If you have even a passing interest in classical
music, and opera in particular, you cannot afford to go past Channel
4ís Operatunity. Screened in 2003, this two disc compendium
of a high-brow version of the Idol-type talent shows is
entrancing vision. An initial 100 undiscovered, aspiring opera
singers compete for a chance to sing Ďfor one night onlyí with the
English National Opera (ENO). The first three episodes quickly
whittle through the hopefuls, until the final two are left.
There really isnít much more to say about this
show. Itís just good viewing, but only if you like the music. If you
donít, I caution you to stay away. Some opera purists might be
turned off by the news that the ENO performs works only in English
and so hopelessly beautiful arias we instantly recognise are
rendered in English. This is only a minor problem for me, because
getting amateur singers to sing in Italian, German or whatever it be
for the purposes of a reality TV show is an unnecessary burden. The
disc also contains a follow-up episode about the lives of the
winners after their big night, plus extended footage (close to two
hours) of the big performance.
I enjoyed myself watching this and the strongest
point is the warmth and strength of both the competitors and the
crew from ENO who shepherded them along the arduous learning curve.
One minor drawback would possibly be the sound on the disc, which is
only stereo. Surely in this context, 5.1 DTS would be fantastic!