Tara, Tamara, and Jamie: on body stereotypes in opera

Tara, Tamara, and Jamie: on body stereotypes in opera

Jenna Simeonov

Remember the old(ish) story about Irish mezzo Tara Erraught getting fat-shamed as Octavian at Glyndebourne this summer? They called her “dumpy” and “chubby”, and the lovely Alexander Chancellor at The Spectator added, “it is time that opera singers stopped rejoicing in their fatness and joined with the rest of mankind in the great battle against obesity.” Nice. Anyway, in one of her series of awesome and smart videos, entitled Tammy Talks, soprano Tamara Wilson sits down with mezzo Jamie Barton to talk about body image in the opera industry. I had the brief chance to work with Tammy when she was in Toronto singing Rosalinde in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Die Fledermaus, and she proved hilarious, smart, and a seriously solid singer.

I like Tammy and Jamie’s take on this issue of operatic fat-shaming. It’s more than the issue of a stage-appropriate physique; it really comes down to shaking off critics and finding out how to be happy. Imagine that! Anyway, have a watch of the video below (this is the first of two parts, and you can watch the second one here, and have fun perusing the rest of Tammy Talks at her YouTube channel, EXIT STAGE LEFT.



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