James M. Potter

writings on music, games, and culture

Tag: criticism

Opera: all about the voice?

There’s a sort of war being waged in the media right now. It concerns comments made in reviews of a new production of Der Rosenkavalier. These comments focus on the physical stature of one of the performers in a way that has been widely seen as inappropriate. Rather than weigh in on social media (much as I enjoy wading through shrill, nuance-less chunks of opinion), I thought I’d set down a few brief thoughts. Read the rest of this entry »


This blog has previously been devoted to the fairly specific intersection of music and video games, but I’d like to broaden the focus a little in the new year, to more general culture stuff.

A couple of years ago I used to write concert reviews for classical event listings site Bachtrack  and review website Music Web International (you can still find them if you dig around). It was a lot of fun, but I came to the conclusion that being a performer myself limited the things I felt able to say about fellow performers in such a public manner. I wouldn’t have wanted to criticise a performer only to find myself working with them later on – it would be like publicly taking a business to task before applying for a job there. And I wouldn’t have wanted those reading to suspect I was being soft on someone on account of my performing interests. There’s a very good reason that critics aren’t themselves performers. One need only look at Private Eye‘s alternately hilarious and horrifying list of far-from-disinterested parties bigging each other up in their end-of-year literary reviews to see how critics can abuse their positions of trust.

All that said, I still feel the need to flex the old critical muscles, so I’ll be posting thoughts about things I’m listening to, watching, playing, or otherwise consuming. I’ll also be writing about some of my own performance experiences. Happy New Year!