Wednesday, 16 September 2009

A Message to Critics

Perhaps this is a futile effort, as few of those whom this post is addressing - the harshest critics, both professional and amateur - are going to take it to heart. However, if a single person thinks again about what he or she writes about performers, it has not been in vain.

From the movie The Great Caruso, starring Mario Lanza (even though the film was highly fictionalized, the part about Caruso being compared to de Reszke and called "bourgeois" is correct, just like [both] de Reszkes' admiration to Caruso):

video

Not that I am blameless. Sometimes it's a difficult job not to be harsh, when music is your passion, and you hate some of its parts just as much as you love others. But we all should think twice, whether what we are saying or writing is truth, or if it is just a little frustrated musician in us talking.

In Art, few things are objective, and what one person likes, another may not. YouTube seems to be full of all too wise people who know a singer's technique is wrong, how a world star is terrible, or how a conductor's fame is just good PR. These are exactly the people who would criticize Enrico Caruso for not being Jean de Reszke; now they criticize Dmitri Hvorostovsky for not being Lawrence Tibbett, or Renée Fleming for being vulgar.

Artists are extremely sensitive beings, but in this ugly world, they either develop thick skin, or can't do what they love - sing, play, conduct. Everybody who can perform in public in the first place is great, because they are bringing Beauty to our lives. By savaging them, you're betraying the very essence of Art.

Life's too short not to enjoy world's beauty and loose time with what you dislike, or to annoy other people by not respecting their tastes!

1 comment:

  1. Very, very well said! Agree wholeheartedly. And you're not the only one sick of continual vicious criticism of every smallest imperfection. Read these wonderful recent posts from Opera-L on the stupidity of chasing perfection.
    http://listserv.bccls.org/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0909c&L=OPERA-L&P=47938
    http://listserv.bccls.org/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0909c&L=OPERA-L&D=0&P=49897

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