Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Bring to account

Hello!

So recently in the world of opera there has been lots of talk about the controversial Georgian soprano Tamar Iveri (pictured) and her comments on gay-folk. These hurtful comments have been taken very badly by the public and by the LGBT community. She has since been released from her contract at Opera Australia, and more articles fly around on social media sites about how the company was too slow to respond to her actions (well, words).

Tamar Iveri has been brought to account about these words- if you ask me, releasing these thoughts so publicly with this kind of influence was a pretty stupid idea, in any profession but especially opera. I don't understand why she made it so public- in the words of the chorus of police in The pirates of Penzance- 'This is perplexing!' 'We cannot understand it at all!'

All this leads me to a few thoughts. I found it weird that so many people who were fiercely pro immigration shouted 'get out of my country' at her when she said this, but my main beef is with something else.


There is another far more famous Russian soprano Anna Netrebko (pictured). It has been common knowledge that she is a supporter of Vladimir Putin. She has released a statement saying that "As an artist, it is my great joy to collaborate with all of my wonderful colleagues-regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation. I have never and will never discriminate against anyone." So luckily she does not share Iveri's views.

Still, I just wonder why no one seems to care that she has endorsed him very strongly. It is a totally different kettle of fish, I know, but I can't help but wonder.

xx

Monday, 17 February 2014

Dramatic tenors... rare, but bullied.

Hello all. Long time no post!

In the business world, if there is a shortage of something, advertisements are made to the affect of 'skills shortage, we need a person who can do this' or 'person needed urgently'. This skills shortage, usually, is addressed; more people are trained in this skill, and the positions are filled.

Imagine now, a different market where skills shortages exist. Only this time, when people possess that skill, they are BULLIED, and told that it's bad.

This, my friends, is how young singers feel who might have a slightly larger voice than the rest of their colleagues and friends, and who potentially possess the required attributes in the skills shortage of dramatic singers.

--

Most operatically trained singers never fit in a choir. Dramatic or not, the partials/formants that we produce are not produced by the other choristers, so it looks and sounds like we are being louder. Actually volume is not the issue, it is the frequencies in the sound of an operatic voice (formants that orchestras don't/can't make, so that's why we can be heard over one) that stick out because the rest of the choristers aren't trained to tap into those. One would think, then, that if you move into a group of classically trained singers then things might change, and said singers would be able to sing at full voice and in the body. However, it's not always the case.

Sometimes, singers with louder voices than their friends and colleagues go into choruses at university and still get put down. Things like 'your voice is offensive' or a passive aggressive 'calm down' and a simple but frank 'you're too loud' are among some of the things that get said to them. A student with low self esteem (as we all know, this could be a direct result of the aforementioned bullying) and less confidence would leave opera altogether, because who needs to be bullied right?

Then further down the track, a company director says,
"Ok, so in 5 years I want to stage a new production of Lohengrin." The conductor says-
"So who will sing Lohengrin?"
"Well there is this person..."
"They are otherwise engaged."
"There is literally no one else in this country who can sing it."

...and they wonder where all the Heldentenors went. Your Lohengrin is probably in that country... but he's working an office job, because he was bullied out by YOU. Well done, opera world.

Regards

A Heldentenor, John Mitchinson, singing Rienzi's prayer. Someone like him would be bullied as a young singer.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

What I think of hard line Evangelicals

Im sure it’s all unbundantly clear to people around the world the political and societal wars that are happening between those who oppose same-sex marriage and those who support it. Sometimes these conflicts get quite violent- whether it is behind some sort of lectern, on a keyboard, or in some extreme cases, physical fights. These instances I have been lucky enough not to have witnessed, but I know all too well that the fights over whether being a homoseuxual is ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ happen.
I’m sure it is also abundantly obvious that various religious groups are involved in the fray. Among the most prevalent in western society are Christians of various denominations and traditions. In Australia, the ACL (Australian Christian Lobby), is possibly the most prevalent and powerful Christian group that is opposed to same-sex marriage. No, it is not the Roman catholic church. Believe it.
Now, I am an Anglican Christian. I am not from the same tradition as the ACL (although they say on their website that they have 'no denominational affiliations’ they take a very hard line Evangelical approach to Christianity). My approach to Christianity is very different. It is impossible to sum it up in one small article, and I am sure theirs is not so simple either. However, I have noticed one thing very distinctive about the theology of the ACL. They will readily name and point fingers, indiscriminately, and call all people sinners.
They seem to have been shouting ‘sinner!’ at homosexuals simply because they are homosexual.


