Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Opera/Archive 28

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Photos of contemporary opera singers

Wikipedia is currently on a drive to delete non-free publicity images as well as album covers that are used simply to portray an artist. (See Talk here and this Resolution.) While an editor could write to the artist's agent to ask for permission, this is not only laborious, but unlikely to be fruitful since according to the new policy, they have to agree to the following:

I hereby assert that I am the creator and/or sole owner of the exclusive copyright of WORK [ insert link ].

I agree to publish that work under the free license LICENSE [choose at least one from ].

I acknowledge that I grant anyone the right to use the work in a commercial product, and to modify it according to their needs.

I am aware that I always retain copyright of my work, and retain the right to be attributed in accordance with the license chosen. Modifications others make to the work will not be attributed to me.

I am aware that the free license only concerns copyright, and I reserve the option to take action against anyone who uses this work in a libelous way, or in violation of personality rights, trademark restrictions, etc.

I acknowledge that I cannot withdraw this agreement, and that the image may or may not be kept permanently on a Wikimedia project.


Trying for 'fan photos' of decent quality is probably equally laborious and only marginally more likely to succeed. Nevertheless, most readers of these articles want to see what the singer actually looks like. I've tried this solution on a couple of pages - adding an external link in the opening paragraph to a portrait either on the web site of the artist's agent/recording company or the web site of the actual photographer. Here are two examples: Rockwell Blake and Juan Diego Flórez. Before I do any more like this, what does the Opera Project think? Voceditenore 15:24, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

There is a strong feeling among many long-time participants that we should not externally link to material which we should really have ourselves, such as portraits of the subject. I think it makes sense to link to a singer's website, which will probably have a picture of them, but I think deep-linking to a portrait on another site is a bad idea. You might be surprised what agents/artists are willing to license, since Wikipedia is a top-ten site and tends to turn up as a first or second link on Google for many singers. The artist themself might also be contacted, since they might have rejected press photos which they could then license. They don't necessarily have to be licensing the person's main press photo, they could send a second-tier photo instead. I think we should try it, instead of assuming it won't work. Mak (talk) 18:06, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the input, Mak. I've now changed the links on those pages, plus the one for José Carreras, to their official web sites instead of the 'deep links'. However, I'm inclined to leave those official site links in the opening paragraph since opera singers don't have info-boxes (Thank goodness!) At the moment, I haven't got the time to chase up alternative photos, but I'm wondering if it might be useful to add a section to the main Opera Project page requesting "free use" photos of contemporary opera singers and listing some of the ones we need (as well as putting a notice on the talk pages for the singer articles). It might get us some offers.
The main main Opera Project page doesn't have a section on images. Perhaps you would like to draft and propose one (in a new topic)? -- Kleinzach 00:27, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
By the way, in my peregrinations around the articles for living opera singers, I found a lot which currently use non-free publicity photos or crops from album covers, all with extremely dubious or non-existent rationales. I'm going to let those sleeping dogs lie, however. I imagine the Betacommand Bot will get them eventually. An awful lot of the living opera singers' pages also read like fan pages, and lack both NPOV and references. As I find them, I tag them, e.g. Sylvia Sass. Many others, even those of quite prominent singers, in addition to sometimes reading like fan pages, did/do not carry the Opera Project banner, e.g. Angela Gheorghiu, likewise deceased 20th century singers, e.g. Beniamino Gigli, Renata Tebaldi, etc.. When I stumble across them, I add it to their talk pages. Best, Voceditenore 11:09, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Yes, up to now few members of this project have worked on singer articles and the quality can be low. I don't like the use of CD covers which look tacky quite apart from the copyright issue. The bot run hasn't got to the singers yet AFAIK, but they will have the banner when it does. With contemporary singers there is also a problem getting good sources which we need to discuss at some point. -- Kleinzach 00:36, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
I quite like writing singer articles, although I much prefer writing about 19th century singers and normally avoid working on articles on contemporary singers. Mainly because they usually require a lot of maintenance and I'd rather spend my time elsewhere. They tend to be invaded by POV edits from both fans and detractors, trivia and unreferenced gossip, and they can cause time-wasting disputes about nationality. (There was a real go-around with the José Carreras page.) I have done a lot of work on the Juan Diego Flórez and José Carreras pages because I found that previous editors had virtually cut and pasted stuff from my web site without listing the source, and then others added various disorganized bits - largely unreferenced factual errors - until the articles became quite messy. In fact, that's how I became involved with Wikipedia. Re some suggested sources for material on contemporary singers, see below. Best, Voceditenore 11:38, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
We've been meaning to look at our coverage of pre-recording era singers - which means some kind of list - but it hasn't been done so far. (The Caruso to Callas era is well covered by The Record of Singing). If you have a good source for a list we might have a go at that later. -- Kleinzach 13:59, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Harolyn Blackwell

