Every morning when our girl is getting ready for school, I do her hair before she leaves. I ask you: does that make me a hair stylist?
Sometimes, I make dinner ... even for dinner parties. I ask you: does that make me a chef or caterer?
If you answered 'no' to all of the above questions ... you win! TELL THEM WHAT THEY'VE WON, BOB!!!
Now, this morning, the Dancing With the Stars cast of
As I was working my way down the list... I came upon "Opera singer Katherine Jenkins, 31".
Then, I saw on another news organization's list, "Katherine Jenkins, opera star".
Wait one-hot-second ... back up the truck - OPERA SINGER Katherine Jenkins? Katherine Jenkins, OPERA STAR?
Thus begins my head spinning around like Regan MacNeil's.
This is so WRONG - and, let me break down why:
In order to be an opera singer, you have to sing opera. Having performed a number of operatic roles in my life, I can confidently say that, while I'm not currently contracted to perform opera, I am an opera singer. Why is that? Because I have trained and have performed operatic roles ... on stage ... in front of an audience. I am a singer who has sung operas - an opera singer. If someone called me tomorrow and said, "James, we need you to come and sing [insert bass role here] ..." I could do it.
In order to be an opera star, you have to sing opera ... and not just a little aria here and there. You have to be professionally starring in leading roles in major opera houses on an ongoing basis.
Correct me if I'm wrong - and, I know you will - Katherine Jenkins is none of the above. She is another one of those people who has an instrument which is manipulated to sound like it's open-throat singing -- Charlotte Church, poor little Jackie Evancho, of course Andrea Bocelli ... they're all in that boat. Although, to be honest ... even Bocelli has sung at least ONE operatic role.
Many times, these singers are called "classical crossover artists" - which, in itself, is quite a stretch. While I understand that "classical crossover artist" is harder to say that "opera singer", I do find it very misleading for people to call these singers "opera singers" - when clearly they're not. Regular Joe Q. Public doesn't truly understand that they aren't opera singers. I get that. And saying they are opera singers gives them a certain classy appeal. But, as an opera singer, I take offense when I mention to someone that I am an opera singer and they ask me, "You mean like Jackie Evancho... or Andrea Bocelli?"
Uh ... no.
But, how is Joe Q. Public going to know the difference when they're told that people like this Kathy Jenkins are opera singers?
And, don't even get me started on Bocelli. Remember after the 2010 GRAMMYS when I ranted about Bocelli being introduced as "legendary opera star Andrea Bocelli"? I said it then, and I maintain my position: his voice is faux. It's faux opera - it's fauxpera. And, it's true that some people wonder how I can like Il Divo and not like Bocelli - they're all "classical crossover artists" who are making their living in pop. Here's the difference - Il Divo's handlers (a.k.a. Simon Cowell), know where their place is - they're the new generation of Popera. And, while 3 out of the four members of Il Divo are actual opera singers (aka: having sung operatic roles on stage), they don't claim to be opera stars or "legendary opera singers".
Back to Kitty-Kat Jenkins ... is she a singer? Yes. Is she an opera singer? Hardly. Yes, she can haul out an aria (albeit in a much different key than the original) - but, again, that doesn't make her an opera singer. Let us not forget that a certain Aretha Franklin sang "Nessun Dorma" at the GRAMMYS in the place of an ailing Luciano Pavarotti. I think we can ALL agree that Aretha Franklin should stick to being the Queen of Soul ... And, I think Jenkins should stick to being ...
"Welsh singer, Katherine Jenkins".