Random Play by Graham Reid

Read Post

Random Play: Sing like you’re winning

81 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 Newer→ Last

  • daleaway,

    Aren't you discussing Auckland issues as though they applied to the whole country?

    Most non-Auckland media has not had blanket coverage of Trinny and Susannah. Scarcely rated a mention.

    Most non-Auckland newspapers still run obituaries, if they ever did.

    The Kiri vs Hayley nonsense was a beat up by the Herald, extracting her response to a reporter's pointed question for a magazine feature and turning it instead into a front page news "attack" in a sneaky and deliberately twisted manner.

    (If Dame K is asked for her opinion on a topic she is more qualified than most to express an opinion on, she should be able to express it just as you or I are allowed to, without talkbackland having a fit of the vapours. )

    You don't have a Kiri problem, you have a problem with your local paper going feral. Get out the choke chain.

    Since Jul 2007 • 198 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Craig,

    I think that while there might be a case to answer in terms of opera's popular appeal compared to 'fake' popera stuff, I really don't think that there is in terms of actual technical skill. I'm sure Hayley's voice is very pleasant and all that, but it has no power or 'oomph' behind it. It's not the kind of voice that can sing about lust, death, blood or dying, it's the kind of voice that has an ad on tv with her singing on a beach looking ethereal and wistful. Of course, Kiri sounds idiotic singing popular music, so it goes both ways. Neither genre is what I'd listen to at home, although I do go to the opera a couple times a year with my husband. And yes, it's more intelligent than popular music - it has to be to have withstood the test of time. Maybe that's where the difference lies - opera will be around for a long time to come, what about popular music? Anything that is destined for the mass market will always lose out on snob appeal to something that is marketed as more exclusive.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2007 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Daleaway, I think you're right. I wasn't aware of either Kiri vs Halyey or T&S until I picked up the SST today, so "blanket coverage" might be a bit of an overstatement.

    And I think that while trying to compile a hierarchy of genres is a dodgy business on so many levels, hierarchies of talent or "interestingness" might be possible. A comparison between Kiri & Hayley isn't about setting opera above the likes of Infinite Fying Kick or the Rolling Stones; it's like comparing Ornette Coleman to Kenny G. An artist can often be seen as genius by a whole range of people (who may not even like that particular genre ) if they test and redefine the limits of their art. It's about talent, imagination and inspiration vs homogenisation, predictability and marketing. Within the realm of "pop music", I think that even staunch defenders of popular culture would consider the likes of The Beatles, Kraftwerk or Prince as being on a different level from Westlife or The Feelers.

    Having said that, I don't think that Dame K has done much testing or redefining lately (if at all). The real problem with "popera" is that it's not good pop and it's not good opera.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    The Kiri vs Hayley nonsense was a beat up by the Herald

    Be that as it may, it was covered by the Australian and Asian media ( both ABC's cable news here in Asia, and the Singaporean NewsAsia channel ran it in on their widely watched news hours), and the UK amongst many others others. I was aware of it without needing to venture to the Herald (oh, and I agree with Graham , the ghost of Muldoon's infamous 'culture' comments looms large...what a pompous old windbag).

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    The real problem with "popera" is that it's not good pop and it's not good opera.

    But its not trying to be. It's a genre in its own right and shouldn't judged against either, which I think is Graham's point. I don't like it and it ain't me but Haley is bloody good at it.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    But its not trying to be. It's a genre in its own right and shouldn't judged against either, which I think is Graham's point.

    Oh, balls. The funny thing is that Kiri has one or two discs of standards and Christmas stocking fillers in her discography, and they're almost uniformly horrible. You do Gershwin -- arguably the master of the Great American Songbook -- you're begging to be compared to the pantheon of jazz and pop vocalists. Tut tut, Dame K.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    you're begging to be compared to the pantheon of jazz and pop vocalists

    Seriously, you think Julie Andrews is to be compared with John Coltrane because they both turned out a take of My Favourite Things?..strange logic.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Seriously, you think Julie Andrews is to be compared with John Coltrane because they both turned out a take of My Favourite Things?..strange logic.

    Not exactly, Simon. I own several recordings of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, and I don't believe its musical and lyrical intelligence is any less significant because it opened on Broadway rather than the Met. If you want to set on the stage as Mrs Lovett and dial it in (because you're a diva and this is all sightly beneath you but lucrative), you're going to look like a fool.

