Gok Wan is better known for presenting fashion TV shows and convincing women to ‘get their baps out’ for the cameras. More recently, though, he revealed a long-term love of opera and brought out this CD of well-known opera music.
His experience mirrors my own. Growing up on a council estate, he felt that opera – and more broadly classical music – wasn’t for him. At my own school I would have been relentlessly bullied for admitting an interest in classical music. A collection of his favourite arias, this CD is Gok’s way of redressing this.
As the name implies, the majority of the 30 tracks on this two-CD set are solos sung by women. There are a few duets, giving the listener the chance to appreciate some fine male voices too. There are no real surprises here, with some of the world’s best-known arias represented, as well as some of the most famous voices, from Maria Callas to Katherine Jenkins.
This isn’t a definitive collection – it’s Puccini heavy and only features one aria from Wagner. A different person would almost certainly come up with a completely different track listing. But its collator makes no such bold claims. He doesn’t even offer it as an introduction to opera, just a collection of music he loves.
But it does serve well as an introduction, with some of opera’s most beautiful music sung by its most beautiful voices; it’s well worth a listen. It’s a shame there aren’t more male voices, though; maybe Gok’s Divos could be a follow-up?
• Price: £7.99
• Tracks: 30
• Run time: 123 minutes
• Buy from Amazon
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Gok Wan’s collection of favourite arias offers no surprises, but it is a good introduction to some of opera’s most beautiful music.