Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

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piston
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Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by piston » Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:21 am

In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:00 pm

I put this on Facebook in case Henry Slofstra gets there before he gets here. I forgive her for breathing between syllables and for her horrid pronunciation. Forgiveness to her vocal teacher for letting her sing such a huge cliché comes a little harder. Oh well, at least it was not Panis Angelicus.

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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by Marc » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:42 pm

jbuck919 wrote:I put this on Facebook in case Henry Slofstra gets there before he gets here. I forgive her for breathing between syllables and for her horrid pronunciation. Forgiveness to her vocal teacher for letting her sing such a huge cliché comes a little harder. Oh well, at least it was not Panis Angelicus.
The funny thing is: this 9-old girl doesn't have a vocal teacher. She liked the song and taught it herself, by watching and listening to YouTube clips.

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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:52 pm

Marc wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:I put this on Facebook in case Henry Slofstra gets there before he gets here. I forgive her for breathing between syllables and for her horrid pronunciation. Forgiveness to her vocal teacher for letting her sing such a huge cliché comes a little harder. Oh well, at least it was not Panis Angelicus.
The funny thing is: this 9-old girl doesn't have a vocal teacher. She liked the song and taught it herself, by watching and listening to YouTube clips.
That both explains and forgives a great deal. :)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by Marc » Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:15 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Marc wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:I put this on Facebook in case Henry Slofstra gets there before he gets here. I forgive her for breathing between syllables and for her horrid pronunciation. Forgiveness to her vocal teacher for letting her sing such a huge cliché comes a little harder. Oh well, at least it was not Panis Angelicus.
The funny thing is: this 9-old girl doesn't have a vocal teacher. She liked the song and taught it herself, by watching and listening to YouTube clips.
That both explains and forgives a great deal. :)
In an interview Amira said that she doesn't know if she wants to become a professional singer, because she also wants to do other fun things, like playing with her friends and cleaning the litter boxes for her cat Tijger (Tiger) and Tijger's kittens. And she wants to save money for poor children in South Africa, who don't have a playground on their own.

:D

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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by slofstra » Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:42 pm

Quite interesting. Here is an interview ..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQIt3-6u4ts&noredirect=1

She does mention that she had never had singing lessons but did receive a little coaching from her parents. She recognized that she needs to work on her breath control. Quite an interesting interview if you understand Dutch, but the English subtitles are a bit of a mess.

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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by Marc » Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:44 pm

slofstra wrote:Quite interesting. Here is an interview ..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQIt3-6u4ts&noredirect=1

She does mention that she had never had singing lessons but did receive a little coaching from her parents. She recognized that she needs to work on her breath control. Quite an interesting interview if you understand Dutch, but the English subtitles are a bit of a mess.
Thanks, that's the interview I saw on the telly recently.

The subtitles are even worse than Google Translate. :P

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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by piston » Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:54 pm

The media part that our friend, John B., apparently does not get, is that this little Dutch girl, with all her breathing and pronunciation flaws, has more publicized this aria than any great opera singer.... The medium is the message, John B.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:00 pm

piston wrote:The media part that our friend, John B., apparently does not get, is that this little Dutch girl, with all her breathing and pronunciation flaws, has more publicized this aria than any great opera singer.... The medium is the message, John B.
And The Lone Ranger did more to publicize the William Tell Overture. Was it any great gift to general literacy about classical music? Brava to the little girl, but she's not doing any favors to musical literacy that were not already done by the Pachelbel Canon and Her Comes the Bride.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

piston
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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by piston » Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:06 pm

Ahh, but you have to let yourself respond to all the faces in that show. What she did, without any training, is nothing less than blow their socks off. Your mistake, my friend, is to assess her as someone who is a professional pretender. She'd be the first to tell you that you're off the mark.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:13 pm

piston wrote:Ahh, but you have to let yourself respond to all the faces in that show. What she did, without any training, is nothing less than blow their socks off. Your mistake, my friend, is to assess her as someone who is a professional pretender. She'd be the first to tell you that you're off the mark.
Those people are professionals who are paid to look as though it is the second coming within the first two seconds of hearing real talent, if in fact they had not been prepared in advanced to drop their jaws and widen their eyes and exchange "Oh my God what is this" glances. (I mean, don't you think they were just a bit quick off the mark?) We're not on opposite sides of this, Jacques. Of course I recognize and laud the little girl's talent and drive. Maybe she has a singing future, but in terms of the current pop surround, let's not make of it more than it is.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by John F » Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:13 pm