If no one has any objections I would like to add Harolyn Blackwell to the list of contemporary opera singers and I would be interested in writing an article about her. I had the privledge of seeing her in two productions with Tulsa Opera and have been a fan ever sense. She has three different CDs out now that I love and has started to appear on several recent opera recordings. She is also one of the few opera singers who has had a sucsessful Broadway Carear as well. Interesting fact-She had the destinction of making her Met debut in the La Fille du Regiment by replacing Kathleen Battle when she was kicked out of the Met.

Someone who's sung at the Met and has several recordings sounds highly suitable for inclusion. --Peter cohen 20:17, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
There are already three red letter links to her, so your contribution will clean those up. One of these includes a middle initial, so decide how to handle that. --Peter cohen 21:41, 12 June 2007 (UTC) (signature added latter.}
I would personally just make the article about Harolyn Blackwell, and then make Harolyn M. Blackwell a redirect towards the article. I don't know if other people agree with me. I enjoyed hearing her in Candide (operetta), where I think she was credited without the middle initial. --Kyoko 20:44, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
I saw her in Porgy and Bess in 1987, and she didn't use the middle initial then. What's more, Google gives 27,000 hits on HB and 4 on HMB, and most of those look strangely like the WP redlink with the M! --GuillaumeTell 21:36, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Looks like an argument to change the article with the reference to M. --Peter cohen 21:41, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
I agree that there should be no M. Both progams I have do not use the M in her billing and her own website does not use the M either. besides how many other Harolyn Blackwells do you know? lol Nrswanson 22:41, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Excellent. Welcome to Nathan (Nrswanson). I've met Harolyn Blackwell. She's very likeable and deserves a good article. -- Kleinzach 23:11, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Well I have started the page. It still needs some work but please feal free to take a look at it and let me know what you think or make changes of your own. Harolyn Blackwell Nrswanson 05:56, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
It's good start. I nipped in and tidied up the formatting, links, refs, etc. for you. (See also Talk:Harolyn_Blackwell.) Re the discography, it would be a good idea to give the record labels too, and any other relevant info, e.g. conductor. One suggestion, on the whole when using adjectives like 'acclaimed', 'lauded', 'excelled', etc. it's prudent to footnote with a source independent of the artist's web site and/or official bio. All the best, Voceditenore 09:29, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for your help and suggestions. I will try and find some recital reviews for that section to use as resources instead. Nrswanson 14:11, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

I've added some categories (based on the guidelines on our Project page and the article on Elizabeth Futral) and a DEFAULTSORT. I see that the Category:American sopranos contains some opera singers... And see also the article's talk page - I'm not sure that linking to the Met database is a good idea, because (AFAICS) one can't point to the exact page. --GuillaumeTell 21:05, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

