Baring All Was Fun. I'm from a Very Long Line of Show-Offs; BODY IMAGE

Daily Mail (London), December 14, 1996 | Go to article overview

Baring All Was Fun. I'm from a Very Long Line of Show-Offs; BODY IMAGE


Byline: Monica Porter

SOME people think I'm trying to make opera sexy. That's absurd. Opera is already sexy and sensuous and full of great passions.

What I do is use appealing visual imagery to promote the power of the music.

I put glamorous, alluring photographs on my album covers, not pictures of sheep on a hillside.

And that `notorious' performance of Die Fledermaus a few years ago, when I bared all for the audience, was just a bit of fun.

I was flabbergasted by all the attention and newspaper headlines that moment of nudity received. But I was delighted that it made so many people want to see opera for the first time . . .

The traditional stereotype of the opera diva is of someone living a rarified existence, remote from the public, demanding and highly strung - in other words, a real prima donna.

Perhaps the Maria Callas generation was like that. But I see myself as more of a businesswoman, with a practical, down-to-earth approach to my job.

And I'm fiercely populist, the everyday person's opera singer.

There is nothing elitist about what I do - I just perform beautiful music that anyone can enjoy.

This belief stems from my childhood and the working-class, Yorkshire tradition in which I was brought up.

We lived in a tiny council house in a village near Doncaster and had to make our own entertainment. That was easy because I come from a long line of show-offs. Relatives would come over and gather round the piano for a bit of a knees-up.

My Dad, a railway signalman, could play almost anything, and Grandad Garrett had a skiffle band during the war called The Blackout Boys. But we could all get up and do a `turn' - playing, singing, telling jokes. We had a reputation as the von Trapps of Doncaster.

No distinction was ever made between music hall numbers, war songs such as Pack Up Your Troubles or arias such as Nessun Dorma. They were just wonderful tunes and we sang them all.

I was a born performer. At five, I used to stand on a windowsill and signal my two younger sisters to pull back the drapes - ever so slowly - and shine torches on my face like spotlights as I burst into song.

All I ever wanted was to be the centre of attention. At school I could never wait until 4pm when the orchestras, choirs and drama groups would start practising.

By 17, I knew I didn't want to remain an amateur entertainer, like the rest of my family. So I spent all my pocket money on weekly singing lessons, and took three different buses to get to them. A year later I won a place at London's Royal Academy of Music.

For all their love of performing, my parents thought the idea of earning a living from it was crazy. But they didn't call me `Have-a-go Les' for nothing. I told myself I could do it, and I did.

Operatic roles call for intense emotion and high drama and all singers draw upon their own experiences for that.

The greatest trauma in my life happened when I was in my early 20s and at the beginning of my career. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Baring All Was Fun. I'm from a Very Long Line of Show-Offs; BODY IMAGE
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.