I have making youtube videos for a long time and now I have more than 2,000 videos. Mostly opera parody, chansons, lieder, zarzuelas, and many songs from around the world. So far I sing in 36 languages and only few of them are good and most of them are just, my style, which is voice with no training, and on top of that, I can't read music.
Recently there's an Opera article about me, and one of the writer in Seattle said "there's nothing new in the past 5 years" - and this sentence stuck in my heart since. The production of opera youtube is now diminishing but replaced by simple art songs like the attachment below. It is an example that although it is short, it took me few days to learn it (without the score). Myself is about evolution, not revolution.
So at 3 in the morning today, I woke up and asked myself, why I am doing all of these (spending so much money with no payback). From economic stand point, artist like me are a perfect example of not able to save money (but who cares about the money). And now that there are less and less viewer on my channel, I keep saying to myself:
I am doing this FOR ME. I study almost everyday to channel my creativity through music, cooking, painting, gardening, and many more. Music is just one of the outlet in the last 10 years period. Before that was painting. So what is next? God only knows...
I think when I am gone from this earth. I can be remembered by my friends through my art works or my music." Maestro Wenarto.
Maestro Wenarto is a YouTube celebrity extraordinaire. There is no one else like him anywhere on YouTube, He is a one off and very special. He does opera his way. He loves it and is not afraid of it. Make no mistake this man knows his opera and he knows what he is doing and yet he feels that he gets little recognition. I am afraid for a creative artist deferred gratification is still the order of the day. One gets it when one is dead but even so artists do their own thing regardless thank goodness.
I know exactly how Wenarto feels. I feel exactly the same. I make original short YouTube videos of Leider in a very untraditional way. I used to do this with opera and ballet. I get little or response yet a YouTube featuring my local master butcher , and believe me he is an artist at his work gets 100,000 hits although my rendition of 'Daisy, Daisy' didn't meet today's young audience's approval who had never heard of this Victorian ditty.
Like Wenarto I do it because I love Lieder, opera and ballet and fine art and I want to share my love with my friends today. Art or music from a previous age needs constant renewing, Shakespeare is a good example. 'Hamlet' is cut and refreshed and made relevant to the age, everyone can see today that Hamlet is Gay that is why he shuns Ophelia and he dies in Horatio' arms, maybe someone should do the same with the Ring. Chereau made a start.
Wenarto does this. Some of his YouTubes seem fun on the surface but some like his 'Erwartung' are so clever and so creative. He used hands to describe the forest, a sea of living hands, and I learned only recently that is what Schoenberg had wished for.
Creative artists push artists to push art forward , using past models as a base. This is going to be difficult in future if copyrights are locked up but this is how it works. Opera needs to be brought into the 21st century and so does art song if it is to survive because even a thriving art form will die as the traditionalists die out.
The world needs artists like Wenarto, a he is an artist, to stop our complacency and make us think. We should appreciate these people but we don't.
We do projects because we need to express our passions. Culture is learned and shared. My last passion is Schubert's ''Winter Journey, yes I use an English title as the majority of my friends speak English and I want them to know what it is about and I sing it in English too and I orchestrate in a modern way because this is what this work says to me today, not hundreds of years ago.
But will it get viewed? Yes by a few, and I get the occasional comment that makes one feel it is worthwhile but not in my lifetime. I have decided to try and finish it, all 24 songs and I am going to devote Fridays to it."
Maestro is a master. It is a pity he is not running the Met and he needs encouragement.