    For me Simon it's this simple: Don't condescend to your material or your audience. Coltrane and Miles Davis didn't when they "covered" Summertime; Dame K., in my view, did.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    I don't think this row is really about music.

    It's about how NZers like our cultural heroes [I refuse to use the 'I' word].

    Hayley thingummy comes across very girl next door: Dame K as being more than a little up herself.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Hayley thingummy comes across very girl next door: Dame K as being more than a little up herself.

    Well, to paraphrase Winston Churchill on Clement Atlee, Westenra is a very modest person who has much to be modest about. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Well, to paraphrase Winston Churchill on Clement Atlee, Westenra is a very modest person who has much to be modest about. :)

    And I suspect if I were Dame K's husband, I would drink it...

    But in the morning I'll be sober.

    Have to confess I can't comment on the music of either of them. I've seen photos of Hayley: also an ad for her long playing record. Same, now I think about it, for Dame K.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Jamieson,

    Have to confess I can't comment on the music of either of them.

    Well, I can vouch that Dame Kiri's singing was exquisitely beautiful last weekend at Auckland's pre-eminent popera event, 'Starlight Symphony'.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 99 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Of course, Kiri sounds idiotic singing popular music, so it goes both ways.

    Quite. I can see that "proper" operatic singing ("propera"?) is on an entirely different level technically to what Hayley et al do, but that period when Kiri decided she wanted to be a pop singer and kept blathering about Tina Turner was just embarrassing. Hayley, OTOH, can get on a stage with Blindspott or Scribe and not look silly.

    And yes, it's more intelligent than popular music - it has to be to have withstood the test of time.

    Um ... no. "Intelligent" isn't the right word. I'd pit any number of "pop" tunes against most opera librettos. It's just more musically sophisticated and technically prodigious, and has a longer tradition.

    BTW, a friend of mine who works as a field audio engineer was working on a show at the Aotea Centre years ago and happened to be near Kiri while she was rehearsing. He found it distinctly uncomfortable -- she just made too much sound.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick,

    That's one thing that opera singers have all over most other vocalists - they are LOUD without amplification.

    The Press was all over the Kiri vs Hayley thing as well - because Hayley is from Christchurch, and the Press feels almost duty-bound to defend to the hilt all things Cantabrian (best newspaper in New Zealand? - give me a break).

    And in a household where the musical tastes range from the afore-mentioned Scandinavian death metal via Flying Nun, punk, Dido, My Fair Lady, Spamalot, Sweeney Todd and Michael Ball to Wagner, Brahms and Tchaikovsky, we have one Hayley CD that never gets played, and no Kiri. We must be Philistines.

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 261 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    To me, opera is like a musical equivalent of Shih Tzu's - an over bred species designed for pampered people with an over-refined aesthetic. I mean, you can look at a Shih Tzu and understand the triumph of inbreeding that produced it, but it isn’t my pooch of choice.

    But then again I am a huge fan of electronica - a genre barely regarded as music by even the most modest of cover's band, so I’m probably just bitter.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2213 posts Report Reply

  • Alan Perrott,

    I've been reluctant to make any further comment of that damn yarn, but bugger it. She 's had her go. Context be damned - sadly I'm a shorthand user, so you'll never hear her tone of voice - but what she said was what she meant. And then some. It wasn't my intention to beat up the Hayley-Kiri thing, although I obviously knew what I had as soon as she said it, I saw my job more as giving the reader a good idea of what she was like to talk to and back that up with some context. The experience left me bewildered, all I could say was 'what the fuck just happened?' so I checked around to see if it was just me she was reacting to. Nope, it seems she's a serial offender. I still don't understand why her people were so keen on it going ahead. In future I think it would be easier for everyone if she simply passed her views down to us on stone tablets.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 438 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    And yes, it's more intelligent than popular music - it has to be to have withstood the test of time.

    Um ... no. "Intelligent" isn't the right word ... It's just more musically sophisticated and technically prodigious ...

    Maybe. But couple of points.

    1. I think the historical staying power of opera is more to do with its audience and patrons ... Europeans kings and queens, Masons, and polite, well educated billionnaires. That is, in earlier centuries orchetral music received the canonical status, funding and critical attention, while folk music just got on with it and looked after itself.

    2. Who cares? Longevity - while it may look important - doesn't really have any bearing on an audience's direct response to a work of art. It just tells you that someone else enjoyed it first.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    A lot - maybe all - good art is enlightening, or improving.

