When you train classically, it’s like oiling the gears in your body. If you go ahead and sing pop music after that, it’s like pouring sand over those gears. We are not allowed to sing pop while we are training as classical singers — so no more karaoke.

-Natalie Aroyan

So is it simply impossible to do “pop” singing if you do opera? Or is it that opera instructors and singers don’t care for the music after singing opera? I’m not a singer, so I haven’t a clue.

(And yes, I’m a little quieter now. Work has begun. That means I can’t be putting things up here in that crazy, somewhat frighteningly obsessive way I managed to do in the summer.)


  1. Well, I think that’s true for some. My opera chorus work aside, I’m not really an opera singer. I have some classical training, but I do my best to keep a foot in both worlds.

    Jason and Michelle D. once heard me sing in an Easter program at my church, and the song was definitely more to the pop side (although more on the legit side of pop, if that makes any sense). And both of them commented that they just can’t sing in that style anymore.

    On the other hand, I’ve heard Adam F. sing karaoke…

    So I guess it’s different for everybody.

  2. I definitely know there are some who shouldn’t sing pop tunes! I have some of their CDs and it’s just embarrassing. But others seem to be able to do both and make it work. Okay … I guess I’m talking show tunes, not pop as in pop/rock.

    I can just see Adam singing karaoke! Wish I coulda heard it. 😉

  3. Oh, some of those opera singer musical theater CDs are just awful! Kiri TeKanawa and Jose Carreras singing West Side Story, for example…. Ugh.

  4. Yep. And I own that one. Sigh.

  5. I dislike the notion of performers placing artificial limitations on themselves. I played for awhile (years ago) in a baroque trio that included a viola da gamba. The gamba’s teacher (now a well-known musicologist/critic whom I won’t name) told him that playing “figured bass” parts would somehow be detrimental to his solo playing. To his credit, he disregarded his teacher’s complaint and kept at it.

    I NEVER got how playing one kind of music could somehow hurt another kind of music. I suspect it’s more a problem for academics than for actual performers.

    On the other hand, Mike has a good point. Going “pop” can only work if the performer has a real feeling and comfort level in that world. It’s always a little embarrassing to see classical players “slumming”.