Some weeks back I commented — maybe just a little brattily — on the Fat Matter. Which provoked this, from a very fine professional in the vocal music world:
I actually agree with what you wrote about the “fat issue” though I don’t think the Planet Debbie should have been bought out or let go from that production of Ariadne. The friggin’ costume could have been modified. That’s just fairness and non-discrimination. This was not a new production, after all. The whole thing was avoidable, and I think Covent Garden handled it shamefully–now they’re taking a lot of heat for it. Meanwhile, Debbie waited a year and has made herself into a national heroine just at the moment she’s releasing a new CD. Such is our world. “Hairspray” comes to opera…..Once again, the core issue gets ignored: Debbie is a dull singer with a good voice but no sense of phrase shape or musical arc. (I actually walked out–no, staggered out of her Ariadne performance because it made so little musical sense to me that I thought I was losing my mind.) I don’t care so much if she looks like “The Moon and I” but I have never been able to stand the way she (doesn’t) make music. The first time I heard her she lumbered through “Ocean, thou mighty monster.” It was what [critic’s name suppressed] would have called, as he always does, “glorious”–i.e., loud, secure, and unvaried. After 90 seconds, I muttered, “Oh shit, this is going to take forever.” Ocean in question seemed to be the Dead Sea.
Give this man a blog!
\And I have to say that I agree. I’ve never found her a compelling singer.