Amira Willighagen                    Jackie Evancho                     Laura Bretan                       Holly Steel                          Elena House            
Opera singers
There are several opera singers on this site (pictured above) and there will probably be some more in the future. At some time or other, I have read the criticisms of these girls from 'expert singers and teachers', the criticisms usually fuelled by the girls' young age. I'm not an expert, nor would I claim to be - likewise Simon Cowell and the other AGT judges. One device we do all possess however, is hearing and the ability to detect what is a pleasant sound. From this, we can discount expert views on technique and any strenuous effort that is required by the girls, and the 'damage or harm' they might be doing to their vocal chords, or even their entire bodies by singing soprano in the way that they do. 

Below, is a criticism from a singing teacher, but what is omitted is the most likely circumstance that Laura Bretan and the other singers, must have had professional tuition from their own teachers and that these teachers must have had much closer contact with the girls than these 'expert teachers' who have only seen and heard them either on television or from a seat in the audience of AGT. 

What are we to do? Should these girls be discouraged, or even prohibited from singing and be encouraged to become like all other girls who have not been blessed with the gift of a beautiful singing voice? Should they become 'normal' teenagers listening to the likes of Britney Spears and Adele, but not singing themselves?

I simply believe that experts feel they have to throw in their two bits' worth. It occurs in the world of pianism too. I've read 'expert' criticism of young girls playing pianos at concert level, as if doing so is causing them some harm and for their own protection, ought to desist. 

Anyway, below this are some of the comments criticising Laura Bretan, but in the past, I have seen similar criticisms of Jackie Evancho and Amira Willighagaen, all of which I ignore.  

Bill Ross

Since the clip of Laura Bretan performing Puccini’s Nessun Dorma in the early rounds of America's Got Talent  appeared online earlier this year, it has been viewed millions of times. 

Laura, now aged 14, followed up in later rounds of the talent show with performances of 'Pie Jesu' and 'The Prayer' – made famous by Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion. These performances also drew gushing praise from the judges. 

A professional soprano’s view of Laura Bretan’s operatic technique >

In last night's grand final, Laura sang 'O Mio Babbino Caro', the soprano's aria from Puccini's opera Gianni Schicchi. Once again, the judges were impressed. Cowell said: "This is ridiculous, how old are you? You perform with such passion and you pace yourself and you always hit that big moment, and I’m sitting here thinking you can’t really be 14." Watch the performances below:


While some cheered to see classical music reaching a mass audience – and to see millions of people sharing and enjoying Puccini’s music, others raised concerns over Laura’s technique and her choice of repertoire.


An open letter from an opera singer

Opera singer Heidi Moss wrote an open letter to the young singer on Facebook saying: “There are things I heard in your sound that concern me. True classical training takes years of hard work, and forcing a sound that isn’t truly your own is dangerous.

“Over time, the irritation of singing that way can cause swelling or even worse, nodes or popped vessels.”


A singing teacher's point of view on Laura Bretan

Claudia Friedlander, a voice teacher from New York, took a more positive approach in an article on her blog and published in Classical Singer Magazine . She said: “Laura delivered an earnest, authentic outpouring of passion, and she allowed it to flow through her voice with steadfast courage and commitment…

“But a young singer’s instrument is not yet even a fair facsimile of the voice they will late access as an adult. Thus there can be no true operatic prodigies. The young voice simply has not physiologically matured to the point that it is capable of projecting a healthy, balanced sound over an orchestra.

“This is why Laura’s performance raises such deep concerns for experienced opera singers and voice teachers. She possesses both a promising voice and strong musical instincts, but most of the sounds she is producing are the result of effortful, unsustainable manipulations of a body that is not yet mature enough.”


Are they just jealous?

But Claudia goes on to say that jealousy may partly account for the classical world’s knee-jerk negative reaction to Laura’s performance – after all, this clip has made the news around the world precisely because it's rare to see an audience react so enthusiastically to a performance of an opera aria.

She asks: “Does our desire to correct Laura Bretan’s fans about the nature of opera make us snobs?”

Meanwhile, one opera fan has started a crowd-funding campaign to raise money to ‘Send Simon Cowell to the Met’ …



Read more at http://www.classicfm.com/music-news/laura-bretan-concerns-americas-got-talent/#avl5JcMTSfxXVF16.99
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