    As Dylan said of Guthrie "Here was music you could live your life by."

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Ah, screw the pair of 'em.

    Hmm.

    Well, I would go with Kiri, at a pinch.

    But I'd be thinking of Hayley.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Maxine Campbell,

    Yes, James. Maybe not "morally uplifting" but I've always found it impossible to sustain a foul mood if I sing. Everyone within earshot may go into a tailspin, but for me singing seems to be "morale-ly uplifting". Maybe that's why we sing to fractious kids.

    Hamilton • Since Dec 2006 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Spinner,

    Having had, over the years, the misfortune of being involved backstage at several performances given by kiri, operaNZ productions, opera in the park, her private 50th birthday pig-circus, I can honestly sayi believe she is the bloated arrogant pompous rude condescending vile cow that you can well imagine she would be. Amoung some of the gems of behaviour i have witnessed I have seen her spit her chewing gum into the outstretched hands of berated and abused dressers/wardrobe staff, i have seen her walk past and deliberately ignore her awestruck, proud as punch relatives, whom she kept waiting for an interminable time in the Aotea foyer after a performance, in order to schmooze some tosser she had obviously determined was of more value than her cuzzies from down the line.I have watched her swan about her "estate" in the Bay of Islands like some cross between cruella deville and Penelope Keith's "Margo" from "The Good Life" whilst the local maori "serfs" scutter about avoiding disturbing her with their presence....whilst still having to serve her needs such as housekeeping and groundskeeping...and trying to set up her 3 day birthday celebrations of hideous indulgence and excess. All the while trying to portray her persona of "just a good kiwi girl dun good"......
    I have also witnessed Hayley's backstage behaviour and have seen nothing of such revolting behaviour or attitude from her whatsoever...
    Personally i prefer opera to popera but with having seen kiris true nature i find it impossible to even listen to her (fantastic voice i agree) without having a strongly negative response....
    This is the pompous cow who once declared she would never perform in NZ again untill it had a decent venue for her to perform in...and where did she first perform once she did return after that comment???....at the first of what became the opera int he park/starlight symphony annual events....in the Domain??? ok so if a scaffold stage set up in the corner of the Auckland Domain was an adeqaute venue for her to deign to come perform in was she not aware it has been there for a hundred years or more??? and then she goes on to perform at that respected acoustic masterpiece, the Aotea centre!?!?!?! i mean really!!!....just a sad old bag!!!!

    Remmers • Since Jul 2007 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Victoria Beck,

    Kiri belted out nearly all pop songs at her Wellington farewell concert before studying in London. Her rather immature/patchy Carmen performance came a year or two later. She was then several years older than Hayley is now.

    I read that her fellow students in London were a little envious that she could whip into little old NZ and earn quite good money because many of us were happy to be non-critical and encouraging. She also received a Maori Education Foundation grant towards her studies I think.

    Hayley has a lot of time to develop her considerable talent further.

    Since Sep 2007 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Stevens,

    Opera did use to be "popular" in a wide sense. Osbert Sitwell talks of hearing farm labourers whistling Verdi in pre WW1 italy in his autobiography.
    Kiri didn't handle this well, and she may be an arrogant cow, but at her peak her voice was one of the finest around.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 230 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    It think it was Noelle McC on the National Radio afternoon show that put Hayley and Kiri back to back with their versions of that Songs of the Auvergne song. And while Hayley's version was very pretty, it wasn't much else and for my money it got blown out of the water.

    On the other hand, Kiri's been bad at pop for longer than Hayley's been uninspiring at opera. It's a bit like an apple picking a fight with an orange.


    On the loudness of trained voices, a story from the 100th anniversary Otago capping show, which the had, I recall, in the Regent Theatre. The Sextet had to explain, firmly and repeatedly, that they did not want to be amplified, and the everyone would be able to hear fine.


    I tend to think there's good art and bad art rather than good arts and bad arts. One issue might be that modern popular music tends to be rather ephemeral, so the 1% or whatever that's not crap doesn't go into a box marked 'worthy'. It might be interesting to trace the history of various art forms and genres from popular despisedness through the acceptance of the authorities to bloodlessness.

    I feel like the really wild aesthetic experiences in most fields are produced by passions fed through technique. You can get trapped by either, and the degrees of each vary from the dionysiac rock concert to, well, opera.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.