But I wonder- if one day, out of the blue, the baptist stood before them and yelled ‘REPENT! For the kingdom of God is at hand’, would they face up to it? I’m not saying in any way if that happened to me I would, but I just wonder with all this finger pointing, what would they do if that happened?

John the Baptist- one of the most powerful speakers in Christian history. Poor guy met a sticky end...

Monday, 23 September 2013

A liberal Christian against Bishop Spong

Hello all!

As I sit on the train, I am trying to look for someone on the Internet that is a liberal Christian, but dislikes Bishop Spong. Unfortunately, doesn't look like its going to happen.

John Shelby Spong is a retired Episcopalian bishop who is a prominent figure in progressive Christian circles. He is also prominent in conservative religious circles, not only because he is the polar opposite of them, but he is a publicly outspoken ENEMY of them.

His 'scholarship' (I use quotation marks not because it is not scholarship, but because he claims it to be infinitely intelligent in a nauseatingly arrogant manner) has made many people, religious or not, think about their traditions differently, among those people being myself. When I discovered his ministry I thought about my tradition of Anglicanism in a different way, and began to use more of my imagination with regards to theology.

I suppose, though, that the reason that I came across his ministry in the first place is because I was trawling through stuff on the Internet regarding fundamentalism and how bad it is. In this way, Spong's message is very attractive and accessible, because it puts forward an intense hatred for fundamentalism...

...but it is just that, HATRED.

He has become obsessed with fundamentalism, and how much he hates it. Subscribing to his weekly email column, I regularly receive paragraphs of '...I loathe fundamentalism because... I despise conservative Catholicism when...' and intense negativity that never seems to stop. I hate to break it to you, mate, but spewing hate at fundamentalism is not exactly a hard thing to do. It is the easy way out for a 21st century Christian ministry, and millions of people flock to him because of this easy bag of insults.

What is even worse, is that anyone who disagrees with the guy seems to be in his eyes, on par with a fundamentalist. Anyone who disagrees with him, in his eyes, is actually evil. Well, John, here's the thing... you don't seem to realise that in being obsessed with fundamentalism, you have absorbed their toxic traits. The same judgemental, vicious, vitriol rhetoric that perpetuates almost exclusively American circles, has become your style of religious attack dog politics all the while attempting to drag the whole world into American religious problems. Anyone who disagrees with you is an evil, vile human being who deserves to be sent to hell... (even though you don't seem to believe in it, that is well and truly the way you act).

Yet it seems that he has perpetuated the view that if you are not in 100% agreement with him, you must be some kind of lunatic. Great, how very like the grace of God!

Not.

I don't see God, that delivered his people out of slavery, condemning people publicly just for saying something a little bit left of centre. I don't see God, that delivered Elijah out of severe depression, being more concerned with peoples silly words than with their actions. I don't see God, who created YOU, Bishop Spong, spewing hate like post-hangover vomit all over slightly more conservative people.

Maybe it's only because he is a little bit senile that he is unbelievably arrogant and giving a toxic 'easy way out' ministry, but that doesn't excuse him from acting the way he does towards people he doesn't like. I thought that was exactly the mentality he was trying to eradicate...?

Well, honestly, I am glad I'm not an American and can distance myself from this bullshit because of that. In the meantime, remember that God loves him too...

... as well as fundamentalists...

...yeh I know. Didn't tell you I understood God's grace.


I shall attach a video that is completely irrelevant.


Sunday, 7 April 2013

Sexist.

Watch and listen to the above video.

I have been a part of the choral tradition of the Anglican church for over 10 years. To be exact, 14. I started singing as a treble.

As you will notice with the above choir, it is all male. I bet you're saying one word- sexist.

Well, yes. Yes it is. I freely admit that. I also realise admitting it does not excuse it. Why, though, does the tradition of men and boys choirs still exist in the 21st century? More to the point, why do I think it should exist?

