Great article. I’ve been doingapresentation at colleges, Ignite, Pecha-Kucha, TED-X, etc, for about2years called “Opera Doesn’t Suck”. It hasafew slides dedicated to each of the major opera myths, the valkyrie and tuxedo-ed fatty among them. The more I’ve given it, though, the more I’ve realized there is an additional argument in all of this. Yes, there are roles that call for women who drive men mad with lust, or men who draw in women like moths toaflame. There can definitely be some dissonance there whenasinger seems to not match what society declares to be objectively beautiful. But then there are roles that are just about people, or kings, or queens, or servants. People who are never described as beautiful or seductive,who aren’t supposed to be 15 years old or dying of consumption. In every other art form—film, theatre, TV, these roles are cast with people who are NOT the norm. They don’t look like normal people. Often, they are skinny to the point of unhealthiness, and the “nerdy girl” or “ugly friend” are former models.
The fact is, opera is the last art form that acknowlegdes thataguy who wearsa52L can fall in love or feel murderous rage as easily as someone who wearsa38R, and that (all televised evidence to the contrary)awoman who wearsasize 20 also feels human emotions. Should we not celebrate this? Yes, let’s break down old preconceptions, and celebrate all the hotties out there. But shouldn’t we also fold in that people who are life-sized also getachance to be represented in our world?