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British newspaper reviewers accused of 'fat-shaming' Irish singer

Tara Erraught is starring in Der Rosenkavalier in the UK.

Image: Bill Cooper/Glyndebourne Festival

IRISH MEZZO SOPRANO Tara Erraught is currently starring in the opera Der Rosenkavalier at the UK’s Glyndebourne Festival.

The show opened on Saturday night, and a number of prestigious papers sent along a reviewer.

What some of those reviewers wrote is now coming under fire, owing to their criticism of Erraught’s appearance and her perceived miscasting.

Andrew Clements in The Guardian

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Andrew Clark in The Financial Times

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Michael Church in The Independent

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Rupert Christiansen in The Telegraph

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Meanwhile Richard Morrison in The Times called Erraught ”Unbelievable, unsightly and unappealing.”

The Telegraph’s Christiansen has defended his review here, and says

So let me make myself clear: she is a very pretty girl with a delightful smile and an endearing stage presence. I would love to hear her sing Rossini’s Cenerentola or Rosina. But she cannot visually embody any conventional idea of Octavian, and I feel the production has wilfully, perhaps ironically, cast her against type.

Criticism

NPR suggests that these male reviewers fail to make similar weight-based comments about male singers. Meanwhile in an open letter written by mezzo-soprano Alice Coote on the Slipped Disc website she said:

Be kind to young singers -you may change the trajectory of their lives and career if you wound them with your words. Be kind to middle aged singers. Be kind to old singers. Be kind to all singers. But above all.. If you hear a singer with a great voice listen. Look too.. But above all LISTEN.  Without us it’s OVER.

The singing community and opera lovers in Ireland and abroad have rallied around Erraught and her performance:

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About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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