Ryan MacPherson as Alfredo and Malcolm MacKenzie as Giorgio in Glimmerglass Opera’s 2009 production of Verdi’s La traviata
Photo by Richard Termine/Glimmerglass Opera
Anne Midgette wrote the New York Times article that opera enthusiasts often refer to when commenting on the decline of "the big voice." Her article mentioned problems in the structure of the university system which may have contributed to the decline in full bodied singers, and questioned the trend towards lighter voices. Olivia Giovetti has written a counter article that recently appeared in Classical Singer Magazine, that asks whether we are focusing on the wrong question when we wonder where the big voices have gone. She comes up with a number of reasons why the industry may be looking for lighter, more agile voices. She cites examples of voices being destroyed from strain, anxiety, drug addiction and fatigue, and claims that the necessity of having a large voice for the sake of filling a big opera house is the real problem, and that perhaps we need to instead look at the small house model that had nurtured many of the voices of the past.