A call for Honest Bios™

A call for Honest Bios™

Jenna Simeonov

Readers, there’s a topic we’ve been pondering for a while, and we’ve decided the best way to write about it is with your help.

Over here, we read a lot of artist biographies. (Okay, sometimes we skim them, too.) Our eyes zip from one italicized show title to another, spotting role names and companies that you’ve worked with, noting phrases like “Metropolitan Opera” or “Canadian Children’s Opera Company” or “Lulu” to get a sense of what you’re up to.

And yes, for the opera-savvy, we can glean a decent amount of information about you from your bio. If you’re a baritone who does a lot of Papagenos, you’re likely a good actor with decent comic timing; words in your bio like “Opera NUOVA,” “Santa Fe,” or “Salzburg” can help us figure out what general level you’re singing at, and naming places like “McGill” or “Curtis” can tell us with whom in the industry you’re likely connected.

Sometimes, readers, after a long day of scouring information on opera singers, we start to bemoan the fact that their bios don’t really tell us anything about them. If any of you know an opera singer personally, go read their professional bio right now. Who is that person? They seem busy, but it’s not clear why anyone should go and hear them sing.

It’s a bit funny that the same biographies which go up on artist management sites, and are included with photos and a CV in a singer’s audition materials package, are the same bios that go in show programmes. Not every opera-goer knows the significance of a La Scala debut or a change from baritone to tenor; do these kinds of professional bios really give listeners an idea of who they’re hearing onstage?

Wouldn’t it be great if singers had a second version of their bio, one that was totally honest? So honest that it were comprehensible to the average listener, and made them curious to know more about you?

We’ll admit it: we actually tried to write hypothetical “honest bios” a few times, but it felt sort of strange writing about fake people who were obviously based on real people.

So, readers, here’s where you come in.

We’re putting out a call for Honest Bios™, submitted by you.

Send us the “honest” version of your proessional biography, and tell the average opera-goer a bit about yourself; you want to make them more interested in hearing or seeing your work, in case that bit wasn’t clear.

Email your Honest Bio™ to [email protected] (and if you’d like to publish it anonymously, please let us know), or leave it in the comments section below. If we like it, we’ll publish it on the site!


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