"O mio babbino caro" had already been well publicized before this kid was born.
Wikipedia wrote:The aria is frequently performed in concerts and as an encore in recitals by many popular and crossover singers; it is used in films and several bands cover the aria in their own style. The song is arguably far more well-known than the opera from which it comes.
This is less about the x factor than the awww factor - not Puccini but the little girl herself is getting publicized. That's OK with me, but let's not claim a greater significance for her five minutes of fame than it really deserves.
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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by piston » Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:20 pm

I'd like to disagree. Why is it not possible for young talent to use opera instead of more popular, in the media, tunes to achieve recognition for excellence? No reason. That's what she demonstrated. And BTW, I love her composure, her assurance, and her ability to express feelings. She apparently loves the tune.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by slofstra » Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:20 am

Marc wrote:
slofstra wrote:Quite interesting. Here is an interview ..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQIt3-6u4ts&noredirect=1

She does mention that she had never had singing lessons but did receive a little coaching from her parents. She recognized that she needs to work on her breath control. Quite an interesting interview if you understand Dutch, but the English subtitles are a bit of a mess.
Thanks, that's the interview I saw on the telly recently.

The subtitles are even worse than Google Translate. :P
You're right. It's a word for word translation that avoids English colloquial style entirely. It does give you a sense for how Dutch grammar and word order though; that is, you're getting English words with Dutch word order.

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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by slofstra » Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:24 am

jbuck919 wrote:
piston wrote:The media part that our friend, John B., apparently does not get, is that this little Dutch girl, with all her breathing and pronunciation flaws, has more publicized this aria than any great opera singer.... The medium is the message, John B.
And The Lone Ranger did more to publicize the William Tell Overture. Was it any great gift to general literacy about classical music? Brava to the little girl, but she's not doing any favors to musical literacy that were not already done by the Pachelbel Canon and Her Comes the Bride.
Oh, I don't agree at all. We do need popularizers, and there are good popularizers and bad ones. Further, this kid really likes opera over pop, as she stated in her interview, so with some training who knows. What is different here is that without the reality TV show she might have received more training before getting all the attention. But then she might have been sequestered away for the pleasure of the suits and sequins crowd, and never done anything for opera in the public consciousness.

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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by slofstra » Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:30 am

John F wrote:"O mio babbino caro" had already been well publicized before this kid was born.
Wikipedia wrote:The aria is frequently performed in concerts and as an encore in recitals by many popular and crossover singers; it is used in films and several bands cover the aria in their own style. The song is arguably far more well-known than the opera from which it comes.
This is less about the x factor than the awww factor - not Puccini but the little girl herself is getting publicized. That's OK with me, but let's not claim a greater significance for her five minutes of fame than it really deserves.
I disagree with both you and John on this. In order to keep opera and classical music alive, you need popularizers, really performers that have the 'star' quality that both reaches people AND attains a level of technical excellence. Pavarotti had that; Domingo does not. Callas had it; Tebaldi and many others did not. Andre Rieu has it, other violinists do not .. although the public always loves a great violinist.
This little girl certainly had that kind of power at that moment, and she has great pipes as well. Hopefully, it will last more than 15 minutes, as there seems to be a new 'Susan Boyle' every few months at the present time.

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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:55 am

slofstra wrote:But then she might have been sequestered away for the pleasure of the suits and sequins crowd, and never done anything for opera in the public consciousness.
But the problem is what the "public consciousness" discovers about classical music after they try to listen to anything other than "O mio babbino caro," and a few other popular favorites. Suppose for example they listen to all of Gianni Schicchi, an opera that even bores me (when most of Puccini does not)? And where are they going to move to from the Pachelbel Canon? Not any other Pachelbel, heaven help them. For once, the arbitrary pops choice from a composer's output is probably the best thing he wrote. To the Brandenburg Concertos, perhaps? That might work, if they understood that it's not background or utilitarian music and that they're supposed to just sit there and listen to it.

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-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by some guy » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:00 am

Not sure how popularization is going to keep "classical music" alive.

Not sure how playing the same five or six already popular pieces over and over again is going to popularize classical music generally.

Out of all the people who broke into applause as soon as they recognized this immensely popular aria--cued, no doubt, but still--how many do you think have ever heard the opera from which it comes? Or any opera? How many people who recognize Vivaldi's Four Seasons (by which I mean the opening movement of Spring, of course) have ever heard any other music by him? Have ever desired to hear any other music by him?

It's been my experience that hearing those same five or six familiar things is all the "classical music" that most people will ever want. It doesn't lead anywhere else. It just is.

And none of this is likely to ever put any food on Emmanuelle Gibello's table. Or Natasha Barrett's. Or Diana Salazar. Sure, these women are older than nine, so the "cute" factor is gone. And they actually make music, original music. You know, like Puccini did. Y'all know Puccini, right? The guy who wrote "O mio babbino caro." Without whom....

