Why my International Opera Program posts should not be considered to be proper reviews of the singers

One of the problems I’m having with the posts about this opera program is that they get a lot of hits by people searching for the singers by name .

Some searchers are probably just people considering whether to pay a ticket someplace to hear them sing. But some are possibly by people considering casting/hiring these singers, and some may be by the singers themselves or their family members.

Many of these may not be particularly happy with running the name and just getting a paragraph or two of very short and inexact personal opinion on the singer’s performance, followed by some details on what the teacher in the master-class said to them and worked with them.

So I figured I should give a short explanation on what am I trying to cover, and why nothing here should be taken too seriously by the people I’m writing about.

[Update: This paragraph is another very important reason, which just seemed to me to be too obvious to mention. But since it may not be, I'm stating it explicitly] Most of the posts I make in these opera program series are about master-classes. Where the singers practice an aria in front of a teacher/”master”, and receive comments, tips, and lessons. The singer will almost never choose an aria they know very well, and which they practised to perfection, for two main reasons. The first being that if the lecturer won’t have anything to add then it will be boring for the audience. And the second being that it will prevent them from learning something they maybe didn’t know before.

This means that on a master-class the singers will almost always, by definition and intentionally, not be at their best. So me perhaps stating some of their faults in this setting does not imply it will be a real fault when they actually sing on a concert or in an opera. It doesn’t mean they won’t, but it also doesn’t mean they will. It is just what impressions I received during the master-class, where they were more taking a lesson than performing for an audience.

Beyond that To start with, I am not a musician. I like classical music, and I like Opera. But I go to these things to watch and listen. I have no formal training. Nothing more beyond any regular member of the crowd in any similar performance.

I also don’t even try to provide a serious musical review. These posts are a combinations of personal notes, to help me remember what and who I heard, and recaps of the interesting parts of the master-classes.

And I mean interesting in the most basic ways, the things which are non-standard events, the crowd pleaser events, the highlights. I omit a lot of things that may have had a place in a musical review of the singer, or the aria, because they’re not interesting to a non-professional, and possibly not interesting to me.

I also lack the proper terminology. Or, more correctly, often I do know enough to understand the exact terms and descriptions if I hear them, but cannot recall them on my own without some time and effort. So I use the closest regular word I can find. Which is sometimes accurate, and sometimes not.

Things can also get repetitive, a few singers per evening, every evening. It may be important for each individual singer to hear about all the things they have done right, but a large part of it is very repetitive, so I don’t bother.

And, perhaps most importantly, I write these posts at least a few days after the master-class, based on very bad notes. During the show I just scribble a few reminders on a piece of paper. I go to these things because I enjoy them, so I mainly want to listen and pay attention, not write. This results in even worse handwriting than my usual, and in clipped and non-grammatical lines. Often I can’t use a lot of what I wrote, because I can’t recall whatever some obscure line was supposed to remind me of. And I often don’t manage take notes even on things I’d like to mention.

So, to make it short, if you’re a singer, doing ego-surfing, landing on one of my pages, and discovering all I had to say about you was “had a clear voice but a little screechy”, and that then I proceeded to detail the harshest things the teacher told about you in the maser-classes, don’t take it too seriously. I don’t hate you, I probably don’t even think you were really bad unless I explicitly said it. And even if I did, you really shouldn’t care. OK?

26 Responses to “Why my International Opera Program posts should not be considered to be proper reviews of the singers”

  1. Zvi Wirschubsky says:

    I do not know who you are but it is enough for me to read what you write about opera singers to know that you are very much shitting on them. Why in in whose interest apart from your own would you go to lengths to write about them in opera masterclasses? Usually if one works in media one has to check with the person you write about or at least give this person right to react, but in your little blod world you can write anything about anybody and still declare “don’t take it too seriously.” What kind of mentality do you have to hurt people that you do not know ? Your write about singers “ego-surfing” but the own overblown ego I read is yours. “Do not do to others as you do not want them to do to you” is a good recommendation but maybe in your weired world you actually would like to get some attencion even if it is negative?

  2. Post author comments:

    Why in in whose interest apart from your own would you go to lengths to write about them in opera masterclasses?

    Well, mostly is is for my own interest. This is a personal blog. Not a newspaper.

    Yes, if I was writing reviews of a paper, I’d have written some things differently. Though, frankly, asking for responses and reactions is something done in biographical articles, but very rarely in reviews anyway, so I’m not sure what media are you referring to.

    The main purpose of these posts is to help me remember what the teachers of the master-classes did and said, and to remember my general impressions from the singers. So I’ll use what were the things which were important, and the think that could help me recall the exact events. It’s as simple as that.

    And sure, since these are master-classes and not actual performances, there will be more bad things to say than in an actual concert. Heck, the whole purpose of a master-class is to work on the weak spots, so obviously the people in the audience pay more attention to that, and the teachers/masters focus on those.

    And that’s what I write here. Because that what happened in the master-class. And I find these masterclasses, and the lessons, explanations, and tips, very interesting. Otherwise I wouldn’t go to so many of them, for so many years.

    But it’s hard to remember, lots and lots of arias, lots of singers. These posts also serve as a memory aid, so I can quickly see which singers I already had, and hopefully sometimes I have enough to recall the actual aria so I could see if a singer improved and grown, and how.

    As for your problem with the term “ego-surfing”, that is a term. It simply means running web searches using your own name. Ego, as in self. It does not carry any negative connotations.
    Taking from the use of “ego-surfing” that I call someone who does in an egotist is akin to hearing someone tell a singer they should sing a part more “piano” and understanding from it that they didn’t sing in tune to the accompanying piano for the music.
    The term may be slightly technical originally, but it’s extremely common and mainstream these days.

    And this is exactly why I put this specific post. Because some of the singers do that, and some may take what I write the wrong way. This is not an apology, or attempt to get attention (from this?!?!).

    As for shitting on the singers, to put it simply, I don’t. I don’t tend to follow, and pay money to see and listen to, people I want to shit on. And the singers on these master-classes are good. Some excellent. But the whole point of a master-class is to find and improve the few flaws, so these flaws are what there is to write about.

    Sure, I can just not write about the master-classes. That would be nicer. After all, I don’t write about so many other things (and even not about some of the master-classes I’ve been to). But the way I see it, if I actually want to write notes and impressions from something I’ve seen, and which interests me, I have every right to do it. Certainly on a personal blog.

    And sure, if someone sees me do public things in a public event, and wants to write what they think about it, they can go right ahead.
    I never attacked any of the singers, nor had the slightest desire to. I just write about impressions and memorable bits from the master-classes. Some is good, some is bad. Some is neither, but may sound bad due to the nature of the event. Life’s hard. The singers know what they did wrong on a master-class, if they did, because they paid a lot more attention than I did, and because they were told some of it on-stage in front of the audience by the master passing the class. Why should it bother anyone that I just write the parts of it I remember? Especially when, to make sure, I bother to specify that I also realize these are not ideal conditions but master-class conditions?

    I fail to believe any singer would actually get hurt by anything I write on these posts. None of them should. And this particular post is especially to try and help the few who are overly sensitive, or who just skimmed the post to get the few words I wrote about them and so missed the content, to understand there really is nothing to get excited about.

  3. Zvi Wirschubsky says:

    You may well know that singers and other people who perform are extremly dependent on medias reactions. In New york a show on Broadway or off-Broadway can live or die depending on what the critic at New York Times wrote.So people can win or loose much money depending how media reacts. And of course a blog has all the features of media only there is one personal subjective critic who can critisize everyone without getting any problems. The moment one writes ones own opinions in the cyberworld one knows that people can read this. That is the idea of blogs, otherwise one could write at home and put ones writings in a box to be forgotten or read at a later time. But the blog gave all kinds of people an opportunity to write whatever they like and get it spread via cyberworld. Like the camera gave people the possibilty to shoot whatever they want. But they could not spread their private and subjective photos until the Internet gave them the opportunity. Some call this democracy and that is nice. Whoever wants to express him/herself can do it in a blog.But what should the morals of the blog be ? to shit on people, to attack them and critisize them, to make them feel bad ? For what reason? Is your personal reason to write about the masterclasses more important than singers who are offended by this ? There are singers who definitively are offended that what they do in the “kitchen” is being served the public. Usually the visitors in the restaurant do not get to see the shitty kitchen where their food is made. A writer does not want to publish her writings before it is finished to bee seen. So a masterclass is an internal affair. It is like a school on a higher level and the students know the terms and conditions. But neither the students nor the teachers wants to be written about by anybody for this persons subjective reasons. Media is not wellcome on the masterclasses and neither singer nor teachers nor anybody would like to be subjected to an amateurs subjective interpretation of masterclasses.No, you are and have offended a number of singers and no matter how subjective and personal your reasons are for doing that or how much you explain that people should not judge the singers from your writings, the fact is that singers and teachers are getting offended. Did you ask permission from the authorites of the masterclasses to write your very subjective and personal view on the masterclasses or did you just buy a ticket like an interested listener but with the explicit reason to propagate shit about singers ?not to honest, I would say.

  4. Post author comments:

    So people can win or loose much money depending how media reacts.

    I’m not the media.

    And, well, even if I were, are you saying you think all media should be controlled and censured to fit what those the media reports on wants? Because this is how your words read.

    And of course a blog has all the features of media only there is one personal subjective critic who can critisize everyone without getting any problems.

