, and image than it is about the music at hand. Some of theContinue Reading

3 Responses to I Hate This So You Can Tell Who I Am

  1. Arun says:

    We were talking about just this on the way to work this morning. I conjectured that it’s a peculiarly American thing to form opinions of people because of their taste in music, and the resulting treatment of said taste as a highly private thing, almost like politics or religion.

    I think it’s an innately tribal emotion, just like rooting for a sports team, or whether you buy American, European or Asian cars. In other words, almost nothing to do with intrinsic “worth” (if that were even quantifiable).

  2. How could you write this without mentioning your own fantastic marriage of opera and rap? http://blog.musicvstheater.com/2010/04/30/operaplot-madness/ Yo.

    • Brian Rosen says:

      Oops. You’re right. That would have been a perfect tie in. I guess it will have to wait for the comments. Oh… wait… :)

Leave a reply

So THOSE are the cellists in my neighborhood…

Look at that! Original Kronos Quartet cellist (and #Violagate White Knight) Joan Jeanrenaud is performing a concert to benefit my neighborhood library. Specifically, it’s a fundraiser to replace the somewhat dated mural on the library with a more modern piece of wall art. Of course, this being San Francisco, replacing that mural is no simpleContinue Reading

Leave a reply

Opera On Tap comes to SF

After four years of filling the taverns and pubs of NYC with the sounds of Wagner and Verdi, Opera On Tap seems to be opening a San Francisco chapter. An audition has been announced on Facebook (hosted by local soprano/neuroscientist/miracle-debunker Indre Viskontas) and the Opera On Tap website has an as-of-yet unpopulated page for aContinue Reading

Leave a reply

The Acoustic Vocoder vs The Wooden Mirror

What a fantastic idea this is. They need to have the input audio be a solo piano piece to see what happens. First some Mozart, then some Debussy. Now THAT would be cool. I’m curious how much the transformation considers the audio spectrum of the output device. What if this was instead driving a sampler?Continue Reading

Leave a reply

Classical Music, Cheerios, and Soap Operas

Felicia Day just posted this amazingly egregious bit of product placement, which, apparently, is pretty commonplace these days. This could easily be applied to classical music with just a bit of media synergy. Imagine a couple finishing a candle lit dinner, staring into each other’s eyes: “Thanks for the dinner. The chicken was delicious.” “It’sContinue Reading

2 Responses to Classical Music, Cheerios, and Soap Operas

  1. Kerry says:

    OMG..Jason dumped Sam???

Leave a reply

On the Not-So-Glamorous Life

My fellow singing waiter Mark Hernandez notified me (and all his other Facebook friends) of this cutting “dark bio” from regional opera performer Robert Orth: Robert Orth’s “Dark Biograpy” While it’s tongue in cheek (and damn funny) it offers an honest glance into the not-so-glamorous life of most working musicians that’s much more common than theContinue Reading

Leave a reply

Hilary Hahn – Good date? Or GREAT date?

Although this will certainly perpetuate the myth that I am obsessed with Hilary Hahn (not an ounce of truth to it), this is just too funny not to post. It was discovered by Hilary’s own publicist who wrote all about it in her Life’s a Pitch blog. Now, if I were Hilary’s publicist, I’d definitelyContinue Reading

One Response to Hilary Hahn – Good date? Or GREAT date?

  1. 100% GREAT date, I’m sure! :)

Leave a reply