Rarities: opera singers on designer shopping sprees

Rarities: opera singers on designer shopping sprees

Jenna Simeonov

Did anyone catch Kathryn Shattuck’s article in The New York Times, “Anna Netrebko Shops the Way She Sings: Exuberantly”?

In all honesty, we were a little irked by the headline - so of course, we read on. Shattuck followed Netrebko on a shopping trip in New York, where the star soprano could have seemed like any other “multitasking wife and mother” on West 59th street. “That is, until her sparkle-embedded Gucci sunglasses caught the sun and sprayed starbursts above the shaggy lamb’s wool collar of her Dries Van Noten coat.” Eye roll.

In an oblique plug for her role debut as Manon Lescaut at The Metropolitan Opera (onstage until December 10), we got to read about Netrebko’s visits to J. Crew, 3NY, and MacKenzie-Childs, and Shattuck pondered her questions, like, “Do you like the teddy bears and the Birkin together?”

Our first reaction to the Times’ glamour-soaked glance at one of today’s leading opera singers was a bit of lip-curling, to be sure. Most of the singers we know personally are surely not spending their time between rehearsals buying “a mountain of presents, and then I buy the suitcases to carry them in.”

Netrebko’s success is rare and extraordinary among the opera world; most artists who live solely off their performance schedule walk away with modest-to-comfortable profits after all the travel expenses, performance wardrobe, expensive scores, and hours spent with their teachers and coaches. Though they’re not rolling in disposable income, lots of them are serious, jaw-droppingly excellent singers.

With the exception of some misrepresentation of the life of an opera singer, there’s really no reason to be miffed. First of all, Netrebko didn’t write the article. And more importantly, let no one say that she doesn’t work hard for her money. (And granted, that bit about “buying the suitcases to carry them in” was about shopping for gifts.)

In truth, the tale of of Netrebko’s shopping glee is on par with any other time we hear about famous artists spending money. Any time we hear about pop stars dropping cash in Beverly Hills or actors buying each other lots of diamonds, we’re obviously not catching a realistic glimpse of the spending habits of working artists. We’re looking at the top 0.5%, the ones whose combination of hard work and luck brought them success in a fickle industry, subject to an audience’s whims.

So, shop on, Anna. And may all of the hard-working, skilled opera singers across the world someday be able to turn their glorious throats into a hot pink Birkin bag.



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