    Oh, yes, I have all the features of media. A huge audience (This blog does get like 10 hits a day). Funds. Editors and copyeditors to help writing things more correctly and in style. Assistants and photographers. Research departments. Oh, yes, I have them all. Obviously. Not.

    And I’m really sorry to be the one to tell you that, but people are allowed to have personal opinions, and are allowed to tell other people about these opinions.
    Some places where people are not allowed to express their opinions, they are still allowed to report things they saw and heard.
    Very pesky, these things, I agree. If I’ll ever achieve world domination I’ll consider making some changes.

    But what should the morals of the blog be ?

    That is an ongoing discussion that is going on for quite some time.

    The general consensus, by those thinking that there should be morals to adhere to, is that the important things are honesty, transparency, agreeing to interact with the readers, and a willingness to change or add to posts if something changes.

    I’m pretty much doing all of that, though you obviously object to honest reporting of things I saw, and are offended by me trying to be extra transparent by explaining the exact circumstances.

    to shit on people, to attack them and critisize them, to make them feel bad ? For what reason?

    Besides the fact that I’m not shitting on people, and not attacking anyone, yes.

    Is your personal reason to write about the masterclasses more important than singers who are offended by this ?

    Since the singers really have nothing to be offended about, then yes. Most of what I write on these posts are descriptive parts of what happened in the class, what the singer did, and what the teacher said. These are factual, and not opinions.
    My personal opinions are usually only one, or two, sentences per singer, and represent my overall very general impression from the aria. Sometimes it’s great, sometimes it’s good with something that I think could be better, and sometimes I personally don’t like it.
    But that’s about it. Nothing that should really hurt anyone who isn’t extremely sensitive, or who can’t take anyone not being absolutely and completely amazed by them.

    There are singers who definitively are offended that what they do in the “kitchen” is being served the public. Usually the visitors in the restaurant do not get to see the shitty kitchen where their food is made.

    Excuse me??
    We’re talking about a public event. They sell tickets. The hall contains several hundred people in the audience on nearly every class.
    There are a few restaurants that have their chefs work in front of the diners. And the visitors on these restaurants do get to see everything that happens in the kitchen. So what would the chefs have to complain about?

    A writer does not want to publish her writings before it is finished to bee seen.

    Funny thing, there are writers who sometimes publish drafts of their books as a work in progress. Not a lot, but they do exist. And guess what? None of them is surprised if people express opinions about those drafts.

    So a masterclass is an internal affair.

    A master-class in front of a paying audience is not an internal affair.

    Media is not wellcome on the masterclasses

    I think this would be a good time to point out that actually some of these master-classes were photographed, recorded, and filmed. And have been mentioned in the papers.

    and neither singer nor teachers nor anybody would like to be subjected to an amateurs subjective interpretation of masterclasses.

    Well, I’m an amateur when it comes to music, so that’s the only subjective interpretation I have. That does not mean I am not allowed to talk in public about music.
    Are you an experienced journalist, music reviewer, singer, and blogger, that you can write here your own subjective interpretations about these things?

    I never filmed a movie, or acted, but I can have an opinion on movies, tell friends abut them, and write about them. I never wrote, certainly never published, a novel, but I can write book reviews. And if I go to a musical performance, under very explicit conditions of being a master-class, then I can write what I personally saw there as well. Especially when I’m very explicit about it being a master-class.

    the fact is that singers and teachers are getting offended.

    How many of them have told you so? This isn’t a statement of an opinion, but of a fact, so where are your facts?

    Besides, even if someone does get offended occasionally, while it’s not intended and I believe not warranted, that is not a reason for me, or anyone else, not to say what I have to say.
    Would you tell me that actually my reviews are wonderful, and I should keep going, if I told you that I think you’re brutally attacking me and I’m getting very offended over it (I’m not, but for the sake of the argument) ? Of course not. And I wouldn’t expect anyone to.

    Did you ask permission from the authorites of the masterclasses to write your very subjective and personal view on the masterclasses

    Of course not. What business is it of theirs? Why would I need permission for that? I don’t need permission to write it in a diary, I don’t need permission to sit with a group of friends and tell them about it, and I don’t need permission to write about it in a small blog.

    Though, just to make the point, a few of the staff and administration did notice this, and so far (while I don’t know what they actually think about the quality of my posts) they did say they appreciate knowing someone takes an interest.

    or did you just buy a ticket like an interested listener but with the explicit reason to propagate shit about singers ?

    I bought tickets like an interested listener, because I’m an interested listener. I’ve been going to these master-classes for more than 12 years now.

    The last few years I did decide I want to keep some better notes, so there was an intention to do that also, yes. But I’m not too focused on that, as is evident by the fact that I didn’t yet get to write about even half the classes I’ve attended this year.
    And, as I said, no shit propagating intended, nor (I still think) done.

  5. Post author comments:

    And, please, use line-breaks and paragraph breaks. It makes it much easier to read what you write when it’s broken to separate paragraph.

    If you do try to user the “enter” key to create paragraph in the comments, and for some reason they get stripped when it’s posted, please let me know. That is a problem, and I should fix it. But so far I don’t see anything that should cause this.

  6. Zvi Wirschubsky says:

    I have some associations: One is an old joke; why can you make love in all the words parks but not in Tel-Aviv? because all people passing by will give you advice. Another association is “do not do to others what you dont want to be done against yourself”

    So far for your defence behind “control”, “censurship” your own very “personal subjective critic”, your own “personal opinions, ”

    You use so nice words of “honesty, transparency, agreeing to interact with the readers, and a willingness to change or add to posts if something changes”

    But when you also write that “singers really have nothing to be offended about” so really what is the problem here ? you are just an “honest reporter of things you saw” , “not attacking anyone” “only writing factual descriptive parts of what happened in the class, what the singer did, and what the teacher said”

    The problem is not with you, sneeking in to master classes, not asking permisson of anybody and writing you own amateurish reviews of singers, no, the problem according to you is that “Nothing that should really hurt anyone who isn’t extremely sensitive, or who can’t take anyone not being absolutely and completely amazed by them”.( a little sentence showing some jealousy from your part?????)

    A masterclass per definition is a class where students learn. I also recall that no one else that the chef of the whole workshop Joan D explicitly said that media should not review the singers in master or other classes. So why do you do that ? Even if a masterclass is public one usually has some second thoughts about writing about artists and their performance since this is about their career and they do not want to be subject of review by somebody in the public who feels and needs to write a review. I know that students and teachers have videofilmed masterclasses, but israeli media ? critisizing single singers? I do not think so.

    It is enough with one singer to have been offended by your writings for you to take care about your “amateurish subjective interpretation”

    The problem here is that we have a guy who feels he needs to write reviews about God only knows what. Like a photographer who feels he needs to take pictures without asking the subjects to be photographed, publishes the pictures on his blog and get surprised when people react and feel offended to be hanged out in his blog.

    The problem is that we have a guy who thinks he can do whatever he wants to do, to write about whatever comes to his mind and yes, to offend and critisize other people. When one person reacts it is his “extremly sensitive” problems and nobodys else.

    If I would characterize you after reading some of your articles in this blog is that you feel like a person who needs to rebel against something (God know only what). You are very insensitive to other people and their needs and live in a self-righteous world (blog) where only you and your ideas and feelings are important, nobody else. This megalomania gives you the right to critizise whoever you want and feel for. In the master classes the victims are the singers, in other fields there are other people.

    But maybe this description is not true, maybe you have other more positive sides in your personality. What if I would feel for writing my characterization of your personality to your family, your friends, your current and future employers ? When you try to tell me you are offended by my caracterizations I say this is YOUR extremly sensitive problem, not mine.

    Would you like it ? would you be so tolerant and say: please shit on me , please murder my personality in front of the whole world, you have the right to shit on me. Nobody likes to be judged by people one does not know. One wonders actually what is the problem of somebody who needs to express his views on everything?

  7. Post author comments:

    Another association is “do not do to others what you dont want to be done against yourself”

    You keep raising this point, and I still don’t get it. You, or anyone else, are perfectly free to review every action I does in a public place. Heck, as far as I’m concerned every public action I do is fair game even if you don’t pay money in order to see me perform that action.

    For example, here you are criticizing my ‘reviews’. And you’re welcome to it. I think you’re completely wrong in your reaction, but you have a right to it. I don’t delete your comments, and I don’t add any special flags to have search engines not index them.

    So basically I’m totally following the “do not do unto others” adage.

    But when you also write that “singers really have nothing to be offended about” so really what is the problem here ?

    Exactly that. Singers have nothing to be offended about. Some might, because on a first impression they could assume that maybe I’m some musical reviewers, or industry insider, or someone who is very knowledgeable about opera singing who decided to critique them. So I just want to make sure anyone who doesn’t read the posts enough to realize that, but who just skims the few words around where their names are mentioned, will know the context.

    You seem to be both against what I actually write, which is perfectly legitimate, and against me trying to make the context of what I write clearer, which is something I just don’t understand.

    sneeking in to master classes

    I bought a ticket. No secrets kept from anyone throughout the process. So sneaking was not involved.

    not asking permisson of anybody

    I don’t recall you asking my permission to state your opinion about my reviews. Why didn’t you?

    Because you don’t need it. Well, I don’t need it either.

    no, the problem according to you is that “Nothing that should really hurt anyone who isn’t extremely sensitive, or who can’t take anyone not being absolutely and completely amazed by them”.( a little sentence showing some jealousy from your part?????)

