Is the Golden Age of the voice coming to an end as the barihunks and high-fashion divas take over?

I’ve been asked on a number of occasions if the current tendency to accentuate the visual aspects of opera signals the “end of the Golden Age of the voice”.

I think the short answer is yes.

It’s now abundantly clear that opera singers are cast not simply because their voices are best qualified for the role in question, but also because of their “looks” – even if this means that the most vocally qualified candidate for a role may be passed over.

Certainly there has been much made of this issue in the Australian press, with many column inches generated by the artistic director of Opera Australia. There is some merit in what Lyndon Terracini has had to say, and I agree with much of it. There are, however, many points of contention.

In what I think was his most ill-conceived utterance, Mr Terracini argued that we should look to Hollywood as the ultimate example of, as he put it, “people who look exactly right for that role… consummate actors… completely involved in what they’re doing,...

This article is available online for Limelight subscribers. Log in to continue reading.

Not a subscriber? For a limited time our monthly digital subscription is only $3. Subscribe now and you will save 50% and have full access to our paywalled content and digital magazines.