I just found out that in first year classical singing this year at WAAPA there are 3 men. THREE. Hardly any men. and SEVENTEEN women. Why does this happen? Well I don't know why in this day and age schoolboys think it's 'uncool' to sing. I really think that what happens in school choirs is that they have a surplus of sopranos and mezzos, and one tenor and one boy singing the bass part, but who really is a tenor. Honestly- an environment in which boys are told that it is good to sing (sing strongly, no less) around older men who are singing is extremely valuable.

Especially when opera companies are calling around for hours trying to find ONE tenor, because their audition panel saw 70 sopranos. Then you wish that there was a culture in which males are told that it is good to sing.

The all male choir tradition is what got me singing. I'm sure it will get a lot more men singing in the future.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Oh Rome.

Rome. What the fuck are you doing.

I don't know why you insist on not taking responsibility. YOU CAN DO SO MUCH BETTER. I mean you have kept the Latin language in the world, you have produced Julian of Norwich, and Thomas Aquinas. You have produced the selfless acts of Saint Peregrine Laziosi, the patron saint of cancer survivors. You have motivated Mother Theresa go to the slums and spread the good news and help the needy.

Why do you insist on sexual politics and hiding your problems, and in so doing hiding your true potential? If you take responsibility, you will move forward, become a better church, and become a credible and powerful voice in society. It will be a bruise in your history that will be behind you forever that you can look on and say 'we beat that and moved beyond it.'

Come on, Rome. Lift your game.

I have faith in you.

---

'One day, we will have to stand before the God of history, and we will talk in terms of things we've done... and it seems I can hear the God of history saying 'that was NOT ENOUGH!' But I was hungry... and ye fed me not.' Martin Luther King

Friday, 8 February 2013

Lux Christi

Hey all!

So I follow a blog titled 'Christians tired of being misrepresented'. The things on that page, at least when I first clicked follow, explained the feelings I have towards my faith almost perfectly- especially the title itself. I think I even remember searching facebook for exactly that.

As time went on, however, I noticed something. They separate themselves from Fundamentalists of any religion and Republicans (they are clearly an American page) who infer, or maybe even sometimes say directly 'vote republican and enter paradise.' I liked the fact that they debunked the myth among non believers that this is what all Christians are like. There is something a bit strange about it, though.

The love of God is UNCONDITIONAL. The light of Christ shines upon ALL people. They preach this very readily, and say things like 'we welcome those whom Fundamentalism rejects, because Jesus would welcome you', but when they lampoon the Fundamentalists, or, as they begrudgingly refer to them as 'fundies', they seem to imply the sinister notion that God does not love them. Which, I am sorry, is just as bad as fundamentalists saying that God does not love a certain group of people or a person.

Our religion has been damaged... the consequences are before us.
Now I know that some of you reading this will say 'you have never been in a fundamentalist world, you don't know what it's like, it's easy for you to say'. Well, maybe not. I have, however, spent 8 years working for a church whose parish held one tenet- 'the ordination of women is a schismatic act.' ONE tenet of their parish. Of course they were still Christians (Anglicans), but their parish was part of the 'forward in faith' movement... ironic. I also had a massive run in with Fundamentalism a few years ago. If you would like to know more about it message me. I would rather not blog it.

God's love and Christ's light shines on 'the righteous and the wrongdoers alike.' Forgiveness is hard, and Jesus tells us that and lets us know that that's ok. I still haven't really forgiven the person I had the run in with a few years ago. It is hard to accept, in the heat of the moment, that God loves someone you hate, or loves someone you don't like. It really is difficult- I know that the light of Christ shines upon the person with whom I had the run in, that is a reality, but that doesn't mean I forgive them for what they've done. 

God loves us all, without reservation. That is not an easy thing to say, or even accept, for most people; but it is if you misunderstand it. Regardless, with everything I have said, it should be clear- the light of Christ shines upon all, everyone from the Fundamentalists to the 'Christians tired of being misrepresented' page admins, unconditionally.

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'One day, we will have to stand before the God of history, and we will talk in terms of things we've done... and it seems I can hear the God of history saying 'that was NOT ENOUGH!' But I was hungry... and ye fed me not.' Martin Luther King