    I never stated that as a problem. It’s not even phrased as a problem. What this quoted sentence of mine says is precisely that I think there is no problem, and that there shouldn’t be no problem. So I can’t really think it’s a problem.

    Nor do I see how that sentence shows jealously.

    Joan D explicitly said that media should not review the singers in master or other classes.

    I don’t remember that, but of course I can’t remember everything Joan said that I heard, not to mention the many things she said when I wasn’t present.

    But be that as it may, I’m not the media.

    And I’m not reviewing the singers, but the master-class. I have to mention the singers, because it’s absurd otherwise. “Singer X sang an aria. The teacher told him a few things, but they were related to how X sang it so nothing I have to say there. Some nice general tips there, so a pity I can’t tell you those I remember. Next, singer Y sang an aria. The teacher also told him some stuff”. I mean, seriously??

    but israeli media ? critisizing single singers? I do not think so.

    I am not the media. I thought that was clear from the start. If not, let me repeat it. I am not the media.

    since this is about their career and they do not want to be subject of review by somebody in the public who feels and needs to write a review.

    This is about a public performance related to their career.

    And any review can only have an effect on their careers if someone during a casting decision reads that review. Anyone who does that should realize very quickly that it’s a review of a master-class (and hopefully anyone doing casting for opera knows exactly what that means) and that I’m not nearly as professional as they are and am not trying to review the singers.

    If those casters are either extremely dim, or extremely impressionable, well, that’s exactly what this post is for. To make it clear to them.

    Would you think of one of the singers any differently because of what I wrote here, in the way I wrote it? You won’t. So why do you think a professional trying to cast an opera would?

    And there’s a bigger point here. Nobody wants any reviews of anything related to their careers unless it’s a glowing and positive review. Nobody, in any profession. So are you suggesting a total ban on anyone saying in public anything bad about anyone and anything that has career/professional implications?

    It is enough with one singer to have been offended by your writings for you to take care about your “amateurish subjective interpretation”

    No, it isn’t.

    Look, what exactly do I say about the singers that you think could hurt them so much?

    Some, I may say that I didn’t particularly like their voice. Well, boo-hoo. They’re big boys and girls, and can take someone not liking their voice.

    And that’s the worst thing I possibly have said.

    Beyond that I may say things like they failed to reach some high/low notes during the aria, and if they did then there’s nothing offensive about it, and if they didn’t then I’m an idiot and there’s nothing to be offended about.
    Or I may have said that they didn’t pronounce words properly? Well, again, it may not be impressive (depending on the singer and the language) but is certainly nothing to get offended about.

    I don’t run long tirades criticising and ‘shitting’ the singers. You won’t see more than 1-2 sentences of opinion about how they performed. Anything beyond that is directly related to what the teacher in the master-class worked with them on. And if reporting on that is ‘shitting’ on them, then I guess the teacher had been ‘shitting’ on them in front of a full hall.

    Like a photographer who feels he needs to take pictures without asking the subjects to be photographed

    Kind of beside the point, but that’s legal in most countries. And not really frowned upon. If the photographs are in a ‘private’ space, then you have a problem. But in a public area where people don’t have any ‘expectation of privacy’ that’s fine.

    and get surprised when people react and feel offended to be hanged out in his blog.

    So far the only person I know of who feel offended is… you. And I don’t think I ever wrote anything about you. You’re assuming I have a legion of offended people hanging about, but there aren’t any. None that bothered to say that to me, anyway.

    Nice for them to have you getting offended for them, but I’m not sure that’s necessary.

    If one of the actual singers told me he was offended by what I wrote, I’ll discuss it with him/her. I’ll try to understand why, and will ask what exactly in what I wrote was deemed offensive. And if I’ll think they’re right and I was out of line, I may correct and change what I wrote.

    But there have been zero cases of this so far. Unless they go so offended that they ran away to cry to you, without telling me about it?

    to offend and critisize other people

    Criticizing and offending are two different things, mind you.

    When one person reacts it is his “extremly sensitive” problems and nobodys else.

    I am still not aware of even this single “one person” you mention.

    If I would characterize you after reading some of your articles in this blog…

    Personally I just hope you don’t have any actual experience in psychology, or it would be a really sad look on the profession. But I could be wrong, and as I said you’re entitled to your opinions.

    What if I would feel for writing my characterization of your personality to your family, your friends, your current and future employers ?

    Well, this opinion of yours is currently written on the exact same blog where all my master-class reviews are. I won’t delete this comment. So if what I wrote falls under this target audience for the singers, then what you wrote already is written here for mine.

    And see, it’s still here.

    When you try to tell me you are offended by my caracterizations I say this is YOUR extremly sensitive problem, not mine.

    I’m not offended. I disagree. I do realize that your characterization is pretty negative. But I’m not offended.
    And just for the record, you did write far worse things here than what I think I wrote about any singer, or all the bad things I had to say about all of them combined. So I hope that helps to put things in proportion.

    What I write on this blog is public, and if you want to comment on it in public (like on this exact same comment, which has the exact same publicity level as the rest of my blog) you can feel free to do it. Just as long as you stay relevant, and base what you say on your actual impressions or actual things I wrote.

    please shit on me , please murder my personality in front of the whole world, you have the right to shit on me.

    Again, please quote to me something I wrote in these posts about a singer that you think would fall under the ‘shitting on a singer’ category, and explain to me why.

    Nobody likes to be judged by people one does not know.

    In contrast with being judged by people one does know?

    One wonders actually what is the problem of somebody who needs to express his views on everything?

    Better than someone who has views on things but just keeps them inside. My main dissatisfaction with this blog so far is that I write far to little on it. If I have an opinion, I can write it. If I have an experience, I can write about it.

    And so can you. In fact, you just entered a post written by someone else, about other people and events, and decided you had a view and you want to express it. And that’s fine.

  8. Zvi Wirschubsky says:

    Your private subjective amateurish review of singers who should “NOT BE OFFENDED” (according to your humble person)

    Moran Abouloff: She improved drastically from last year. Good voice, and lovely high notes. She sang a little too softly at times, and her acting wasn’t entirely fitting, but overall she was very good. I heard her once last year, and really didn’t like her, so I’m happy to see the improvement.

    Angel Ruz: He was alright, but his voice sounded a bit bland to me, and he sounded like he kept himself to a rather limited vocal range. I wasn’t very impressed with his singing last year, and he seemed pretty much the same now.

    Anyz Volvovsky: But she didn’t really do the acting part. Her stature and movement were not appropriate.

    Jessica Bowers: her acting, however, was lacking

    Deridre Fulton: My own main problem with her was that she appeared too frozen, and didn’t really express emotions.

    Pierre Etienne Bergeron; He had a good voice, but sounded a little held back, like he’s not going as far as he can or should on some parts.

    Adam Marguelies: He was nice, but his voice seemed a little weak and restrained

    Anya Fidelia:Some of her gestures and postures were also not exactly appropriate, looking different than what she wanted them to

    These are some reviews of people/artists/singers performing by a guy who has a blog. He is NOT a critic, he is not a musical reviewer, he is not a voice teacher, he is not an opera specialist, he “just want to express his most personal subjective views” on the singers on a blog.

    Please, give me a break: who are you fooling?

  9. Zvi Wirschubsky says:

    Sorry I did not “explain to you why I think your reviews are shitting on the singers”

    You are (again) an amateur blogger who has an opinion (negative and positive) about singers, how they sing, how the act, what they know, what they do not know, how they look or not look etc etc I find all your remarks above shitting on singers . I find all the above excerpts to be negative reviews of singers although you are really a dilettant not knowing enough to judge singers, it seems to me. Why on earth you feel the need to express these negative condenscending remarks elapse my understanding. All your comments more show what a person you are and not how the singers acted or sang. To bad you use the singers names and do not leave them alone from your self-righteous reviews from above

  10. Post author comments:

    You are (again) an amateur blogger who has an opinion (negative and positive) about singers, how they sing, how the act, what they know, what they do not know, how they look or not look etc etc

    So far absolutely true.

    I find all your remarks above shitting on singers .

    And this is where we have a problem.

    I think that it may be two things. One is a matter of context, and the other may be a matter of terminology and language.

    Let’s start with the context. All these reviews are when detailing singers in a master-class. Now, you don’t think that master-classes are something that should be reviewed. I think public master-classes can be reviewed. We probably won’t agree on that particular point, but that’s the case. So the question isn’t “what is shitting on people” but rather “what is shitting on singers during a master-class”.

    During a master-class singers don’t do anything perfectly. Oh, sometimes they do. And then the teacher tells them it was wonderful, and they get off stage to be replaced by the next singer. Or sometimes they do, and the teacher just tells them to pick another aria, one they’re less prepared to do.

    But the point is, there are faults when singing an aria in a master-class. By design. The singers pick an aria they believe they don’t perform perfectly yet, in order to learn something. Or they get assigned to a teacher that can work with them on more general issues.

    And some of the singers, even the best of them, have some general issues to work on. They’re students. Some good, some excellent, some so good they even have actual performance tours and rightfully so. But they’re students. So it’s natural they won’t be perfect.

    And the teachers work with them during the master-class on the things they didn’t do perfectly, raise points the singers need to practice on, and make general suggestions on how the singer can improve to get even better. That’s what they do. Otherwise it would be a concert and not a master-class.

    So when I write about how the singer performed, in a master-class. That’s a part of the point. There are flaws. There are expected to be flaws. And the teacher spent 10-25 minutes working with the singer on some of the flaws.

