#177 Because of Tara Erraught.
Or rather the classical music world’s reception of Tara Erraught.
Who is Tara Erraught?
An emerging Irish mezzo-soprano.
Why is she in this blog?
Because she is currently singing Octavian in the Strauss opera Der Rosenkavalier at this year’s edition of the Glyndebourne Festival. And that is a pretty amazing accomplishment.
But when her performance was discussed by older male critics from various UK newspapers, it was not her voice that was the centre of their discussion, but her weight:
Andrew Clark, Financial Times: ”Tara Erraught’s Octavian is a chubby bundle of puppy-fat.” He adds, later on in the text, that her performance was “gloriously sung.”
Andrew Clements, The Guardian: ”It’s hard to imagine this stocky Octavian as this willowy woman’s plausible lover." (Because relationships between people of different sizes never happens, right?)
Michael Church, The Independent: ”This Octavian (Tara Erraught) has the demeanor of a scullery-maid.” (Despite being one of the two leads, her performance is not mentioned.)
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph: ”Tara Erraught is dumpy of stature and whether in bedroom déshabille, disguised as Mariandel or in full aristocratic fig, her costuming makes her resemble something between Heidi and Just William. Is Jones simply trying to make the best of her intractable physique or is he trying to say something about the social-sexual dynamic?”
Richard Morrison, The Times of London:”Unbelievable, unsightly and unappealing.”
The message is that the size of Tara Erraught’s talent and effort is less important than the size of her waistline. Women will always be valued for their looks first, then their work.
Surprisingly, this attitude does not seem to apply to men. Who would ever have dared to suggest that Pavarotti needed to go on a diet?