Wednesday, February 20, 2008

An Ovation for Divas

Ovation's reality series hits high notes.

Has anyone else caught Bathroom Divas, a charming little Canadian reality show for opera fans that Ovation TV is showing this week? I turned on the first episode by accident Sunday night, which consisted of American Idol-style auditions, minus the brutal commentary of a Simon Cowell-esque judge, and was instantly smitten.

It wasn't so much the voices of those auditioning that won me over — although a lot of those people could really sing — it was the passion that they had for opera. Many were seemingly ordinary folks — doctors, nurses, even a construction worker — but they had such enthusiasm for an art form often considered stodgy and high brow in our pop-culture-hungry society that it was infectious.

Since it's the second season for this show, I may be a little late arriving on the scene, but I'm eager to see which one of the remaining three contestants will get the chance to perform with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. My favorite is Paul, the construction worker–tenor with two children who's never seen a live opera.

And I really think the producers of Grease: You're the One That I Want could learn a thing from this show if they're planning any future installments. Bathroom Divas incorporates the "boot camp" structure into the entire show. We see excerpts of their singing (and dancing and stage combat) lessons during the course of each show. (It helps that there are only six finalists.) When it comes time for them to do their final performances before the judges, we don't even see them in their entirety. So the emphasis is on the process as much as the end result.

That helps relieve some of the monotony that made me grow weary of Grease long before Max and Laura were declared the winners. Of course Grease had to show the performances in their entirety because viewers were voting, and Bathroom Divas is more like Project Runway in that a panel of experts picks the winner. But that's another improvement that the producers of Grease might want to consider.

1 comment:

Joyrenee said...

I, too, ran across this show by accident and was mesmerized and captivated by it. Somehow opera seems so much more fascinating and wonderful when presented this way. Also, it was wonderful to hear the wisdom of the voice coaches. Bravo!