Thursday, January 10, 2013

Opéra de Montréal singer goes on strike over posters

The poster and tenor Marc Hervieux (inset)
Well, this was bound to happen sooner or later. To be honest, I'm surprised it took this long...

The Opéra de Montréal is set to stage Die Fledermaus (La Chauvre-Souris en francais) on Jan. 26. But, the singer the company calls "the prince of Quebec tenors," Marc Hervieux, is refusing to sing during rehearsals this week.

Hervieux says he is on a "vocal cord strike," because he is upset with the posters the company is using for its advertising campaign. You see, for this season the company features models instead of performers on its posters. In fact, upon his refusal to sing, Hervieux said, "Call this guy on the poster to sing."

"If you don't know a lot about opera, you see this poster of this beautiful girl or this beautiful guy," says Hervieux. "When you buy your ticket, suddenly, where is this beautiful guy?"

I can't say that I totally disagree with what he's saying. Clearly, I've been raising issues about this idea that opera is being forced to fit societal stereotypes for quite a while.

McGill University management professor Karl Moore stated the obvious: the ad campaign is aimed at attracting a younger audience to the opera. "It is a bit of a shell game, in that you convince people to get in the door, but once there, the people on stage don't look like these great models," Moore said. "But given the challenges [the company faces,] I think it makes sense."

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