in defence of beauty

I only recently found out about the existence of the twenty-nine year old Russian soprano, Aida Garifullina. Now let’s face it – videos on youtube of classical singers performing inspire the most comments from a peanut gallery of viewers who have yet to take a singing lesson or set foot on a stage. They all long for the days when good singers were still alive (apparently there will never be one again). The worst of all is this: some of Ms Garifullina’s videos have inspired a plethora of misogynistic (= strongly prejudiced against women) comments that come down to ‘she’s only a pretty face and therefore has no talent’. (One often sees this in the world of academia as well – if you blow-dry your hair and put on make-up you can’t possibly be a good professor.) Ms Garifullina has put in the years of hard training and devotion. She is not a bimbo with a vibrato, discovered by the likes of Russia’s got Talent, receiving accolades based on sympathy for a having a deceased pet or family member. She was the 2013 winner of the prestigious Operalia competition and is an ensemble member of the Vienna State Opera. Her rendition of Musetta’s aria from Puccini’s La Bohéme is by far my favourite.

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