Preaching to the choir

I don’t know Katherine Jenkins. I’ve never met Katherine Jenkins. I have no personal beef with her and I have no idea what she’s like.
These facts, these demonstrations of my personal disinterest (note the proper use of that word), and my own thirty years-plus of experience as a professional singer qualify me well I would think to give you my informed opinion that she is a pretty poor singer. Or to refine that a little: she’s a pretty, poor singer.
That’s alright. There are plenty about. I’m not about to claim that I on the other hand am a great singer, because my abilities are actually irrelevant. It’s my experience that is crucial here. I’m not writing about my singing, I’m writing about hers.

Caped Crusader

I’ve had it with Norman Lebrecht. I enjoyed his book The Maestro Myth. I enjoyed even more handing it to a well-known French conductor for a gander and watching him dive straight to the index to see if he was mentioned. (He wasn’t.)
I like the idea of a journalist who takes a particular interest in the workings of the classical music trade. Unfortunately Lebrecht seems to think he is the ONLY journalist with this interest and has turned himself, so he imagines, into a sort of caped crusader with super x-ray vision that can see through the veneer of PR. Supernorm and his Sword of Truth can cut through agents’ bullshit with a single stroke! Summoned by the Normphone he will jump into the Normobile to do battle with musical injustices, arrogant divas, people who don’t like Mahler and, er, fees that he thinks are too high!

High Kleiber diet

It’s funny how a few things in life can come together to plant a single notion in your head. Today, everything for me has suddenly become about authenticity. Not so-called “authentic performance” as it relates to classical music (which, I’m afraid, 50% of the time is about as authentic as a TV advert for stain remover) but meaning being genuine and true.
I was lucky enough to see the National Theatre’s “Hamlet” before Christmas where the desperate search for authenticity was the motor for Rory Kinnear’s brilliant performance, so perhaps there’s something in the air, or this has been germinating in my head for a few months.

March of the trolls

As you can see if you look to the right, I tweet. I don’t like Facebook but I like Twitter. I like the way you have to focus an idea into 140 characters.
One of my fellow Tweeters is Rebecca Caine, a soprano whom I worked with in the early 80s when we did “The Gondoliers” at Sadler’s Wells. I didn’t get to know her very well – we only had one scene together I think – though we bumped into each other once while doing different operas in Nice in the 90s. I haven’t seen her since. I stumbled on her on Twitter, decided to follow her and it turns out she’s an excellent and witty tweeter. The other interesting thing about her is a parallel with my wife Lucy in that she has managed to work both in opera and in musicals. Indeed Rebecca was in the very first cast of “Les Miserables”, a show I’ve never seen, nor I confess have much desire to see. But the point is, she’s no slouch.