It's not a good idea as an external (supplementary link), because it's too generic. But, in my view, it is highly desirable in the actual references. If the article asserts that X sang 47 times at the Met or Y made their Met Debut in 2003 in Z opera, or Z opera has received 600 performances at the Met and that information came from the Met Database, it needs to be cited. Linking to the database, allows others to verify that information quite quickly. I don't find the Met Database hard to use at at all. It's been invaluable in some of the articles I've written. Just click on Key Word Search and type a singer's name in the Key Word box (you don't need to fill in any other fields), and it will give you every performance they've done at the Met including cast lists for each performance, any available photos, articles in Opera News etc. In the case of some of the very early performances, it even has reviews from the press at the time, some of which are real eye-openers. Ditto using an opera title in the Key Word search. Best, Voceditenore 06:52, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
Yes, of course it's an invaluable resource. However, as I think I said on the Blackwell talk page, put yourself in the position of someone who's never used it before. There's a lot to read if you click the "Guide" link, for instance, which is what first-time users would probably do. --GuillaumeTell 10:16, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
I've made sure that all the opera singers in Category:American sopranos will be caught by the bot. After the run we can discuss reforming the cats if you are still a supporter of this idea! -- Kleinzach 06:30, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

On deleting Messages

Nrswanson, we don't delete messages here! That is never done! I have had to revert to an earlier version. Please add whatever you like but do not delete other people's messages. That's really important! -- Kleinzach 14:56, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

I'll respect that policy for now on but I think it is a foolish rule. I did summarize what was said and did not delete any parts of the conversation that were still in issue. You are going to heve to delete things eventually or your talk page will become over burdened with irrelevent old dialogues and it will become difficult for new members to jump in on what's going on.Nrswanson 15:11, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Everything is archived. See above - we have 27 archive files. By all means summarize a discussion but leave all the messages where they are! Thank you. -- Kleinzach 15:16, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Will do! And thanks for letting me know about the massive archive. I'm not even going to bother with it though unless I run out of things to do. lol It would take a long time to sift through it. Nrswanson 15:52, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Sources for articles on contemporary singers

With the caveat that journalists can also be sloppy about checking facts, on the whole, I find the best independent sources for contemporary singers tend to be mainstream press or journal articles. The Guardian (UK), The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The International Herald Tribune, and Time Magazine all have extensive archives that are largely free (except for certain NYT articles). To access their contents quickly, go to Google and type the following in the search box:

  • "Singer's name"
  • "Singer's Name"
  • "Singer's Name"
  • "Singer's Name"
  • "Singer's Name" is also useful, although some of their content is premium. (You can adjust the search to look for free content only) And another caveat - this time on the online version of Grove. A friend of mine who has a subscription found numerous factual errors in the entry for Juan Diego Flórez. Via googling, we found that they came from an older version of the Wikipedia article on Flórez! Best, Voceditenore 11:31, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. That's useful. -- Kleinzach 13:53, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Frames for roles (Mozart’s opera)

I am putting up frames for Mozart’s opera (7 so far, will finish all when I have free time). But it looks empty because there are many missing column including date of premiere / conductor/ original singers. I hope those who have Mozart’s details could add on the empty column. I do not have any of Mozart’s opera DVD or books.- Jay 13:05, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

I assume you're referring to Apollo et Hyacinthus? I'll add something to the talk page there. Voceditenore 13:48, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
Not only that, almost all do not have original singers; while 2 so far dont have premiere dates... and of course all dont have the conductors - Jay 13:55, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
OperaGlass, which is usually pretty reliable has performance histories for the following: Apollo et Hyacinthus (I've already added that info + more to the A et H talk page); Bastien und Bastienne; La finta semplice; Mitridate, Rè di Ponto; L'Oca del Cairo; Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots Best, Voceditenore 14:24, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Bot on Singer categories

Are the following categories okay for the bot to run through tonight?

Please let me know on my talk page? Thanks!! -- SatyrTN (talk | contribs) 17:29, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. All ready. Confirmed on your talk page. --Kleinzach 23:46, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Heldentenor etc.

