Friday, October 1, 2010

Prima Donna Does Not Mean “Before Material Girl”

Dear AriaGirl:
I’ve heard people use the term
prima donna for female opera singers. Is this just another term for sopranos?
Albert H.

Dear Albert:

Not at all! The term is Italian for “first lady.” For guys, it’d be primo uomo. The term was always given to the leading lady, who was usually a soprano. Now, we all know there are nice sopranos (and mezzo-sopranos) out there. But over the years, the opera world has seen its share of temperamental singers (male and female!). So today, the term is usually used to describe someone who’s vain or difficult. Personally, I’d love to reclaim the term, and make it mean “amazing, down-to-earth female opera singer.” Who’s with me?

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Ciao for now!

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