How to Distinguish a Bass From a Baritone | Letters | Chicago Reader

How to Distinguish a Bass From a Baritone 

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To the editors:

Why does Dennis Polkow call himself an opera reviewer when he obviously doesn't know anything about singing? He doesn't even know the difference between a baritone and a bass and I mean that literally. Dennis, in men's voices the tenor is the highest, the baritone is in the middle, and the bass has the low notes. In his review of Albert Herring [April 14] Dennis called Richard Rebilas, who is a baritone, a "bass," and called Carl Glaum, a bass with a wonderful deep voice, a "baritone"! And, he also called mezzo-soprano Julia Parks a "soprano." Denny, just because she's the romantic lead she doesn't have to be a soprano!

Not only is Dennis ignorant, he's lazy. He could have found out what voice types the parts are written for by looking at a score or a libretto (that means a script, Denny). That would have also given him the right words for his strange misquote: "Fine, except she went for a go-cart ride with a cousin one Sunday--in Lent." I didn't remember any go-carts in the libretto (or in anything I've ever read about Victorian England) so I looked it up in my libretto. The real words are: "Except she went with her cousin from Kent for a trip in a dog-cart one Sunday in Lent."

I'd love to see the Reader let us opera fans have an alternative to the two jerks in the daily papers, but Dennis Polkow knows even less than John von Rhein. It seems kind of stupid to print ignorant crap like this.

David Goldberg

Rogers Park

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