Need some help.. ‘Heldentenor’ is commonly used to describe the singers of leading roles in Wagner’s operas, also implies to a tenor voice of great weight, particularly strong in the middle and bottom of the voice. My question is, how do we “categorized” it? I would say Domingo is a Tenor drammatico and can also be categorized as Heldentenor too. What do you guys think? Does that mean we can add both "tenor" and "heldentenor" to his article? Ps- I am a bit confuse when come to Tenor Drammatico and Heldentenor. Can someone explain to me? Thanks - Jay 05:28, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

IMO Domingo is a spinto, or in Fach-terms a Jugendlicher Heldentenor, not a Heldentenor. In role terms it's the difference between Siegmund and Siegfried (a role that Domingo will never sing). ('Tenor Drammatico' is a term I've never heard!). -- Kleinzach 07:34, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
I'd say Domingo is basically a spinto too, but 'tenore drammatico' (not 'tenor drammatico') is used all the time in Italian writing on voice or role descriptions, often interchangeably with 'tenore robusto' or 'tenore di forza'. Typical uses are to describe the title role in (Verdi's) Otello and singers like Mario del Monaco. Even Time Magazine used the word. Best, Voceditenore 13:36, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Hehe.. I meant “tenore drammatico” (dramatic tenor).. missed the “e” twice, sorry! Uhm.. but most of (not all) Domingo’s fans (including me, of course) would say he is a drammatico. You can google on the net. Well probably, it is because of the definition of “tenore drammatico” itself - as a powerful, rich, heroic tenor. Refer Voice type, it also categorizes Domingo as “tenore drammatico” (dramatic tenor). Ok… never mind about what he is, anyway thanks for answering. I am still confuse tho`. Still can’t figure out the differences. Domingo has been acting in Tristan und Isolde; and Parsifal, roles for Heldentenor.. how could he been offered the roles if he is not? Hm…. I am not from classical music background, probably someday I would be able to tell the differences. Anyway, are there any “book for dummy” for this kind of thing? - Jay 14:13, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Parsifal is a bit lighter than the other Heldentenor roles. Has Domingo done Tristan in the theatre? Actually there have been few thorough-going, genuine Heldentenors. (To hear the real thing listen to Melchior). -- Kleinzach 14:49, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
In general, Jay, getting really detailed about a singers 'voice type', is a bit of problem. Many roles can be sung by more than one type of tenor, e.g The Duke in Rigoletto (lyric and light lyric tenors), Don José in Carmen (spinto and dramatic tenors - even some essentially lyric tenors have sung it successfully). Conversely, many tenors have regularly sung more than one role type, especially as they age. José Carreras sang both lyric and spinto roles, as did Domingo, who has also sung some dramatic tenor roles. I suppose one way of approaching it is to look at what the singer's 'signature roles' were, or what type of roles were in the majority throughout their career. But often in articles it's not necessary to get so detailed. I tend just to stick with 'tenor' and let readers follow the links. ;-) Best, Voceditenore 15:12, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Opera House--How can I help?

I got a bot-notification on one of the pages I regularly contribute to: Brown Grand Theatre -- an early 1900's opera house that is best described as an "old west opera house attempting to bring civilization to north central Kansas" ... in its own right, it truly is a magestic opera house and has been completely restored--but it's quite a ways off Broadway...

Anyway... How can the Brown Grand Theatre page support your project? Do you have a "standard layout" for physical buildings you'd like to see followed? Let me know! --Paul McDonald 06:49, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

WP has a List of opera houses. There's a big section under United States. I'd suggest picking one which is similar to Brown Grand Theatre and use it as a model, for example maybe Barre Opera House. Good luck! -- Kleinzach 07:40, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Default sort tagging help needed!

Looking at Category:Operas under letter I or L, there are a lot of operas mis-sorted under definite/indefinite articles. These need default sort tags e.g. {{DEFAULTSORT:Clemenza di Tito, La}} which puts the opera under C instead of L. Does anyone have time to help do this?