    It is impossible to talk about what the teacher said, and how the master-class went, without pointing the flaws. Otherwise, what were they doing there if everything is perfect? Was the teacher an idiot who just pestered the singer? Of course not.

    And most of the bad things I write here are the same ones the teacher worked on. That’s the way to put it in the narrative, because it has to be there. I may not be a gifted writer, and may not put it as elegantly as can be, but that’s the case as it is.

    The other bad things, the ones the teacher didn’t work on, are my own personal opinion. And yes, these are by definition subjective. But as a listener I know what I personally like and don’t like, and compares some singers to others. It’s perfectly natural. And perfectly legitimate. And if I write on how a singer performed, I can add my own personal opinion. Sometimes it’s very good, sometimes not. I’m entitled to a personal opinion, and I’m entitled to share it, as long as I don’t claim it’s anything beyond what it is. And I don’t.

    Writing the examples you quoted on, say, Maria Callas in an opera at the peak of her career, may be shitting on her. On a student singer in a master-class? It’s not.

    Context counts.

    The second thing is the language and semantic issue. There is a huge difference between saying something negative (or partially negative and partially positive, as is the case in most of the examples you quoted) and between shitting.

    For example “The steak I had at the restaurant was over-made. I asked for a rare steak, and received the steak well-done and dry” is a negative, even very negative, opinion. But not quite shitting. On the other hand “The incompetent cook burned my steak even though I specifically asked it to be rare. Why couldn’t that nincompoop understand that rare means with blood. What blood? I didn’t have a drop of blood in my stake. It was so dry it may have been a fried piece of twenty years old beef-jerky. That chef should not be allowed within twenty meters of a kitchen” is shitting.

    I assume you could spot the difference.

    The negative parts of all of these examples are not shitting. Heck, on Moran Abouloff that was actually an entirely good review.

    And the acting part is a big problem with many of the student singers. It’s obvious. And the teachers tell them that. There’s an idea that all that matters when singing an aria is the singing, and that is simply not true. Almost all the teachers work with some of the singers on their posture, posing, moving, and acting. Some work exclusively on it. It makes a huge difference. If a singer gets on stage, and stands there without moving while singing the aria, I can say it. Especially if the aria doesn’t require standing there without moving, because some do and in those cases that’s fine.

    It’s not shitting on a singer, it’s just commenting on something he didn’t do exactly right. Which is, frankly, why the singer was in a master-class.

    If you’d follow some of the quotes you put here, in context, you’d see that the teachers went on to work with the singers on exactly the points I raised. So how can noting the fact be shitting on the singer? This is not what “shitting” means. If you think anything not glowingly positive on a singer is shitting on that singer, then I’m guilty as charged, but that’s not any definition of “shitting” anywhere.

    Why on earth you feel the need to express these negative condenscending remarks elapse my understanding.

    Mainly, for the reasons I already specified, the comments are also not condescending. The singers that arrive at these master-classes are good. They’re advanced students, some with actual singing careers. I’m absolutely sure I can’t sing myself even remotely well as the worst of them on a bad day.

    As for why I need to write the comments and reviews anyway, I think I already tried to explain that. I’m not sure if my reasons are ones you don’t agree with, or if I’m just not good enough at explaining them, but here we seem to be at an impass. I guess you’ll have to be satisfied by the fact that there are people who think they have a right to have opinions, and who also believe they have the right to both express those opinions publicly, and express their memories of events they witnessed publicly.

    To bad you use the singers names and do not leave them alone from your self-righteous reviews from above

    Of course I use their names. What’s the point of an account of what happened in a master-class if I don’t say who was in the master-class? Not to mention, not specifying names won’t help me at all to recall my impressions of the singers if I encounter them again.

  11. Post author comments:

    Oh, and just to pick an example on another aspect of the context issue, the Angel Ruz quote above seems to me to be the worse of the lot as it stands here in your quotes. So let me just add to what you quoted the exact next sentence in the paragraph, in my review, that you omitted:

    On the other hand a large percentage of the crowd did seem to really like him (as did Joan Dornemann in a later master-class this year), so I guess it’s a matter of taste.

    So I said the guy was alright, but expressed how overall I wasn’t personally impressed with his singing. And then I went on directly to specify that most of the crowd really liked him. That that Joan Dornemann, who is definitely an authority figure on how singers perform, really liked him.

    How is that shitting on a singer? This is clearly much more about my own tastes, and that given that tastes vary he wasn’t a match for what I like. But obviously he is objectively good. I wrote that, that sentence say that very clearly. How is that shitting on him?

    Ahem… Please, give me a break: who are you fooling?

  12. Zvi Wirschubsky says:

    Mr world reviewer & critique of operasingers. Of course you are entitled to have your own personal opinion (Voltaire would have died fro your right). And of course you can in a blog write almost whatever you want. But that does not mean that we should use this right and possibility destroy other peoples careers.
    The operasingers in a masterclass in Yafo are like students everywhere. So why do you not get into schools and write reviews of the kids performance when questioned by teachers ? or why not go to the university, to all presentations of students, even doctoral thesis, and write review on these. Maybe you do not feel very skilled in science or other academic subject to write a review so go ahead and copy the teachers opinions. Mix then in your own personal blog your own subjective feelings and copy what the teachers said – do not even use citation marks so that all readers think that you are actually writing clever sentences.

    I think we have to do with a person (you) who does not want to recognize that he is not helping opera singers with his reviews. He is probably also not killing but it feels like a bad taste in the mouth when searching for a singers name on google and come to a blog where a Mr ordinary nothing is performing as the world master opera reviewer& critique. What is the meaning of somebody who is ordinary nothing to act as a press officer /reviewer/critique of masterclasses ? To satisfy his own ambitions and nobody else.

    But I suppose that in Israel the tradition of commenting others, their behaviour, lives, performances, etc is organic and so natural that people think they have a duty and right to comment and give critique about their neighbours soup to his/her most intimate life. I do not know where this absolutely sick behaviour of digging into other peoples lives come from but I think it has traditional reasons where Jews lived together and thought they had the right to say anything to anybody, always with a righteous attitude.

    So you can go in a street in Tel-Aviv today and a complete stranger comes and reprimands you for a ugly T-shirt or whatever. This is some sort of strange behaviour that is almost inherently natural in israel. But is it right ? Am I my brothers keeper? Why does my neighbours/my friends/my fellow jews/ lives matter to me? why can i not leave them alone to live the life they chooses and want ? No because I have the right to have a personal opinion on everything and by God Mr ordinary nothing is using that right. Mazel-Tov, Chag sameach , welcome to the world of all-knowing self-loving eizesgibbers – you are not alone…..

  13. Post author comments:

    Digging into people’s lives? Making opinion about strangers down the street? Getting into regular schools? Funny, I thought I mentioned that these master-classes are public events, performed in front of an audience, being published and mentioned in the media, and where they actually sell tickets to. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. I can’t see how it wasn’t clear, given that I stated that a few times, though.
    Do you have some personal issues, agenda, or history, related to this, that make you ignore the basic facts here in order to vehemently fight for a cause that is not entirely relevant?

    And I’m still flattened, yet concerned, you think it’s possible for me to destroy anyone’s career by writing in my blog about what happened in a master-class. I couldn’t destroy a singers career on this blog even if I wanted to, and actually tried. Certainly not when I don’t try, and just report the occurrences in a public event and my own impressions of a singer under non-ideal conditions. I’m not nearly as powerful as you think.

    It’s also not clear to me how you can both object to me expression my opinion because it’s not professional, and at the same time object to me telling about the professional things the teachers did on stage.

    What exactly is “eizesgibbers” ? I don’t recognize the word, and it gets 0 hits on several search engines, and on multi-lingual dictionaries…

  14. Zvi Wirschubsky says:

    The master-clasess in the opera workshop in Yafo are practice and training opportunities for singers to perform in front of an audience. The emphasis is NOT that the master-classes are public with tickets and reviewed in the media. The masterclasses are therefore performed in a stage which has seen better days and no one has bothered to paint the floor, to put some decor or to make it look like an ordinary scence. Sometimes the singers know that they will sing in a master-class days in advance and sometimes five minutes before. The teachers are not preparing specially for master-classes because it is considered a training and practice event and not a performance. And indeed what the audience is seeing is the “kitchen” of the singing. The “kitchen” not the stage. Apparently people wanted to pay money also to see this “kitchen” and so one started to sell tickets to a paying audience. But for the students it is absolutely clear that this is a master-class for their training and practice, not a regular concert or performance. The only difference between the private lessons in the workshop and the master-class is the stage and the audience otherwise it is the same.

    Now Mr Ordinary Nothing comes and pays a ticket and feels he is entitled to cite the teachers and express his own personal opinions about the singers. Did Mr Ordinary Nothing ask permission of the leadership for the workshop or even the individual singers if they mind that they will be exposed to the cyberworld in a blog ? No, Mr Ordinary Nothing does not feel he has to ask anybody, he feels entitled to write his own reviews.

