Thursday, August 25, 2016

Wisdom from the Diva

Hello Bari-Chunks Nation!!  And a special shout out to my 3 most loyal readers- my mom, my wife, and ChunkLovin69 (please stop asking me for pictures...)

As always, I apologize for the absence of posts.  Life is time consuming sometimes.  But I now find myself with a few free moments so I thought I'd jot down a few thoughts.

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a post from the one and only, Christine Goerke.  For those of you who don't know who Ms Goerke is, "WHAT THE HELL!!! CRAWL OUT FROM WHATEVER ROCK YOUR UNDER AND LISTEN TO THIS WOMAN SING!!!! SWEET GOD ALMIGHTY! GET WITH THE TIMES!!!!"

I dare you to find a cooler opera gif out there

On top of being one of the most sought after, premier Divas, Ms Goerke is kind, generous, giving individual.  She works with young singers quite often, and is supportive of them, as well as all her colleagues.  Badass all around.  She is what a Diva should be.  Ms. Goerke (who for the record, I have never had the pleasure of meeting.  I just stalk her awesomeness via social media) posted this status on Facebook.


I can't tell you how much I love this status.  I want to cover that status in hot fudge and make sweet, sweet love to it.  All night long.  I want to cook it breakfast the morning after and send it flowers just to let it know I'm thinking about it.  

I bought you these puppies...

There are a few points I'd like to highlight.  

1. "What. About. The. Singing."  Um, duh!! It feels weird to me that as opera singers, we need to be reminded of this.  We are opera SINGERS.  Not opera models.  It is not a requirement to have 6 packs (unless it's beer), or biceps that can crush watermelons, and it's definitely not a requirement to have this: 
What do all those muscles do? Does one open cans?

Before I start getting hate mail, I promise I will qualify these statements later.  Just don't get your jocks in a bunch.  

2.  "Do you all find the same kinds of people attractive?"  I'll answer this rhetorical question for everybody- NO.  Not everybody likes the supermodel look.  Everybody has their own type.  Personally, when I see a supermodel do her little turn on the catwalk, yeah the catwalk, on the catwalk yeah, they do their little turn on the catwalk... (Sorry.  I just had a flashback to 1991) I always have the same gut reaction.  I desperately want them to eat a pizza.  I feel bad for them.  I want to send them money like a starving child in Africa.  Then I remember that they probably have enough money to buy Africa and I hate eat a pizza for them.  

I personally look for a woman who has bigger boobs than me, but that's just me.  Now once again, before I start getting even more hate mail, what I just said was a joke.  Kind of.  I look for much more than bra size in women.  I like legs too....KIDDING! And yes, my comment kind of objectified the opposite sex, but we all check people out.  My wife watched every single round of the men's Olympic diving events with this exact face:

        Wife chimes in: "That's also the face I make when I see a cheese plate." Fair. 

 It is human nature so let's all just admit it and move on.

3. "Maybe the person next to you likes stocky bald guys. Or they have a thing for tall, voluptuous ladies (if they're smart... :)"  I agree with her.  On both types.

As performers, how are we to know what our audience finds attractive.  Maybe one audience member has a thing for buff guys with blond hair.  Maybe the person next to them likes a little cushion for the pushin.  Maybe someone two rows away loves short red heads and the person in the back row of the balcony likes big butts and he cannot lie.  We can't please everyone.  We can barely please the director and conductor.

"I said Agitato not extra tacos!!"

As performers, we are there on stage to sing and perform.  Not physically appeal to each and every audience member.  We can't.  So why the hell do we keep trying?  I personally find talent sexy as shit.  Just sayin...

4.  "...but please remember that we are responsible for epic music making, and drama, and someone who doesn't look like ___ (insert poster child here) *may* just take your breath away with their whole package."  Hee. Hee.  Package.  Other than that, I have nothing to add to that perfect statement.
"It's my high C in a box!"

5.  This isn't in the post above but was a comment Ms Goerke left on the post. "I'd like to add- GOD BLESS the singers who look like models and have the goods.  Truly. Taking nothing away from them!!"  Once again, amen.  For those buff and slim singers out there who can maintain a killer bod and still sing like (opera) rock stars, good on you.  But as I've said many, many, many times before, the "goods" (as Ms Goerke called them) are more important than the model looks.  Not the other way around.

Working on yourself, both physically and vocally, is not a bad thing.  Far from it!  Even your "Chunk in Chief" here works out.  I try to lose weight and better myself.  It's a good thing (see, I told you I'd qualify my statement from earlier) and being healthy, able bodied people is absolutely necessary to do our jobs to the best of our ability.  But we as singers shouldn't feel obligated to be something we are not.  I've talked with MANY young singers who feel pressured to be a Barihunk.  They feel that it is how they can succeed in the business and sadly, they think it's the only way.  I can personally attest to this.  When I started out, I felt I HAD to get on that Barihunks site.  I felt it was a prerequisite for being a performer.  And it was always a real hit to my self confidence when I was never pictured on it.  Really hard hit.  It took me a good long while to figure out that THAT wasn't me. (Full disclosure- I am on that site under "Reader Submission.")  This is a problem.  This business is f*cking hard enough without throwing on the added weight (pun intended) of trying to all be supermodels.  It's not fair to us as humans.

So why is the business doing this to us?  Ms. Goerke addressed her comment to the managers.  I don't think her messages should stop with them.  I think casting directors, artistic administrators, colleagues, hell, everyone in the business needs to remember what it is we actually do.  We sing.  We perform.

And young singers out there, I say this to you- "Be the best you you can."  If that means you run marathons and sing bitchin arias, awesome.  If that means you like pizza and beer and can perform the shit out of an opera, fantastic.  If that means you like stealing worn panties from peoples homes, see a doctor cause that shit ain't right.  We are all amazing in our own way.  We should NOT be something we are not.  No one can do YOU better than YOU.  Be your best you. Except Stenson.  Stenson sucks.

*steps off soapbox, prepares for battle*

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