Reality show on British TV: Pop Star to Opera Star
Well, I'll say this for British TV -- at least they recognize the existence and appeal of opera. The latest manifestation of a reality/talent show over there is called Pop Star to Opera Star, debuting Jan. 15 in ITV.
The gimmick: Pop singers are mentored in the art of singing a few opera arias. The mentors include one of today's big-name tenors, Rolando Villazon, on the mend from throat surgery that curtailed his booming career. His participation provides a remarkable level of respectability for this project.
Make that the main level, really, since the other mentors include
crossover tenor Andrea Bocelli (his ardent fans may not notice or care, but this guy isn't really close to being a top-notch opera singer) and another crossover sensation (at least overseas) named Katherine Jenkins, who doesn't appear to have any substantive operatic credentials.
It all sounds like a half-hearted attempt at going operatic, but it's still more than you'd ever get an American commercial TV reality show to do, so that's something, I guess. Rupert Christiansen offers a preliminary assessment of the show in an article Monday in the Telegraph.
PHOTO OF ROLANDO VILLAZON © Felix Broede / DG, COURTESY OF ROLANDOVILLAZON.COM