    I am really scared for the day when/if Mr Ordinary Nothing would have some power with his blog. Lets say that I wanted to hire a singer for a role and I look for the singer on the net, I found the singers mentioned in the blog “ordinary nothing” where it says that the singer sang “a little too softly at times, her acting wasn’t entirely fitting, really didn’t like her last year, voice sounded a bit bland to me, sounded like he kept himself to a rather limited vocal range, wasn’t very impressed with his singing last year, and he seemed pretty much the same now, didn’t really do the acting part, stature and movement were not appropriate, acting was lacking, apppeared too frozen, and didn’t really express emotions, sounded a little held back, his voice seemed a little weak and restrained”

    Would I get a positive impression of the singer reviewed by Mr Ordinary Nothing in a blog where he “just report the occurrences in a public event and his own impressions of a singer under non-ideal conditions”

    No I would NOT. I would definitively NOT get a positive impression of the singer. Of course I could also totally disregard Mr Ordinary Nothings impressions but still his impressions would not contribute to me having a positive impression however Mr Ordinary Nothing wrote that his views are just “ordinary nothing”.

    Was Mr Ordinary Nothing hired by the opera workshop to document the master-classes for the internet ? No, the blog/review/critique is his very personal views and opinions. If he would ask the leadership and/or the singers he might have gotten a negative answer. But neither the opera leadership or the individual singers have anything to say in Mr Ordinary Nothings world. They are on a public scene and they should therefore be ready for public exposure and critique from anybody who feels for it. The singers should not be so very “sensitive”, says Mr Ordinary Nothing. If the singers want to sing in a master-class they should be ready to be crushed by bloggers. These are the rules of the game according to Mr Ordinary Nothing. One might add that if the singers would not like to be reviewed by a blogger they should not sing in master-classes.

    The teacher in the workshop has one clear task; to make the singers better. They can shout at the singers, they can tell them negative things, they can even hit the students, but all this is done to make the singer a better singer. A review by Mr Ordinary Nothing has not this goal. The review is not in order to contribute to a better singer but an expression of the bloggers own personal need to write reviews, nothing else. To bad this blogger needs to write negative things about singers who would like to have a career and really do not need the bloggers review.

    Eizes in yiddish is advice “eitzot” in hebrew. “gibber” is in yiddish “giver” ie the one who gives advice. Mr Ordinary Nothing/blogg is such a person who feels the need to write down his comments on the whole world without any concern for whom he attacks or comments. A self-righteous Nothing who does not care if one or several singers object. Like a politician or official who really does not care of the public that voted him in power, Mr Ordinary Nothing, feels he has a universal task that is more important than what the individuals, whom he is reviewing, think.

    I am very afraid of such self-proclaimed authorities because I know that the majority of them only have ego-interests and do not care about anybody else.

  15. Post author comments:

    But for the students it is absolutely clear that this is a master-class for their training and practice, not a regular concert or performance. The only difference between the private lessons in the workshop and the master-class is the stage and the audience otherwise it is the same.

    We have no argument on that regard. These are master-classes, not a performance.
    But, given that it is open to an audience, this doesn’t mean that nobody is allowed to have an opinion, or to report publicly what happened on the master-class. It just means that any such report has to make it very clear that this was indeed a master-class rather than a regular performance. And this is something I’ve done.

    Did Mr Ordinary Nothing ask permission of the leadership for the workshop or even the individual singers if they mind that they will be exposed to the cyberworld in a blog ? No, Mr Ordinary Nothing does not feel he has to ask anybody, he feels entitled to write his own reviews.

    Again, you are absolutely correct. I didn’t ask permission, and I certainly feel that no permission is necessary. If someone takes my money for a ticket to see something, then the only case in which I’m not allowed to tell anyone what I saw and heard, or what I thought on what I saw and heard, is if I’m explicitly asked not to.

    Nobody there told us that the master-class we’re seeing is private and secret.
    As a matter of fact, nobody actually associated with these master-classes, and who read these post, came here and placed a comment stating that they think public review is wrong or out of place.
    The only one who did that is you, Zvi.

    So sure, you’re entitled to an opinion. Even one saying that any public opinion on a master-class should be forbidden. But I don’t know of any reason why your personal opinion is more important than all the rest, and should be sufficient grounds for extreme self-censorship on my account.

    If he would ask the leadership and/or the singers he might have gotten a negative answer. But neither the opera leadership or the individual singers have anything to say in Mr Ordinary Nothings world.

    So far a few of them did write a few comments here, and none of these included phrases like “Nobody should say anything publicly about a master-class, please stop”.
    So it’s probably more that none of them has anything to say in Mr. Zvi Wirschubsky’s world, if they happen to think differently than the way Mr. Zvi Wirschubsky thinks they should.

    I am really scared for the day when/if Mr Ordinary Nothing would have some power with his blog.

    You can rest at ease, there is a long long time, if ever, until that happens.

    Lets say that I wanted to hire a singer for a role and I look for the singer on the net, I found the singers mentioned in the blog “ordinary nothing”

    As I think I already mentioned, I sincerely and truly believe, and hope, that people responsible for casting decisions can find better ways to gauge the abilities of singers than a single review by an unknown reviewer who explicitly states he is not a professional music reviewer. More importantly, I also sincerely and truly believe that anyone making casting decisions is aware of what master-classes are, and how to put in perspective anything that happens there.
    Barring that, if because of little me a singer doesn’t get a role for a casting directory who doesn’t know what a master class is, and who takes any single sentence on an unknown blog seriously, and out of context, well, good for that singer, and I’m happy to have spared them this nightmare job. OK?

    here it says that the singer sang

    Oh, come now. Nice of you to collect a long list of negative, and just not-positive, things I say here, and present them as a single block. But that’s hogwash. It’s not something I actually wrote on a singer, and is ripped extremely out of context. If that the bad case you’re worried about, I’m very happy that there isn’t anything remotely resembling an actual problem.

    They are on a public scene and they should therefore be ready for public exposure and critique from anybody who feels for it.

    Well, yes.

    One might add that if the singers would not like to be reviewed by a blogger they should not sing in master-classes.

    One might certainly add that if someone doesn’t want any public review (Which, by the way, no singer said so far. Only you did) then they shouldn’t perform any public action. Yes.

    Eizes in yiddish is advice “eitzot” in hebrew. “gibber” is in yiddish “giver” ie the one who gives advice.

    Thank you.

    A self-righteous Nothing who does not care if one or several singers object. Like a politician or official who really does not care of the public that voted him in power, Mr Ordinary Nothing, feels he has a universal task that is more important than what the individuals, whom he is reviewing, think.

    So far it’s you who is very indignant, on behalf of the many singers and teachers who have not requested for your help, or shown similar indignation for the cause.
    I don’t think it’s me who is acting like a second-rate politician who claims to represent people regardless of their own views on the matter.

  16. Zvi Wirschubsky says:

    So we agree that we talk about master-classes, not performances, that are open to an audience. Since it is open for anyone who wants to buy a ticket, there can be impressario/agents, critics and journalists present. It is then, as you write, very important to make clear that one reviews a master-class, a training and practice sesssion and not a performance. Maybe you try to do it clear in your writings but I was more taken by your personal views and your citations of the teachers which really aims at the singers themselves (postive and negative remarks)

    Interesting that you feel that you have a total right to write whatever you want unless “you are explicitly asked not to”. So if a singer that you have reviewed writes to you and asks you to take off his/her name from one of the reviews, you would do so ????

    You are surprised that I am the only one that reacts of your reviews, and nobody else. But you are also only one person in the world that have written public reviews of the masterclasses in a blog- does that fact that there are only one person and one blog doing that and not hundred mean that your opinions and blog are not important???????

    Sure, my opinion may be not important. But what if some singers expressed their opinions as above, disliking your review of them, would you then just erase your writings or would you start a similar long discussion with them on your “rights” to write whatever you want of them in a public blog?

    I do not know why nobody has written you to erase their names from your reviews but the important things is your reaction. Since we have no reactions from singers to my views or your views we really cannot deduce support for your views or my views. We simply do not know their opinions.

    I think media has a certain responsability not to write shit on people. In war-times the media is actually forbidden to write about certain sensitive things. So we have sitautions where the medias freedom is limited. Also people can take media to the courts if they feel themselves unjustly attacked by the media. Comes technology and the blogs. Who regulates the blogs and under what rules do they follow? I think you still can not write whatever you want in a blog attacking people. I do not know if a blogger can write racist remarks without consequences? I think his/her blog can be shut down.

    So there are certain rules to a blog, maybe like a media.

    You have some remarks that show for me that your main concern is NOT over the singers in your review. Actually I find some very insensitive judgments over the singers talents and abilities from you. You joke around that some singers are “oversensitive” and that they should be grateful to you and your blog if they happen to get a role from a casting directors that has read your blog and offered them a role. This casting directors is not worth anything, you write and the singer must be so bad to get a role from your reviews.

    Of course our experience of any casting directors is that he/she him/herself listen to singer X and do not rely on your personal amateur opinion in a blog. But does that liberate you from any responsability ?

    I think we all have a certain responsability over what we say and how we act. If I go to a concert and gets mad over an artist and would like to express my rage I can get hit by guards who are protecting the artists or by other spectators who does not like my aggressivity. But, you write” “we are perefectly free to write whatever we want on whoever we want”. Yes, but there can be disastrous consequences for us if we do that. Even if I feel the urge to comment another persons clothes or behaviour on the street I can get into big trouble. There are no rules here and we can never know how sensitive people are.

    This means that we should be careful not to attack people or express opinions abut them. Not because we “do not have thew right to have a critique on whoever we wants” but because we are dealing with a rather crazy world with very sensitive people. Also I would not write an opinion on geology or theoretical physics because I do not feel that I have the expertise to review such research. So I would not start a blog on theoretical physics, going to lectures and write down my personal opinions and the spectators opinions. Simply because I really does not understand the world of theoretical physics and I could do many mistakes and thus wrongs. The same with opera which is even more difficult because to all deep understanding and experience that we must have to judge musicians we have our very subjective & personal judgments of musicians.

