Commentary: When 'Dancing with the Stars' Gets Classical

Monday, April 30, 2012 - 04:29 PM

It used be a regular occurrence to hear classical music on network TV in prime time, particularly in the '50s and '60s. Leonard Bernstein had his own TV show. You could see Itzhak Perlman or Joan Sutherland on, for example, "The Ed Sullivan Show." Throughout the '70s and '80s, you could actually count on there being classical music on basic-cable channels. By the start of the new century, that all seemed to disappear to the world of reality shows and games.

But if you look, and not that hard, you’ll notice a quiet return of classical music to the airwaves. "America’s Got Talent" has featured a handful of classical (or semi-classical) artists. One might question their level of professionalism, but, please, let that go. Let’s all just be thankful an attempt is being made.

This week, one of the hottest shows on TV today, "Dancing with the Stars," has embraced classical music for the second year in a row. Our leading ambassador of hot hunky violin playing, Joshua Bell, will be featured Monday night playing Vivaldi’s Summer from The Four Seasons. We are told he won’t dance, but we can only hope. But you will see Welsh mezzo-soprano Kathrine Jenkins dance.

Also scheduled to sing is Jackie Evancho, the now 12-year-old American sensation. I know I hear toes curling around the classical music world over this little girl. But let’s remember Mozart was that age when he was trotted out on tour.

Also on hand will be the Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo, who once performed with Pavarotti.

Among the dance tunes you’ll hear will be a Viennese waltz, tango, a Spanish dance in addition to the Vivaldi.

I think Ed Sullivan would be proud.

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Comments [6]

concetta nardone from Nassau county

Just viewed a film last night entitled Dickie Roberts, former child star. It is a comedy and yet, a very sad commentary on exploited child stars. Very good social comment on this mad desire for celebrity. So much for Jackie what's her name popping up all over the place. How about her parents letting her be a kid?

May. 09 2012 03:36 PM

When did PRIME TIME television get so STUPID??

May. 09 2012 03:18 PM
Pat

Does anyone have the actual pieces played. Some of the names escape me and would love to download

May. 08 2012 05:26 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau county

Years ago, Your Show of Shows, would feature classical artists. I also remember Imogene Coca singing the Doll Song from Tales of Hoffman. Great fun.
But do not know why everyone gets so warm and fuzzy over Jackie whats her name or the new guys, Il Volo, who push the voice and of course sing O Solo Mio. They look like the bunch from Jersey Boys. They do not sing well. Just scream. Over-rated brats.

May. 02 2012 01:02 PM
Bernie from UWS

Mr. Forrest, you don't know what you're in for here. Evancho's army of militant fans have a way of sniffing out any article that is even slightly less-than-gushy and making hay of it.

Of course, WQXR is not going to play her music because you have standards. A wobbly-voiced fake opera singer who looks like a child beauty queen has no place alongside artists who have trained for years and perfected their vocal craft. Of course, if you mention that, you're also accused of being "elitist" by the rabid fan army. Anyway, leave her to tawdry reality shows...

Apr. 30 2012 07:21 PM
Sam from NYC

Instead of vaguely accusing Jackie Evancho or her parents of something, without actually interviewing the Evanchos or otherwise looking into the facts, why not play Jackie Evancho's album "Dream With Me", and let your listeners decide. For more information about Jackie Evancho, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackie_Evancho

Apr. 30 2012 06:22 PM

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