Tuesday 3 June 2014

The Classical Reviewer on musical criticism following the adverse criticism concerning the appearance of a soprano star at this year's Glyndebourne festival opera

There has been much discussion in the media recently concerning the adverse criticism made by a number of critics concerning the appearance of a soprano star of Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier at this year's Glyndebourne festival opera.

American mezzo soprano, Jennifer Rivera is reported to have commented, ‘…the thing that really gets to me about the reviews is that all of them, almost grudgingly, admit that she sang the extraordinarily difficult role beautifully. And yet the bulk of their criticism is reserved for her body type...’

The whole question of musical criticism itself is fraught with problems given that it is, by its very nature, a personal opinion to an opera performance, production, concert or recording hopefully reinforced by a knowledge and experience of music.

There is, of course, an important place for critical comment that gives an open and honest review of artists’ performances.  This can often justify severely adverse criticism, where appropriate, so long as it is tempered with some understanding of the performer’s genuine effort to achieve a good standard.

It is, then, a good moment to restate The Classical Reviewer’s overall aim, Celebrating the best in Classical Music, whether by way of featuring the finest recordings, concerts and publications, unusual repertoire or the best of contemporary classical music.

Having many friends in the music business, I am acutely aware of just how tough the music profession is. I do have recordings sent to me that I prefer not to review as I cannot find anything positive to say. I prefer to use my blog more productively by featuring those recordings that for one reason or another are well worth hearing and, in some instances, unmissable.

This is how The Classical Reviewer blog will continue.

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