BTW We now have 779 operas restored in Category:Operas. There are probably about 200 more to be found. I don't know if anyone would be willing to undertake, say, Rachmaninoff to Richard Strauss operas? -- Kleinzach 13:00, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

I can make a start on the Is and Ls. --GuillaumeTell 16:27, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
I've now defaultsort-tagged all the Category:Opera titles still indexed under I, Il, L', La, Le, Les, The, Die and El. The T section may still look as if some titles (The Tempest, The Telephone, The Threepenny Opera) are indexed under The, but in fact they are correctly filed under Tem, Tel and Thr. --GuillaumeTell 21:17, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
I have just finished all the As. Not many needed restoring, but now nine out of the eleven compositions by composer categories under the As are now created by me. --Peter cohen 20:37, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for all the help. I have now checked S to Z on The opera corpus and we are now up to 803 titles in Category:Operas. In many sections half of all the operas had been removed so I may be underestimating the number we still haven't found. (I haven't been able to work out the way the operas were selected so there is no easy way to identify them). -- Kleinzach 10:00, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
I have now checked Gomes to Z and we have 944 titles so far in Category:Operas. -- Kleinzach 07:50, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Articles on young singers

We are seeing more and more articles on marginally notable young singers. Here are two examples that have just been created: Paul Potts "a 36 year old resident of South Wales and a mobile phone salesman . . . has an apprenticeship with Gilbert and Sullivan in Bristol . . . has appeared on national and local television and radio", and David Lara "an emerging baritone . . . recently one of the 11 talented singers chosen to train with the Seattle Opera Young Artists Company". Should these pages be put up for deletion and if so what criteria should we use? (It's worth noting that these pages are increasingly sophisticated in the way they are presented.) -- Kleinzach 01:47, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Possibly a slightly more friendly first step would be to add the {{notability}} tag to the article and wait a few days before proposing for deletion. While these articles are probably self promotion, they are probably sufficiently sophisticated not to warrant speedy deletion. Best, Voceditenore 10:06, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
Yes indeed, though I was really wondering what criteria we should use for judging these pages. Notability is not the clearest of WP policies. (It was recently used to justify a page about an opera which didn't exist.) It's also not easy to apply in the (contrasting) cases of Paul Potts and David Lara. Anyway there is now an Afd discussion about David Lara. -- Kleinzach 11:12, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
As for Potts, this diff indicates that he or his fans are causing some disruption. And though his teacher (Ian Comboy) is or was a respectable singer, I don't think that appearing on a Michael Barrymore show or in amateur opera productions (or on YouTube!) are particularly notable. The notability criteria for Music (section entitled "Others") might be helpful here. --GuillaumeTell 17:25, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Ooh, if there's one thing that really annoys me it's BrightYoungThing spam. Composers, performers, conductors, doesn't matter, they just assume they're notable, because, well, they're Bright Young Things, aren't they, dude?

Reminds me, one day we should take a crack at sorting out WP:MUSIC, which is ridiculously biased towards pop music, and does not cover classical music properly at all - the "Others" section is just not specific enough. It's not dreadful, but it should be better.

You can use the proposed deletion process - basically just add {{subst:prod|put reason here}} and an informative edit summary - for uncontroversial cases, or use AfD if the PROD tag is removed or for more tricky cases. Cheers, Moreschi Talk 18:03, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Just a note to say that Potts has apparently just won some sort of "reality" TV show, so we won't be able to get rid of him (any more than we can get rid of articles on individual Hollyoaks characters). I do think that we could at least remove his "Welsh opera singers" category, though. --GuillaumeTell 00:29, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
Ironic that David Lara has been deleted but Potts flourishes. I've removed the project banner. I see there has been edit warring on the page already, so I am not going to do more. -- Kleinzach 01:41, 19 June 2007 (UTC)