11 Jan 10
Starting on 15th January on ITV1 at 9PM, Popstar to Operastar is a brand new series for ITV1 in which best-selling recording artists from the world of pop discover if they’ve got what it takes to perform as opera divas. Hosted by the lovely Myleene Klass , Popstar to Operastar will see the contestants rehearsing with their mentors and vocal coaches before taking to the stage for a live Friday night performance which will see one singer voted off each week. Mentored by classical hit-singer Katherine Jenkins and famed tenor Rolando Villazon, the eight contestants will be trained to perform world famous opera songs – many of them learning to not only sing in a completely different style, but also a completely different language than they are used to. After their performances the pop stars will be critiqued by a panel made up of their mentors Katherine and Rolando and two critics, international award-winning rock musician Meat Loaf together with TV presenter and Classic FM radio host Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. Those taking part are:
Myleene thinks the pop stars’ personalities are key to them being successful on Popstar to Operastar “a good voice is obviously essential but I think personality is more important. You have to be a good story teller and be able to translate extreme feelings and stories, often in other languages, to the audience and still remember your breathing.
“Their biggest challenge will be learning a completely different technique in such a short time span then having to fight the urge not to revert back to 'what's comfortable' – their pop voice - when faced with a live audience and millions of viewers. “ Myleene says she can’t wait to be involved with the series and thinks it will open the world of opera up to a whole new audience. She adds,
“It’s a series of perfect combinations for me. Classical and pop music, so both my worlds colliding into one. It’s also live TV so anything can happen as genuinely talented singers push themselves and their boundaries to see what they can achieve. “I am extremely fortunate with the projects I’m offered as they're always 'one of a kind'. I'm excited that this kind of thing has never been seen on TV before, although I've had the chance to work with both opera and pop singers and the process and techniques are fascinating. It’s no mean feat to learn a different craft and then perform and take charge of it whilst also competing. It should prove interesting and entertaining.
“Large ladies warbling with horns on their heads has sadly given opera a misguided image. It’s simultaneously expressive, dramatic, tender, fierce and bold. Irrespective of the language it’s sung in, the message is always powerful and strong. You'd have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by some incredible pieces. It’s basically a direct line tothe heart. “So this series will absolutely bring a wider audience to opera as it’s fascinating to see people challenge themselves as well as make some silly noises along the way! Plus, 'crossover classical' or 'popera' is everywhere now from Paul Potts to Susan Boyle.
“Also not forgetting tons of musicians like The Chemical Brothers are classically trained and that football fans sing along to opera all the time, probably not even realising it. TV ads and popular TV shows like The X Factor opening would be lost without opera and everyone from Kylie, Oasis, Celine Dion and Eminem have plagiarised the classical world.”
Myleene, whose debut solo classical album ‘Moving On’ entered the classical charts at number two and went on to break records in all genres, says opera could change the pop stars lives. She adds, “Well, it changed my life! My grandmother was an opera singer so I was raised on Wagner, Lehar and Strauss! I didn't always appreciate it when I was younger, but now I'm so thankful I've had it in my life. The sheer power, work and talent that's involved when singing opera is admirable and the stories, depth and characters are mesmerising. It’s no wonder that so many pop artists are either classically trained or take their influences from that world as its epic and has lasted generations.” Make sure you tune in! Popstar to Operastar starts on the 15th January 2009, 9PM on ITV1.
Learn more about Popstar to Operastar