Anyway, Scotland has talent, too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAseohJbAYc

:D
"The public has got to stay in touch with the music of its time . . . for otherwise people will gradually come to mistrust music claimed to be the best."
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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by John F » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:21 am

Another aspect that I don't believe anyone has touched on. Thousands of young people all over the world have real talent, studying singing and music, going into debt for it, in pursuit of a serious career performing classical music. If the music we love has a future, they are it.

Do any of them ever get a chance on tv programs like this to show the wide world their talent, and to popularize the music to which they are dedicating their lives? And earn a pile of money into the bargain? Not a chance. Whatever the producers of these TV shows are interested in, it's not making a persuasive case for classical music.

What kind of image of classical music does this give the uncommitted audience? That anybody can do it, no special training or study required, and those who do are abnormal in one way or another. I don't know what the general audience is supposed to be converted to by these exhibitions, or what the producers of such shows are screening their many applicants for, but it certainly isn't talent and it isn't to promote appreciation of classical music.

In the '30s and '40s, radio talent shows sometimes gave a hearing to young singers with serious classical aspirations. Two famous cases are Maria Callas and Beverly Sills on the Amateur Hour; Regina Resnik and Robert Merrill also succeeded. How do they differ from the likes of this Amira? They had voices, they had talent, they were studying, they could sing well, and they intended to make a career in classical music if they could - none of the above applies to Amira. It's a steep descent from then to now.

P.S. I just thought of Paul Potts, the tenor who won "Britain's Got Talent" in 2007 by singing Pavarotti's signature tune, "Nessun dorma." Not all of it, the TV show had only time for an abridgment. He won £100,000, started taking singing lessons but quit because they cost too much, then made three CDs that have sold millions of copies; two years after "Britain's Got Talent," his assets were reported to be around £5 million. Previously he had sung in amateur opera productions. Since winning? Not one appearance in opera, and his CDs include exactly two classical selections, "Nessun dorma" and "E lucevan le stelle," stranded amid an ocean of shlock. His appearance and victory on BGT has done zero to advance classical music, either by converting an audience or even in a career for himself. So much for that.
Last edited by John F on Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:59 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by slofstra » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:57 am

jbuck919 wrote:
slofstra wrote:But then she might have been sequestered away for the pleasure of the suits and sequins crowd, and never done anything for opera in the public consciousness.
But the problem is what the "public consciousness" discovers about classical music after they try to listen to anything other than "O mio babbino caro," and a few other popular favorites. Suppose for example they listen to all of Gianni Schicchi, an opera that even bores me (when most of Puccini does not)? And where are they going to move to from the Pachelbel Canon? Not any other Pachelbel, heaven help them. For once, the arbitrary pops choice from a composer's output is probably the best thing he wrote. To the Brandenburg Concertos, perhaps? That might work, if they understood that it's not background or utilitarian music and that they're supposed to just sit there and listen to it.
My parents and extended family were Dutch, so I'm more familiar with how "popularization" works in Europe than how it works here. There has always been an audience that has a respect for classical music, for the work required to produce that music, but who are never going to listen to Stravinksy let alone Schoenberg or Schnittke. Or, if they do, the time has not yet arrived. In my parents and grandparents day, their real music was polka, accordion and James Last party music, although the emphasis over the decades has now moved elsewhere as we became second generation Canadians. My parents and their siblings would also listen to Fritz Kreisler, Mario Lanza, and perhaps a recording or two by the Concertgebouw Orchestra. In later years, Helmut Lotti, Pavarotti, Andre Rieu and Leroy Anderson came on the scene. Those performers mine Strauss and Lehar, but also Mozart and classical music to provide fairly palatable orchestral music for a mass audience.
I suppose the same was done in America by the Boston Pops ... different audience with slightly different tastes but I think it's all part of the same thing.
Last edited by slofstra on Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by slofstra » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:03 am

some guy wrote:Not sure how popularization is going to keep "classical music" alive.

Not sure how playing the same five or six already popular pieces over and over again is going to popularize classical music generally.

Out of all the people who broke into applause as soon as they recognized this immensely popular aria--cued, no doubt, but still--how many do you think have ever heard the opera from which it comes? Or any opera? How many people who recognize Vivaldi's Four Seasons (by which I mean the opening movement of Spring, of course) have ever heard any other music by him? Have ever desired to hear any other music by him?

It's been my experience that hearing those same five or six familiar things is all the "classical music" that most people will ever want. It doesn't lead anywhere else. It just is.

