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Dear editor:

In a July 24 Critic's Choice, Ted Shen compares Susan Graham favorably to other classically trained singers because she "keep[s] her sights set on opera" rather than pursuing "pop fame and fortune." I can't help thinking how much less tragic it would be for a real artist like Graham to gain mainstream acceptance than it is to see classical cred applied to a pop singer. Somehow Andrea Bocelli's press agent is able to convince international audiences that a pop singer with a high C is the same thing as a classical tenor.

Speaking of tenors, Mr. Shen's compliments to the talented Thomas Hampson identified him as having that voice type. I assume it was a mistake, but after repeatedly hearing the lyric baritone's sweet crooning upper register disparaged as evidence that he actually is a tenor, it gave me a big laugh to see the accusation echoed in print.

Thanks for covering the real artists.

Brent Billock


Ted Shen replies:

Mea culpa. Thomas Hampson has always been and still is a baritone.

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