    But this does not hinder Mr Ordinary Nothing to write down his personal subjective remarks of opera singers. Talk about hybris/hubris or excessive pride or self-confidence; arrogance.

    Talk about arrogance when you are advicing singers not to sing in the master-classes if they do not want to be reviewed in a blog!!!!!

    And again. It is an easy thing to email all concernced singers and cite the exact reviews you have for singer X, Y.Z and ask if they mind that this review is on your blog. Then if you get 80% of the singers who does not want to be seen on your blog maybe you will erase them ? If 90% accept your review you can keep these reviews on your blog. Is that not a fair and just procedure? or do you really NOT CARE about the people you are reviewing????

    Yes, I am indignant on behalf of singers that got remarks and reviews from you in your blog.In order to correct my indignation lets embark on the above suggestions: Search out the singers emails. Cite your reviews about them and ask if they care to be left on your blog or not. Then we have facts. I will be much less indignant if singer really do not care. But if some singers care or if the majority cares than my indigantion is real. The real question is your reaction to the singers wishes?????

  17. Zvi Wirschubsky says:

    Suggestion for an e-mail to investigate whether the singers of reviews in the blog Ordinary Nothing likes to be on the blog or not.
    Dear Singer X, Y or Z

    My name is ?, I live in Israel and I write a blog. I have attended the Israeli opera workshop last year and I wrote a review of your performance at a masterclass. I wrote the following “……………………………………………………………………..”

    I would be grateful if you would be so kind and email me whether you would like to remain on my blog with the above review of your performance at the masterclass or not ?

    Thank you

    On behalf of the blog “ordinary nothing”.

    Any comments to such an e-mail?

  18. Post author comments:

    It is then, as you write, very important to make clear that one reviews a master-class, a training and practice sesssion and not a performance. Maybe you try to do it clear in your writings

    I do try to make that clear. I think that I do succeed in making that clear. You yourself understood it, since from the start you were aware I am talking about master-classes.

    but I was more taken by your personal views and your citations of the teachers which really aims at the singers themselves (postive and negative remarks)

    I don’t understand this comment. The only things possible to write about, on any events, are either the writer’s view of what happened, or attempts to describe what happens. I do not see, then, how you can be taken by it, or expect anything else.

    So if a singer that you have reviewed writes to you and asks you to take off his/her name from one of the reviews, you would do so ????
    But what if some singers expressed their opinions as above, disliking your review of them, would you then just erase your writings or would you start a similar long discussion with them on your “rights” to write whatever you want of them in a public blog?

    I very probably will. I will leave a note that the singer appeared on that master class, but asked for me not to say anything about the performance.

    I will also ask the singer why, and to explain what he, or she, found problematical about what I wrote. Maybe to find a way to be able to write what happened in the master class that will not bother that singer.

    If the singer will have a problem with the concept, or will think that their singing in a master-class should not be open to review, I will remove my review of them, and will consider what they say in the general level as well.
    If they just don’t like a bad personal opinion I had on them, but wouldn’t otherwise object to a positive opinion, then I probably won’t remove it since it doesn’t differ from anyone else not liking a non-positive review.

    You are surprised that I am the only one that reacts of your reviews, and nobody else. But you are also only one person in the world that have written public reviews of the masterclasses in a blog

    This statement is absurd, on two counts.

    First, yes, the number of personal reports on master-classes is small. This is because there aren’t that many master-classes which are open to the public, and there aren’t that many people who blog. So naturally the cross section of both is going to be rather limited.

    And second, there actually are other people who report master-classes they saw. Try running some searches, you will find a few hits.

    does that fact that there are only one person and one blog doing that and not hundred mean that your opinions and blog are not important???????

    The fact that there aren’t a very lot of people writing about master-classes does not mean anything about the importance of my blog, or my opinions, one way or the other. It can be argued it is more important, because it provides a unique and hard to find view. It can also be argued it’s not important or more people would do it. And there are other points on either way.
    But I write a few of these, and that’s all there is to it. What other people do, or don’t do, really doesn’t affect the importance of what I do, and I don’t think it should.

    I do not know why nobody has written you to erase their names from your reviews but the important things is your reaction. Since we have no reactions from singers to my views or your views we really cannot deduce support for your views or my views. We simply do not know their opinions.

    First of all, if I really don’t know their opinions, then the default shouldn’t be to assume they’ll object and to censure myself. If you don’t know there’s a problem, and don’t think there’s a problem, it’s fair to assume there isn’t one.

    Second, you have a mistake there. There have been some comments on these blog posts, by at least one singer, and two members of the staff of the mater-class opera program.
    They all expressed a positive opinion on knowing someone cares enough about the program to come regularly and to share his opinion.
    The singer had a problem, a legitimate one, by not being sure that I was clear enough on the difference between master-classes and regular performance. I reacted to this by making the difference more explicit. And this singer saw the changes I made, and did not react by saying that he thinks I should stop and remove the reviews.

    So my current belief is that I actually do know what the singer and teachers think, and that in general they approve, or at least do not object.

    The only objections came from you. But, as I said, you were not the only one expressing an opinion.

    I think media has a certain responsability not to write shit on people.

    I explained why even the parts where my opinions are bad still do not consist of writing ‘shit’ on anyone. So whatever you may think about writing shit in general, I do not see as applying.

    Comes technology and the blogs. Who regulates the blogs and under what rules do they follow? I think you still can not write whatever you want in a blog attacking people.

    Blogs come under the same laws as any other form of making public statements. Bloggers can be sued for defamation. The law treats anything someone write on a blog very similarly to what the same person may say on a public speech, or publish in an opinion column in a paper. The same laws and regulations apply.

    Which is still irrelevant, since there is nothing on these posts which would be defamation, or illegal, in any way. Not in Israel where I live, and not in the US where this blog is currently hosted.

    You joke around that some singers are “oversensitive”

    No. What I was saying that I don’t write anything that should offend a singer knowing the context, and so that I believe if a singer would actually become offended by what I write then they’d have to either be over-sensitive, or read these things out of context.
    So far none of them, to my knowledge, have proven to be so.

    and that they should be grateful to you and your blog if they happen to get a role from a casting directors that has read your blog and offered them a role.

    Ah, that was the exact opposite of what I said. You’re talking about my previous comment, yes?
    I can see how you could misunderstand it, the sentence was very complex and not clear.
    What I was writing there (or at least what I wanted to write) was that I don’t believe a decent casting director could be negatively swayed by what I write. That in order to get a negative opinion of a singer, just because of my blog posts about a master-class, that hypothetical casting director you imagine (and which I think doesn’t exist) will have to be a very bad and uneducated one (not knowing what is a master-class, and taking any random blogger too seriously). So that in this particular case, if as you fear the casting director will decide not to hire the singer because of my blog, then it’s a good thing for the singer.

    That was, by the way, not a jab at casting director, but at you for proposing that any real casting director would behave in this silly way. But if one actually does, any singer would be better off not working with them.

    There are no rules here and we can never know how sensitive people are.

    No, but we need to limit ourselves to worrying over the standard and “normal” levels. We don’t know how people are, so we base our behaviour based on the sensitivity we expect from a normal person. Normal persons, singers certainly included, can take an amount of criticism, as long as it’s fair and in context. And I do try to be fair and in context. I don’t heap insults, I don’t describe any master-class events that didn’t happen, and I don’t exaggerate in my description of my personal opinions.

    This means that we should be careful not to attack people or express opinions abut them.

    Not to attack people, yes.
    Not to express opinions about people, no. Certainly not about people during public appearances.

    Am I the only person in your life you have ever expressed an opinion about? The only one you ever expressed a not entirely positive opinion about? Should I be honoured?

    but because we are dealing with a rather crazy world with very sensitive people.

    Now who is claiming that singers are all crazy and oversensitive?

    So I would not start a blog on theoretical physics, going to lectures and write down my personal opinions and the spectators opinions.

    What you do with your time is your own problem.

    Say you were interested in theoretical physics. You read the popular-science books on the subjects. And you regularly go to these lectures because the subject interest you.
    Do you, seriously, think it would be wrong of you to detail what you heard in a new lecture, what is your impression of a new theory, or even to describe what the more professional lecturer even said? I find that hard to believe.
    Actually, I know for sure you wouldn’t. Because you’re expressing an opinion here, but you are not a professional in criticising people’s subject matter for blog posting. And yet read something here you have an opinion about, and you feel free (and rightly so) to express it.

    Talk about arrogance when you are advicing singers not to sing in the master-classes if they do not want to be reviewed in a blog!!!!!

    Doesn’t matter if it’s a blog, or anything else.
    I also don’t think there are many singers out there, if at all, who would object to anyone reviewing them. This is show business. These people are performers. They go on stage to perform in front of an audience for a living.

    They would, all, naturally prefer good reviews over bad reviews. But if you go in front of an audience, you always do it knowing full well that people can form opinions about you, and share these opinions with others.

    Nobody goes performing to an audience expecting to remain entirely anonymous and not to be mentioned ever. It doesn’t happen. So yes, if someone doesn’t one anyone saying anything about them in public, then picking a performance career is a wrong choice.

    But again, there aren’t such singers. Because they all did choose to perform. On stages. In front of audiences. This is not as if I catch some silent accountant singing to themselves in the shower, and then review their singing.