And none of this is likely to ever put any food on Emmanuelle Gibello's table. Or Natasha Barrett's. Or Diana Salazar. Sure, these women are older than nine, so the "cute" factor is gone. And they actually make music, original music. You know, like Puccini did. Y'all know Puccini, right? The guy who wrote "O mio babbino caro." Without whom....

Anyway, Scotland has talent, too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAseohJbAYc

:D
What this kid will do, is to "legitimize" the interests of that other tiny minority of other kids like her, who will grow to like opera and classical music. If we don't have popularizers legitimizing classical music in this way, it might die out except among the 'snob set'. (I use the term with great caution. The people in the 'snob set' are generally not snobs at all. They are seen as snobs though for not yielding to conforming pressures, and thus there actually is in the eyes of the public, a 'snob set'.)

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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by slofstra » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:12 am

John F wrote:Another aspect that I don't believe anyone has touched on. Thousands of young people all over the world have real talent, studying singing and music, going into debt for it, in pursuit of a serious career performing classical music. If the music we love has a future, they are it.

Do any of them ever get a chance on tv programs like this to show the wide world their talent, and to popularize the music to which they are dedicating their lives? And earn a pile of money into the bargain? Not a chance. Whatever the producers of these TV shows are interested in, it's not making a persuasive case for classical music.

What kind of image of classical music does this give the uncommitted audience? That anybody can do it, no special training or study required, and those who do are abnormal in one way or another. I don't know what the general audience is supposed to be converted to by these exhibitions, or what the producers of such shows are screening their many applicants for, but it certainly isn't talent and it isn't to promote appreciation of classical music.

In the '30s and '40s, radio talent shows sometimes gave a hearing to young singers with serious classical aspirations. Two famous cases are Maria Callas and Beverly Sills on the Amateur Hour; Regina Resnik and Robert Merrill also succeeded. How do they differ from the likes of this Amira? They had voices, they had talent, they were studying, they could sing well, and they intended to make a career in classical music if they could - none of the above applies to Amira. It's a steep descent from then to now.

P.S. I just thought of Paul Potts, the tenor who won "Britain's Got Talent" in 2007 by singing Pavarotti's signature tune, "Nessun dorma." Not all of it, the TV show had only time for an abridgment. He won £100,000, started taking singing lessons but quit because they cost too much, then made three CDs that have sold millions of copies; two years after "Britain's Got Talent," his assets were reported to be around £5 million. Previously he had sung in amateur opera productions. Since winning? Not one appearance in opera, and his CDs include exactly two classical selections, "Nessun dorma" and "E lucevan le stelle," stranded amid an ocean of shlock. His appearance and victory on BGT has done zero to advance classical music, either by converting an audience or even in a career for himself. So much for that.
There's too much of how you would like things to be, and too little of how they actually are, in this analysis. The entire premise of these shows is to find the unfound, to discover new talent. If you have already been discovered, you're not going to get any mileage on these shows. (Which puts certain personages on these shows in a fundamental conflict of interest when they subsequently promote 'undiscovered' talent, you begin to wonder whether the show is just a promotional vehicle for their talent over and against anyone else's.)
Anyway, this little girl could be another Callas. It's not to say that she has the talent, or will retain the voice she now has, and even less to say that she will do the work required. But it is possible. Potts' trajectory was necessarily limited, as he didn't have quite that much talent; I believe he had been cut by an opera company before he did the show. Perhaps someone will do an all operatic talent show which does showcase young performers on the way up .. I think it would draw an audience. I know Holland recently did one with singer-songwriters, which I watched, and it was a fresh departure from the vapid pop style of some of these shows.

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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by some guy » Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:50 am

Henry,

I guess our ideas of legitimacy are quite different.

When I was a kid, first exploring the world of classical music, I came across people like this Dutch girl. Yes, even in the early sixties, there were people like this.

The only thing I felt was revulsion.

This type of "popularization" certainly didn't make me feel any more legitimate. It made me feel like something very precious had been taken from me and sullied.

Today, I'm more interested in teasing out alternate meanings to "keeping classical music alive," such as the obvious practical approach of "keeping food on the tables of living composers." But still, there is some lingering revulsion....

:)
"The public has got to stay in touch with the music of its time . . . for otherwise people will gradually come to mistrust music claimed to be the best."
--Viennese critic (1843)

Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.
--Henry Miller

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Re: Holland's Got Talent. Little Amira W.

Post by piston » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:33 am

Revultion! Wow!!

Well, if Amira doesn't cut it in the world of classical opera, ten years from now, she can always try the world of popular opera:
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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