Laura Bretan: How dare you be happy
  • Laura Bretan: How dare you be happy
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

Here we go again with the surprise “opera” singer on a talent show. America’s Got Talent just revealed Laura Bretan as the latest Jackie Evancho or Paul Potts or whats-her-name, the Scottish woman who sang I Dreamed a Dream.


Laura Bretan

13-Year-Old Opera Singer Gets the Golden Buzzer — <em>America's Got Talent</em> 2016 Auditions

13-Year-Old Opera Singer Gets the Golden Buzzer — America's Got Talent 2016 Auditions

Laura Bretan is 13 years old and now finds herself in the spotlight on primetime television and also being shit-talked in comment sections by every failed opera singer in the country. These opera singers always feign concern for a young singer who is doing too much at an early age. They fear (secretly hope) that she will ruin her voice and destroy what could be a decades-long opera career on the world stage.

First of all, there about 26 people who have opera careers that last decades on the world stage. Second of all, she’s now on the world stage for at least a year. Does anyone want to admit how difficult that is to pull off?

Having an opera career in the provincial theaters of Wichita, San Jose, and Naples, Florida is almost impossible to accomplish, so why be concerned for a youngster who loves opera and has made it? She is just that. She’s a young singer who loves opera and she has made it.


Beverly Sills at 8 years old

Sills sings "Arditi: Il bacio" in the short film <em>Uncle Sol Solves It</em>

Sills sings "Arditi: Il bacio" in the short film Uncle Sol Solves It

Do we really want to get into how many young singers love opera and never see the stage? Not having a career and not singing on national television for tens of million people is normal. Singers who want to criticize Laura Bretan can take solace in the fact that they didn’t ruin their nonexistent career by singing music that was inappropriate.

Singers can sing the wrong music in the right way for their voices. I think Laura Bretan sang quite well. I didn’t sense that she was straining or forcing the voice. I sensed that she was nervous, but who wouldn't be? She sang a dramatic tenor aria, so it’s not as if she is ruining herself for the soprano rep.

For those who think that kids singing too young will ruin their chances at a career, I give you an eight-year-old named Beverly Sills. The recording quality masks most of the overtones, but I assure you this isn’t a “healthy” voice for a little girl. Or is it?

  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it


fluffydax July 8, 2018 @ 9:45 a.m.

Beverly Sills made a few public appearances when she was 8 years old, but her parents wisely "retired" her, let her be a kid for a time, and when she was ready, got her a good teacher. When she emerged in the public eye again, (except for a few performances as a teenager) it was as a fully trained adult singer. She did not have a recording career and a live concert career, the way these little "opera kids" have these days. Also, Sills, as a child sang a few opera arias, but they were ones, which if not completely suitable for her child's voice, were light and within her vocal range. She did not sing the dramatic tenor aria, "Nessun Dorma" or other music inappropriate to her age and vocal skill. Opera is written to be sung by adults, with fully mature voices, not by children. There are a few small children's roles, like Feodor in Boris Godunov, but otherwise the roles are for adults. Even Feodor is sometimes sung by an adult mezzo-soprano or countertenor. Recording execs and concert entrepreneurs get hold of these young kids who sing opera arias on TV talent shows, and exploit them to make money, not caring if the kids get the proper training they need or if they sing age and skill level inappropriate music. I resent the fact that Garrett Harris has stated that people show concern for the voices of these young kids are only "feigning" concern. I'm a trained singer, and I happen to care what happens to these children's voices. They might be the opera singers of tomorrow (or the pop singers or whatever genre in which they choose to sing), and it would be a terrible thing to waste a voice. Bad vocal technique and singing material that the singer isn't ready for can badly damage or ruin a voice. Children's immature voices and bodies just aren't ready for the rigors of singing opera. One vocal professional said it best when he stated that these little opera kids are "writing checks that their bodies can't cash". So yes, I don't think little children should be singing opera, and having careers singing in concerts and on recordings at such a young age, and especially not without the proper training. Many voice teachers won't even begin training students until they are at least 16 or even older. The promoters and recording execs who take advantage of these children should be ashamed of themselves.


dwbat July 8, 2018 @ 10:34 a.m.

Nobody ever said the music industry was a nice business. it's definitely not.


Sign in to comment

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader