The class was pretty evenly divided between those who thought that this was a fascinating look at the past and those who thought it was an outrage. My question to the class was whether or not they felt that the performance was authentic. One argument in favor of Sting's being an authentic approach to the singing of Dowland was that he is completely untrained in the classical operatic tradition, which did not yet exist in the time of Dowland. David van Ooijen sums up the Elizabethan singing ideal:
Voice production was not an issue Elizabethans were much concerned with. Learning to sing was equated with learning to sight-read.Which is precisely how Sting manages to make this repertoire work. I feel his limitations as a pop singer combined with the clarity of diction learned from several decades of pop singing make for a convincing performance, both from an authentic and crossover perspective.
Nevertheless, as a classical music blogger, I'm damned either way I call these crossover attempts. If I like them, I'm a Philistine. If I don't, I'm an Elitist (as already has been charged in a previous opinion regarding an interpretation of Berlioz).
What are your feelings on Sting's crossover attempt? Is he breathing new life into this repertoire and bringing it to an entirely new audience? Or should he stick to repertoire more in his milieu?