And now, going on a year and a half later, the post still draws hundreds of hits each week, chugging along like The Little Post That Could.
I felt I had said all I had to say on the subject, but OH NO: today I encountered a little item on the World Wide Web so bizarre, so irrational, that I knew I couldn't let it pass. I had to bring it to you Dear Readers.
Some of you will be as appalled as me; others will cheer the author of the item and believe I have been proven wrong.
The item in question is found on a website called the-top-tens.com, a compendium of apparently random lists of top-ten this and top-ten that. The list I found is called The top 10 greatest female opera singers. That list includes a reasonable batch of names, somewhat predictable for the most part: Maria Callas, Renee Fleming, Diana Damrau, Monserrat Cabelle, Joan Sutherland and so on.
The fun begins when the (anonymous) author goes on to favor us with a list of additional names; candidates who didn't make the short list of ten, but still deserve mention.
The blood began pounding in my temples when I came to No. 17:
NO! NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NOOOOOOOOO!!! *pant pant pant*
Before I proceed with this latest rant, let me be clear: I have nothing - not a thing in the world - against Miss Evancho. I hold no grudge against her, have nothing critical to say about her personally, and wish her all the best. In fact, I just got home from seeing the new Robert Redford film The Company You Keep, in which she does a great job in her supporting role. As far as I know, it's her acting debut on the big screen and she's excellent.
Below Miss Evancho's name appear three comments evidently left by readers. I quote them in full:
Remove the names and compare the voices. The fact that she is placed on this list below artists unknown outside opera circles is a travesty that time will certainly cure.
Very outstanding little girl with the voice of an angel.
What a voice and a personality as well, all at 11 years old. This wonder of the age is going to make so many Music lovers so happy.
Now the part that really blows my mind: here are some of the singers ranked BELOW Jackie Evancho; singers who, it was felt, didn't quite measure up to her brilliance:
- No. 19: Elina Garanca, the current Carmen at the Met;
- No. 20: Jessye Norman, peerless interpreter of Berlioz, Mozart and Wagner;
- No. 21: Leontyne Price. Wait, what? No, WHAT??
Want to know who finished dead last at No. 32? Kirsten Flagstad.
Yes: Flagstad was ranked almost twice as low in the poll as little Jackie Evancho.
What is wrong with people? Why are some people such idiots? Miss Evancho belongs in this list like a miniature pony belongs in the Kentucky Derby. Just as, regardless of her excellence in the Redford movie, she should not be ranked ahead of Katherine Hepburn and Meryl Streep on the list of all-time greatest actresses.
No, seriously, what is wrong with people???
Stop the madness! Read my viral blog! Help stamp out child-singer idolatry!
I'm all for sensible gun control and immigration reform, but first let's get a handle on this crisis: would someone please sponsor a bill to mandate background checks on opera singers? How about one of those signs like at the roller coaster gate: "You must be this tall - and be this old - to sing Musetta's Waltz".
Okay, all done venting now!
My book THE OPERA ZOO: SINGERS, COMPOSERS AND OTHER PRIMATES is available from Kendall Hunt Publishing. Order online or by phone from customer service: 1-800-344-9034, ext. 3020. Also available at www.amazon.com