Sunday, August 19, 2007

When is opera not opera?

When it's comparable to cycling and prostitution, as this article in today's Observer claims, through an interview with the tenor Endrik Wottrich.

Endrik Wottrich, a popular fixture at the annual Bayreuth festival in Germany, has revealed opera singers are turning to drugs and other stimulants to cope with the pressure from the increasing commercial demands on them. 'No one talks about it, but doping has long been the norm in the music world,' he said in an interview with music critic Axel Bruggemann in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. 'Soloists are taking betablockers in an attempt to control their angst, some tenors take cortisone to ensure their voices reach a high pitch, and alcohol is standard practice.'

There is more, lots more, in the article, which says that Villazon is suffering from depression, that claques are often extortionists and that greedy promoters may be responsible for wrecking their stars' voices with undue pressure...

Saddest of all is that this is news - most people close to the action have taken this beastly stuff for granted for years. And most dare not talk about it.