Friday, April 19, 2013

A Glee Disappointment

These have been pretty busy crazy days. In a couple of hours I’m having a piano lesson and still have to have my sheet music put together in a sort of notebook kind of thing. But I wanna write about something serious, although I already feel like I’m mumbling.
First that, no wonder most young people think opera is lame with fat ladies singing unintelligible words in Italian. I was actually really pissed off (yes that’s the word I want to use, I’m sorry if I’m being impolite) at something I saw this morning. Because as I am a child of musical theatre I have some habits from that other life that are hard to scrub off. And as I watched last week’s episode of the TV series Glee I thought “What the hell am I doing watching this stupid show with a girl talking to her cat? What a waste of time.”. But then there was a shoot gun thing and everything just got really serious and interesting. But, what for? They really screwed the series up for me right in this week’s episode.
A screen cap I took from the episode, the moment she got to her knees
The most irritating and spoiled character in the history of musical theatre TV series, Rachel Berry (Karen Cartwright is neck to neck with her in this one by the way), was auditioning for Funny Girl. And in the audition process they showed another girl auditioning for the same role. A fat, constipated looking girl singing quite horribly the famous “Ebben?... Ne andrò lontana” from Catalani’s La Wally. It was awful, she was completely off, her high notes were screamish and she got down to her knees, really just terrible. The lady auditioning her told her to stop and made snarky comments about her performance.
And that’s what you want to pass on to the thousands of millions of teenagers that watch this show? It’s ok to be yourself, to sing, to be an artist, but God forbid if you want to be an opera singer because that’s what they do. They sing their confusing and dramatic arias in Barbara Streisand musical auditions because they really don’t have a clue.
I felt personally hurt by that, because I’ve watched Glee ever since it began and for me it was such a breath of fresh air to have a series that celebrates people who are different and don’t fit the mold. I once felt like a complete freak in this small town with crazy dreams. That was really outrageous and I stopped watching the episode all together out of disgust. I might be making a fuss over 30 seconds of amazing opera material being ridiculed in national television, but opera is my live and I know for a FACT that it doesn’t go the slightest like that!

I mean it’s been long since big ladies with horns were the rage in opera and I know that writes/producers of Glee know that. So why shoot that incredibly unnecessary bit? To show everyone how pathetic Rachel’s contestants were? To say that it was fabulous for her to sing “Don’t Stop Believing”, a song that has absolutely nothing to do with the style of Funny Girl (the most you could say is that it’s been used in Rock of Ages, but that’s a completely different musical) but it’s unacceptable to sing an aria in an audition?
That’s not reality, I myself know of many musical theatre people who came from opera. My singing teacher herself used to conduct opera in the biggest most important opera house in the country, and now she’s conductor and musical director of the Lion King. Many people in musical theatre have classical training, because it’s the healthiest way to sing there is! So why did they portray a classically trained person so horribly? They owe so much to opera , because I’m pretty sure there would be NO musical theatre without opera. I might be getting too emotional over this but I’m really disappointed.
Plus, they played the ride of Valkyries in a completely idiotic moment when some dumb heads were jumping on a soapy and wet pool in the middle of a college dormitory. But that’s just not even worth commenting, all sorts of vehicles use that song for all sorts of pathetic things.
Well I’m extremely disappointed, and I don’t think I’ll be watching this series ever again, shame. I consider myself to be such an open minded person and I think that was extremely impolite and disrespectful to all the opera community, and specially to the Catalani who had his song trashed, God rest his soul he’s not here to see this. But also to everyone who believes in this wonderful art form and appreciates it with so much passion.
Well done Glee writers, you have just made even bigger the gap between opera and whoever is watching your show. Plus you helped make the whole prejudice from both sides, opera people and musical theatre people even bigger.
Well, that’s it! On a brighter side though, I’m finally getting my apartment so it means I won’t be staying in my cousin’s apartment anymore, therefore won’t have to write my posts in the bathroom. YAY! Have a good one everyone.
One more thing, I kind of really like Angela Gheorghiu now, I saw her as Tosca in that ROH production and she was just so divine, and Jonas Kaufmann, oh don’t get me started on that one because I’ll be finished by next month, I’ll leave it at marvelous. And Bryn Terfel is the best Scarpia EVER! There, shut up Isabela, bye everyone!


  1. Hi Bela,

    I'm really glad you posted about this. I haven't watched Glee since Season 2 and I happened to see the episode last night, too. Well not all of it but I caught the audition. I was thinking the same thing.

    I don't think anyone seriously auditioning for Funny Girl would sing opera OR Journey. But mostly I was disappointed, like you, about the way they portrayed opera and (being a person of size) I was especially annoyed by the "fat opera singer" stereotype.

    And I hadn't even THOUGHT about the whole "It's OK to be yourself" thing, which of course is the main theme of this show. Grrr indeed!

    But Bela, "don't stop believin'" in our opera dreams!!

    Rob (old but still dreaming!)

    1. Hey Rob!
      As soon as I saw it I knew I couldn't keep quiet. Everyone is making such a big effort to bring people into opera and this sort of thing reall does not help at all. They didn't have to do anything, they could have put a girl singing Defying Gravity or anything like that, but to ridicule opera for no aparent reason is pathetic.
      Well, I wont stop believing, be sure of it ;) And you "Dream On", never too old for dreaming!