    It is an easy thing to email all concernced singers and cite the exact reviews you have for singer X, Y.Z and ask if they mind that this review is on your blog.

    The exact review? No, the exact review is not relevant for that decision. Either they believe that people are allowed to have a public opinion about them, or they believe people don’t. What that opinion is, is beside the matter. Everyone prefers positive reviews to negative reviews. Everyone prefers positive reviews with no exceptions, to positive reviews with exceptions.
    It is extremely rare to have a positive review without any exceptions in a master-class, by the very nature of the master-class.

    Plus, it is not at all an easy thing to get email addresses of all singers. There isn’t a public address book. And frankly, this level of diligence isn’t required by a full scale media coverage, so it certainly isn’t required by someone stating events as they actually occurred and expressing some personal opinion.

    Is that not a fair and just procedure?

    No, it is an insane and pointless procedure.
    Why, before your first comment here, didn’t you send me an email with the content of your comment, asking me if I mind you putting it?

    Then we have facts. I will be much less indignant if singer really do not care.

    Some read it, and didn’t take it badly. As I wrote above.

    Since I believe there’s nothing here that justifies getting angry about, I see no reason to go make sure. I do not shit on them, and I do not even write what would normally be a regular bad review. Hunting down all the singers would be a colossal waste of my, and their, time.

    If you truly think you live in a world where every person has to be asked for permission before someone is allowed to have an opinion of them, or to report something they did in public, then I pity you.
    Please open a newspaper once, and try to read some articles, opinion columns, or letters to the editor. I assure you that most people, and institutions, mentioned were never contacted to be asked if they mind the text being published. They may have been contacted for responses, or for fact checking, but not to ask if they mind someone saying something about them.

    The real question is your reaction to the singers wishes?????

    I have a lot of respect for the singers’ wishes.
    I don’t have respect for your misguided opinion on what the singers’ wishes should be.

  19. Post author comments:

    Any comments to such an e-mail?

    In addition to my general response to the e-mail idea above?

    Yes.

    These are, as I explicitly wrote here but you didn’t bother reading, not reviews of the singer. So I will not write something like “and I wrote a review of your performance at a master-class” .
    At most, it would be more like “I wrote a general review of what happened at the master-class, some of the interesting points the teachers made, and my general personal impressions of how the singers, including yourself, sang their master-class arias.”

    That describes what I do a lot better.

    It also means I can’t ask them if they want me to keep my review of them, but maybe only if they object to me mentioning that they appeared in the master-class.

    And you know what these email will be? Pestering and annoying singers who have better things to do. You baselessly accuse me of arrogance. But how would you call personally bothering singers, or the masters/teachers, to have them approve a few sentences I write on my tiny personal blog which happen to mention them? That would be arrogance, and thinking about my alleged fame and glory.

    Most of them would rightfully not give a darn about me and what I do. Should I really shove myself up their throat to make sure they know I write something about them?

    Imagine if every time someone mention a public figure they’d write them personally to ask for opinion? Imagine I’d do that on all movies I see, by mailing all the actors? Or books I read, by mailing each author? When I report some news event, by mailing the relevant politicians? Bill gates, when I write about Windows? Or would that be to email personally all the programmers who wrote the component of Windows I mention?

    Do yourself a favour and get real.

  20. Zvi Wirschubsky says:

    I see a problem with your view that you will decide if a singers complain of your personal review is valid/legitimate or not. You differ between “the concept of not beeing reviewed in a masterclass” and only bad personal review that “singers have to take” according to you.

    Lets take an example Laura Mohre, a Mezzo-Soprano from the US. You write “She had a very good voice, and beautiful high notes. But she was a bit too quiet, didn’t project her voice well enough. It seems during her singing that she couldn’t take in enough air, and kept taking half-breathes instead of breathing fully.”

    Now is that only a bad personal review or what? The text is your very personal opinions but still it could be a totally wrong review. What if you are totally wrong in your personal opinions and the problem was not the half-breathes but something else?

    Or Carlos Conde, a Baritone from Puerto Rico.”Mignon, and most of the audience, liked his singing. To me personally he sounded a bit flat, with little distinction between the low and high notes. A matter of taste, I guess. And the aria is supposed to be partially a recitative, so maybe it was even partially justified. He also, apparently, lost 80 pounds during the past year. That’s some diet”

    Now these are explicit subjective personal opinions of the singer. “To me personally he sounded a but flat”. But who are you to write your subjective personal review of this singer and review him with your own very amateurish personal review and opinion?

    The problem with your reviews is, as I see it, your self-proclaimed role of a critique, a reviewer who has all the rights to write bad subjetive private personal reviews of singers. Who gave you this enlighted position of a musical or opera critique/reviewer? you yourself.

    You also write that you and nobody else, Mr self-proclaimed Ordinary Nothing DECIDES that “singers should be ready to get bad reviews” otherwise what???

    Yes, if a musician/singer performs in a performance he/she is ready to get whatever reviews they get. But in the masterclass? A masterclass that is part of a workshop that the singer payed in order to train and improve? You could as well go into the private lessons and write your reviews about the singers. You would get wonderful quotes from the teachers and you could probably fill a book with this since every student goes to every student many times.

    It seems to me that you have hard times to understand what I am writing about. I think your personal subjective reviews of the singers should NOT have been written at all since they are totally misrepresenting the singers who participated in the masterclasses as a learning experience and not something that should be publicly reviewed. You write that I am misguided on behalf of the singers so the only way correct my misguiding is to send an e-mail to the singers and ask them. I do not see the difficulty in getting the singers email and to write one e-mail to everyone with your very personal subjective reviews. But I totally understand your unwillingness to get some reactions from the singers you so readily reviews….. They should be ready to get bad reviews but not Mr Ordinary Nothing…….

  21. Post author comments:

    Now is that only a bad personal review or what?

    That is actually a good personal opinion, with a small not-so-good (or bad, depending how strongly you want to take it) exception.

    The text is your very personal opinions but still it could be a totally wrong review.

    Anything I write can be wrong. Always. I am sure you will notice that nowhere on this blog do I write that anything and everything I write is objectively accurate and beyond any reproach or personal understanding.

    I, or anyone else for that matter, get impression from what I see, hear, taste, whatever. This is all that I can write about. My cellphone seems to be of a silver colour to me, but I may be wrong, have some colour blindness problem that the Ishihara test fails to find and it could be red.
    That possibility should not prevent me from describing my cellphone. It is safe to assure that people will know that any personal opinion is based on… well… personal experiences.

    What if you are totally wrong in your personal opinions and the problem was not the half-breathes but something else?

    Could be. There was that “it seems” there.
    It’s possible she wasn’t even on stage, and I was hallucinating the whole thing.
    Anything and everything is filtered through personal impressions and perceptions. So when I describe my own impressions, they are always me own impressions.

    Are you saying that people should never express any personal opinion on anything, if they can’t have it notarized as the objective truth?
    Impressions are subjective. So I write about my subjective impressions. Where what I say is my impression, what I think happened instead of an absolute fact (e.g. “she was taller than him” can be factual if we don’t assume intentional optical illusions. But how someone sounds is subjective), I will add words like “seems” to indicate so. This is clear enough.

    Now these are explicit subjective personal opinions of the singer.

    Yes.

    But who are you to write your subjective personal review of this singer and review him with your own very amateurish personal review and opinion?

    Is that a trick question?
    Had I been a professional in the field, that would have allowed me to claim the review is objective. I don’t. It’s subjective. This is what I, or anyone else, is entitled to from the get-go, with no conditions.

    Don’t you have foods you prefer over other foods? What gives you the arrogance to decide one food is salty and one is sweet, when you’re not an expert?
    These are subjective opinions. This is what subjective means. Are you claiming that nobody who is not a professional in a field is allowed to have a subjective opinion on things in the fields? Most people aren’t experts on anything, or in more than maybe a single field, so are people not allowed to have opinions on anything else? At all?
    That would pretty much kill the entire musical industry right there. Including opera. People not being allowed to enjoy music, to not enjoy music, or to have any opinion on a piece of music beyond “oh, yes, air vibrated so it may have been musical”.

    You are being entirely absurd.

    You also write that you and nobody else, Mr self-proclaimed Ordinary Nothing DECIDES that “singers should be ready to get bad reviews” otherwise what???

    Are you serious?

    So, you are claiming that actually singers should not be willing to ever accept any bad reviews?

    I don’t know otherwise what. Singers are not 100% perfect 100% of the time. Most of them aren’t anyway. It’s normal. And it may be mentioned occasionally. In almost any reviews on any musical performance you’d have the bad sides.
    So singers should be ready to get some bad reviews, if they consider anything not good about them to be a bad review.
    There isn’t an “otherwise what?” . The universe will implode? Reality is we know it will cease to exist? There will be singers, and singers will sometimes get bad reviews. The options are either to understand that, or to live in tears locked in a small room. Somehow most singers avoid the latter fate, so it’s safe to assume they realize that bad reviews are a part of life.

    But in the masterclass? A masterclass that is part of a workshop that the singer payed in order to train and improve?

    Yes.
    On anything and everything that is done in front of an audience.

    A singer doing a good, but not perfect, job in a master-class is the norm. The expectation. Even the intent, since if the singer thought they were perfect then they’d have picked a different aria where they aren’t. So any report on what they did there will include these imperfections, by definition. The singers know what a master-class is, so they’d know that, and expect that. It should be normal for them. This is nothing to be offended about. Provided that, as I do, what is written is done while explicitly mentioning it was a master-class.

