Whatever else you might say about Popstar to Opera Star, and there's plenty to be said, you might at least expect the popstars, albeit out of key and with electronic assistance, to sing things that, you know, actually come from operas. You would, however, be mistaken. What ITV are in fact inflicting on us, of a Friday night, is more Popstar to Anything That Sounds Even Vaguely Classical Star.
I mention this because of the five items in Friday's show only one (that's a measly 20%) actually came from an opera. Now, I know not every aria is appropriate to this mess, and, funny though it would be, I don't honestly expect to see anyone tackle Heil Dir, Sonne! or Ariel from Ades' The Tempest, but there's been an awful lot of opera written over the past couple of centuries, enough, surely, to sustain the show without needing to resort to film music. What's next Andrew Lloyd Webber? (Though, actually, they could include him and make a reasonable claim to opera since he shamelessly nicked the Music of the Night from Puccini.) Perhaps someone could give the producers a copy of Kobbe, they might learn something.
But, as ever, I digress. Here, tweet by tweet, as it happened, only a few hours later (once again I was at a concert), is last week's instalment of Popstar to Opera Star. Actually, the tweets being with a few mentions as I caught up with what everyone else had been saying.
As ever, the following may contain traces of irony:
Greatly enjoying catching up on #popstarstooperastars tweets from @Gert @EdibleDormouse @RuthElleson and @eflatmajor_
Apparently the consensus seems to be that Darius has a nice bottom (can't say that's something I've noticed myself)
Forgot to mention @OperaBritannia
Less delayed than last week, I should probably be going to bed, instead I'll start my live-ish tweeting of #popstarstooperastars
Tonight's whisky is a rather fine 18yr old Talisker (though, rather heretically, I think I actually prefer the 10 yr old)
The description of the panel as "our phantoms of the opera" is just loaded with dramatic irony isn't it
Why is Villazon introducing himself with a mime that seems to suggest he wants to grope a woman?
Dear me - Meat Loaf is getting rather friendly with Katherine Jenkins
And Les Filles De Cadix is from which of Delibes operas?
[And that's one nil against actual opera arias.]
@njhamer @EdibleDormouse whisky? never touch the stuff. Well, hardly ever.....
[The whisky that accompanies these tweets is purely for medicinal purposes, you understand. Extra points if you can get the reference in that last tweet.]
Hmm, her pronunciation leaves a little something to be desired
And why, please, is it praise, that she is able to sing it in the original key? Surely that is a minimum requirement in a sane world
Oh, the irony - the voiceover on these silly insets between the add breaks "the standard's really improving"
@EdibleDormouse I'm sure I'd rather hear you sing it that any of these people
God, now we have to put up with the rest of his band messing about and not singing opera properly
[Instead of any insight we had to watch the McFly chap mess around with the rest of his band.]
I know it's week four, so clearly we've exhausted all the well known opera, so the second aria is Funiculi Funicula
[Actual arias now two nil down for those keeping score. What's worse, this horrible song is infuriatingly easy to get caught in your head. Thanks a lot ITV!]
Try as I might I can't place the opera.... Wagner, maybe?
Why would anyone write a song like that? Is it used to interrogate prisoners in Guantanamo?
Katherine Jenkins saw his potential, if that isn't an endorsement to put on your CV I don't know what is!
@benanial I take it it was cut from the final version of Elektra then?
[@benanial had suggested it was composed by Strauss.]
Wow, I only know Ennio Morricone from his film music, I never knew he wrote any operas!
[Of course, he didn't. Opera arias now three nil down.]
Wow, a song so versatile that Russell Watson, Katherine Jenkins, Il Divo, Sarah Brightman and Paul Potts can all all sing it!
A standing ovation from Meat Loaf. That doesn't happen every day. Oh wait, yes it does.
YOU CAN'T CALL IT OPERA IF IT DOESN'T ACTUALLY APPEAR IN ONE YOU STUPID PRESENTER
Please excuse my shouting
@benanial I'd actually term G&S opera, and it takes a lot of talent to sing well. None of this lot could hack it
Good lord, an actual aria, from an actual opera. Good thing I wasn't drinking or I'd have spat out this 18 yr old whisky in surprise
[Figaro's aria from the end of act one of Le Nozze di Figaro - opera pulls one back but is still three one down.]
Someone on the song choosing team is going to be in trouble on Monday!
The audience are being a bit unfair to Darius, trying to throw him off by clapping along like that!
@benanial some Ades perhaps!
[We speculate on how fun it would be to watch them try some 20th century repertoire.]
Well, obviously we couldn't have two actual arias in a row, so we'll have Ave Maria instead
[And it's a whitewash - final score, opera loses four one.]
not that it matters, but in the interests of fairness the voting lines shouldn't open until after the judges have spoken
@benanial that would be so funny
[He had suggested some other interesting 20th century composers.]
"we'll get you your injection soon" Is that Laurence Lewellyn Bowen confirming that Meat Loaf is on something (it would explain a lot)
Make sure your favourite is back singing opera next week? On the basis of this week, there's at best a 20% chance of that, even if they win
And there was I thinking Mika was the string quartet for a moment (though that looked an unlikely pop star!)
Well, Danielle Denise has gone down in my estimation by a fair bit
[See for yourself, if you dare. @ OperaBritannia maintains she was miming. I'm not convinced so far as the solo bit goes.]
Not that I particularly care but why was Meat Loaf holding up a sign saying "Protest" and saying "that's for you Alan"
I mean, sure we all object to Titchmarsh hosting a show ostensibly about opera, but isn't that the pot calling the kettle black?
[If you want to know, see here.]
And that concludes where's Runnicles' live tweeting of last week's instalment of #popstartooperastar
Popstar to Opera Star, tweet by tweet, will return next week. In a shocking development, it may actually be live! The whisky will likely be this rather nice twenty-one year old Islay malt that I received this weekend as a delayed christmas present.