Opera Singers Ain’t What They Used To Be

So says Sir Antonio Pappano, the Royal Opera House’s music director. He has taken aim at the “current generation” of opera singers, questioning their commitment after a rise in cancellations and suggesting their bodies were “weaker” than their predecessors. Pappano did not name individual singers (did he fear an acid attack? I’m not kidding!), but his criticism is sure to send tremors through the opera world. Like many other top-tier opera houses, Covent Garden has been hit by increasing numbers of big stars pulling out of productions in the run up to first night. I can’t get too excited about Pappano’s complaint. My favorite all-time live performer, Teresa Stratas, bowed out frequently in certain stages of her career. A diva without cancellation is like a wide receiver without an end-zone dance: bo-ring!

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