    You could as well go into the private lessons and write your reviews about the singers.

    So you honestly don’t see a difference between slipping into a private lesson, and attending a public lesson as a part of a large paying audience?

    You write that I am misguided on behalf of the singers so the only way correct my misguiding is to send an e-mail to the singers and ask them.

    Well, in that case, go ahead. Pick a few that you think I was especially harsh on, send them an email, and ask. You’re the one who claim they care, and that you represent what should be their interests.

    The way I see it it’s a minor and trivial non-issue that doesn’t bother singers too much, so there’s no excuse for me to bother them over it.

    I’m not going to pester singers with nonsense just because you have some strange conceptions.

    I do not see the difficulty in getting the singers email and to write one e-mail to everyone with your very personal subjective reviews.

    That is because you are looking at this very narrowly.

    Even discounting actual media, there are many millions of personal blogs out there. And most of the posts on these blogs involve people writing on things they did, or things they saw, or their opinions on things that happen. All of these things involve other people who are the main characters in these events.

    Now imagine that for each and every post, about anything, all the relevant parties were contacted to be asked what they think about it…

    Imagine the mailbox of someone really famous, after a large concert.

    If I was writing for a big media publication, with a large audience, or with authority in the field (opera, or music, in this case), then maybe it could be justified. I’d have been ‘someone’ and it may interest them.
    But I’m a private person, writing about things I saw, in a small private blog that have about zero impact on the music scene.
    Bothering anyone just because I have something to say about them, that would be extremely rude. It will be pushing myself down their throat to tell them that I exist. There is no other excuse for that.

    Look, there are two options. Either what I say here is noticeable and important, or it isn’t.

    If it’s noticeable, then the singers would notice. Someone would point them here. They’d read my posts. And if they didn’t like what I write, they’d certainly let me know.

    If the singers aren’t here because they didn’t notice these posts, though, then what I write here isn’t important or noticeable. And if it isn’t, then it will have the expected zero impact on their career, one way or the other. Even on the ones where I write good personal opinions that you somehow believe are aggressive attacks.

    They should be ready to get bad reviews but not Mr Ordinary Nothing…….

    I don’t mind bad reviews. You decided that I do based on the fact that I… erm… Erase your comments here? I haven’t, you know. They’re here. You can read them yourself.
    You write your bad opinion of me, and I have no problem with keeping it here on my site, for interested people to see.

    And I didn’t even make you buy a ticket to come read my blog, you came over on your own. I didn’t have to send you an email.

    You claim the singers don’t complain because it’s not likely they’d find this blog, but you are also concerned casting directors will find the blog. And you found this blog.
    You also ignore the fact that a few actually did find the blog, but didn’t decide to tell me they find what I wrote objectionable. Had they thought so, they could have commented, just like you do. I don’t need to run after them and ask for comments. They have better things to do.

  22. Zvi Wirschubsky says:

    “There will be singers, and singers will sometimes get bad reviews. The options are either to understand that, or to live in tears locked in a small room. Somehow most singers avoid the latter fate, so it’s safe to assume they realize that bad reviews are a part of life” writes a subjective personal amateur in music Mr Ordinary Nothing.

    Now who is this person who is allowing himself to tell singers either to accept his personal subjective amateurish bad reviews or “live in tears locked in a small room”? It is a blogger who wants to write reviews for his own sake in his own very personal and subjective blog.

    Again I do not mind your subjective personal opinions on God knows what. I am just indignant over that you choose opera singers/students in a opera workshop to write your very subjective personal opinions about. And not enough that this poor opera singers/students are reviewed without their knowledge (probably) or acceptance , the should also either accept this or “to live in tears locked in a small room”. What does this say about the reviewer Mr Ordinary Nothing? That he himself sets the standards for how singers/performances should behave or otherwise they should really not perform, says who ? Mr self-proclaimed opera and music critic Mr. Ordinary Nothing.

    Is this not an opinion that shows an arrogant person then I do not know what the word “arrogant” means….

    Your opera review and the entire blog is full of your self-righteous arrogant statements and that is OK, I think, looking at the blog world. But why to use opera singers/students as targets for your bad reviews ? Not enough things and people to write badly about in the land of Israel?

  23. Post author comments:

    Now who is this person who is allowing himself to tell singers either to accept his personal subjective amateurish bad reviews or “live in tears locked in a small room”?

    Come now, you can’t be serious, can you?

    I do not tell singers how to feel or act. I do not think any singer will act like that. This was a direct response to you asking a question of what should singers do if they are unwilling to have bad reviews, “otherwise what?”.

    What sort of a possible answer can you expect for a silly question like that? Singers cannot not be willing to have bad reviews, because reviews are something out of a singer’s control. I have no control over their reactions, I cannot tell them what their reaction is, and there is no way to response to something silly like your “otherwise what?” question. There is no “otherwise what?”.

    I’m not the one telling singers how to feel and act. You are the one who tries to do so. Please stop taking my words out of context and into idiotic positions.

    Again I do not mind your subjective personal opinions on God knows what. I am just indignant over that you choose opera singers/students in a opera workshop to write your very subjective personal opinions about.

    So I’m allowed to use my personal blog to write my subjective opinion about any field I want, except if it’s about opera singers? Gee, thanks. Why didn’t you mention it in advance, that opera singers are a taboo subject, and this is what you take issue with?

    But why to use opera singers/students as targets for your bad reviews ? Not enough things and people to write badly about in the land of Israel?

    Sure there is. But couldn’t you just the same pick any other subject I may write about, and ask me why I pick that subject and those events, instead of any of the many others?

    I can either not write about anything, or write about some things. So I write about some things. This is very basic. I am sorry you cannot grasp that.

  24. Zvi Wirschubsky says:

    Sure you tell singers how to act with your words ““live in tears locked in a small room”? or am I guilty to your wordings because I wrote “what otherwise?”
    Reminds me of the joke when the woman asks the husband why he hits her? If I knew, answers the husband, I would kill you. Now; is that the womans/wifes fault what the husband answers or is his threat only a reaction to his wifes question”why”

    You have several times written about that you are entirely entitled to write “your subjective opinion on any field you wish”. But here, when dealing with opera singers, you are not writing about a “field”, you are writing reviews (bad reviews) about opera singers and students of opera. You are writing your own very subjective and personal reviews, with quotes from the teachers, about living people who all aim for a career. Students who are paying their dues to LEARN and not to be subject to reviews from amateurs. If they would have liked to be reviewed by the media, they could have given performances in a concert hall in Tel-Aviv and not on masterclass. But you do not care about the singers really, you only seem to care about your universal rights to write bad reviews of anybody, including the opera students. Without any musical skills (it seems to me), without any formal musical educations (it seems to me), without any singing experience (it seems to me) you feel the urge to write about, among others, opera singers and students. But here your writing does not only affect your little world, you affect other people with your writings. Other people that you do not care about if they would have liked to be reviewed or not. You even go further when writing that these opera singers/students should be ready to be reviewed otherwise they should not appear on the masterclass.

    It seems to me that you fail to grasp that any writer has a certain responsability over the people he/she writes about. Try writing some racistic remarks and you will probably very fast realize that there is a limit to your personal urge to write “of any filed you like”.

  25. Post author comments:

    I kept wondering how you repeatedly fail to understand what I say, and take some of what should be very straight-forward statements so out of context.

    Now it’s clear. You’re doing that intentionally.

    I don’t know what is it that you are so angry about. Frankly, I don’t much care. But I would appreciate it if you stopped taking it out on me, and stop trying to inflame this topic just so you’d feel the gratification of having another target to direct your anger towards.

    You stick racism into this discussion? Like it belongs here? Like this fits into it in any way or shape? Like it has any relevancy whatsoever?

    If you want to pick a fight just for the sake of picking a fight, or want to howl at someone in anger, please don’t do that here. Go deal with whatever bothers you elsewhere.

    If you have issues, go confront them.

    This started out like a discussion over a disagreement, then you dragged it down by misunderstanding and ignoring points I made. But now you’ve stooped too low to be taken seriously, or at face value.

    I have no interest in trying to hold a discussion with someone who isn’t trying to discuss anything back, but just tries to bait and enrage by whatever means necessary.

    To quote numerous forums, discussion lists, and blogs: You, sir, are a troll.

  26. Zvi Wirschubsky says:

    As you may know “It takes two for a tango”. I honour your wish not go go farther in this dialogue.However, I am not so sure I misunderstood your position which seems to me very clear. You are writing on anything you like and feel you have the right to do that. I question this standpoint because I think writers have a certain responsability, for example, not to write about things they do not understand or know and not attack people which can be harmed by your writings. We clearly differ on that point but I think this issue has far more implications than opera singers since the blog, like the ordinary camera, has made it possible for any individual to write anyhting (almost) and put it in cyberworld for anyone to read and see. This is seen as a very democratic way since now everybody can express himself/herself, and not just the media or the people in power. With this growing democracy there is a danger, I feel, when people feel they can write almost whatever they feel and want without concern for others.

    I am sorry not to be to angry on you. What concerns your accusation that I am ignoring facts and misunderstanding/misrepresenting your points, let me remind you that this is how people really start to fight each other, unfortunately. This is also a very common reason why relationships and contracts are broken.

    I do neither want to start a war with you neither break any relationship that we do not have. Take care Mr Ordinary Nothing.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.