Sunday, October 2, 2011
The Line Between Constructive and Unnecessary Criticism
The line between constructive and unnecessary criticism partially depends on the person who is on the mound delivering the critique versus the person at bat. Personally, I can be an overly sensitive batter or returner when being delivered criticism. How a person takes criticism that is intending to be constructive depends on them. However, there is criticism which is harsh and unnecessary like a pitcher intentionally trying to hit a batter. Anne Midgette recently slammed Placido Domingo's conducting of Puccini's Tosca with the Washington National Opera. I am not advocating that he is a good conductor. I really do not know. She said that he sabatodged the performance. That is not constructive criticism. Mr. Domingo wrote a personal letter to Anne Midgette saying that her comment was out of line. She has the tendency to hit her batters with the pitches. Stefan Zucker does that too. He writes harsh criticisms of great singers. Check out his biography of Francisco Araiza for an example at http://www.stefanzucker.com/francisco-araiza. Of course people are entitled to have opinions. I would write about what could be better about Domingo's conducting. I could say that the orchestra was too loud and it was hard to hear the singers. If I read that, I could go back and conduct smaller beat patterns to solve the problem. I did not like when Susan Graham transposed an aria in Don Giovanni, but I did not intentionally take a stab at her. I am way too critical of myself sometimes of myself and others. I try not to intentionally hit batters with my criticisms. I feel like Anne Midgette does that in her reviews consistently. Constructive criticism does not mean being polite and nice. A reviewer wrote that entrances were hesitant in a concert I was in with New York Virtuoso Singers. That statement by Allan Kozinn was the truth, and it was constructive. A comment like that is helpful, because I can learn to be more confident. How we take criticism is up to us unless it crosses the line. The truth can be told without intentionally hitting the batter.