Aretha Franklin sets out to discover the next great opera singer
Not sure what to make of this news item from NPR: The Queen of Soul wants to find the next Queen of the Night -- or Aida, or Calaf, or whatever.
The incomparable Aretha Franklin, who once electrified the hell out of folks when she stepped in for Luciano Pavarotti at the 1998 Grammy Awards and sang his signature aria, "Nessun dorma" (I cannot tell a lie -- I was hooked from her subterranean octave drop in the second measure), has announced a contest for aspiring opera singers.
She told NPR that she would "like ...
to see some younger singers come along and take [the] place" of such notables as Leontyne Price. Jessye Norman and Barbara Hendricks. Franklin will sign winners to her own label, Aretha's Records, and offer career support.
Unlike the typical opera competition, there apparently will be no jury, just Franklin.
Singers between the ages of 18 and 40 are invited to send demo recordings (CDs or those ancient things called cassettes), along with an 8-by-10 head shot and resume. Mail to:
c/o Thav, Gross, Steinway & Bennett
30150 Telegraph Road
Bingham Farms, MI 48012
There is something odd about this venture, given that classically trained singers are being asked to compete for the favor of an artist from a different genre. Then again, that artist is a cherished legend in her own time, so her offer cannot be dismissed lightly.
Will a nod from Aretha help a winning vocalist get into the Met? Probably not. But it could be a cool chapter in the life of any aspiring singer.
While you're preparing your entry, here's a little inspiration: