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HSG
4th June 2010, 10:31
<br>Gorgeous plus-size model <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/karen.htm" target="_blank">Karen Vermeiren</a> (Ego's Models, Holland; Network Models, Belgium) has attracted an avid following among fans of Classical beauty, and with good reason, given her gorgeous face and luscious, size-16 figure. However, Karen leads a double life, and when she is not showcasing full-figure fashions, she is cultivating a distinguished career as an operatic soprano.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kv/kv04.jpg"></center><p>Alas, aficionados have had few opportunities to hear Mrs. Vermeiren in performance--till now. A Karen Vermeiren YouTube channel recently debuted on YouTube, and it already features two demos of Karen singing famous soprano arias. Although the German operas of Wagner and Weber represent the summit of this art form, be sure to give these demos a chance, as they represent powerful moments from two of the most popular Italian and French operas.

The first video features Karen singing <i>"Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore"</i> from Puccini's <i>Tosca.</i> This aria appears near the end of Act II, after the malevolent Baron Scarpia, Rome's chief of police, has offered Tosca a chilling proposal: either she will yield to his lustful desires and become his mistress, or he will execute her lover, whom Scarpia has imprisoned. Frightened and desperate, Tosca asks God how He could have allowed her to be facing such a dire fate. The following is a serviceable English translation of <i>"Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore."</i> Tosca sings:<p><blockquote><i>I have lived for art, I have lived for love,
and never harmed a living soul!
In secret I have given aid
to as many unfortunates as I have known.
Always a true believer,
I have offered up my prayers
at the holy shrines;
always a true believer,
I have laid flowers on the altar.
In my hour of tribulation
why, O Lord, why
hast Thou repaid me thus?
I gave jewels
for the Madonna's mantle,
and offered my singing to the starry heavens,
that they might smile more brightly.
In my hour of tribulation
why, O Lord, why
hast Thou repaid me thus?</i></blockquote><p>And here is Karen's moving performance. Even without sets and costumes, the passion and beauty of the music comes across, thanks to her gorgeous soprano voice.<p><center><object width="600" height="364"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/c-vUUVPahF0&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x3a3a3a&color2=0x999999"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/c-vUUVPahF0&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x3a3a3a&color2=0x999999" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="600" height="364"></embed></object></center><p>Anyone who is captivated by this music and is interested in hearing the opera as a whole is directed to Herbert von Karajan's 1980 recording for Deutsche Grammophon, which is indisputably the definitive version of this work.<p><center><a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000001G5K/thejudgmenofpari" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kv/tosca01.jpg" border="0" title="Click for product page" alt="Click for product page"></a></center><p>You will never experience a more passionate performance, or hear Puccini's orchestration rendered with more awe-inspiring power.

- <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000001G5K/thejudgmenofpari" target="_blank">Click here for <i>Tosca</i> CD</a><p><center>* * *</center><p>The second video finds Karen singing <i>"Je dis que rien ne m'Úpouvante"</I> from Act III of Bizet's <i>Carmen.</I> This piece is, in fact, not performed by the opera's eponymous gypsy seductress, but by the sweet village maiden MicaŰla, who vows to save Don JosÚ from the fickle seductress Carmen, whose iniquitous charms have ensnared him. Here is an English translation of the words to the aria:<p><blockquote><i>I said there was nothing could scare me,
I said I'd stay here all alone tonight;
But though I try to act so bravely,
Yet in my heart I die of fright!
Here on this dreadful mountain
I'm along and afraid, but wrong to be afraid!
You'll give me courage and protection,
For you are by my side, O Lord!
I shall meet that creature at last
Whose wicked cunning I can see,
Led astray to crime and dishonour
The man who means the world to me!
A dangerous woman and a beauty!
Yet I will never be afraid!
I'll tell her the truth when I face her,
Ah, for you are there protecting me.
Watch over me, O Lord!</i></blockquote><p>This aria provides a fine complement to the <i>Tosca</I> passage, above, as this too is an address to God--a prayer, as it were--except in this case, the singer does not reproach the Almighty, but rather, humbly asks the Lord for guidance and protection. Here is Karen's rendition:<p><center><object width="600" height="364"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/ah2WY6bzyIM&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x3a3a3a&color2=0x999999"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/ah2WY6bzyIM&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x3a3a3a&color2=0x999999" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="600" height="364"></embed></object></center><p>For an unsurpassable <i>Carmen</I> experience, be sure to select Karajan's acclaimed film version of the opera, which is now available on DVD:<p><center><a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0007P0LN4/thejudgmenofpari" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kv/carmen03.jpg" border="0" title="Click for product page" alt="Click for product page"></a></center><p>Those who would prefer an audio-only recording cannot go wrong with Karajan's 1983 <i>digital</i> set, available from Deutsche Grammophon, which offers a complete performance of the opera, even including the spoken recitatives:<p><center><a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000001G4J/thejudgmenofpari" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kv/carmen01.jpg" border="0" title="Click for product page" alt="Click for product page"></a></center><p>Deutsche Grammophon also offers a more affordable highlights version of Karajan's recording, which includes all of the opera's finest music (including the celebrated "Prelude to <i>Carmen</I>") on one CD:<p><center><a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000001G52/thejudgmenofpari" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kv/carmen02.jpg" border="0" title="Click for product page" alt="Click for product page"></a></center><p>You will never hear finer versions of <i>Carmen</I> than these definitive renditions.

- <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0007P0LN4/thejudgmenofpari" target="_blank">Click here for <i>Carmen</I> DVD</a>

- <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000001G4J/thejudgmenofpari" target="_blank">Click here for <i>Carmen</I> CD (complete)</a>

- <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000001G52/thejudgmenofpari" target="_blank">Click here for <i>Carmen</I> CD (highlights)</a><p><center>* * *</center><p>What a pleasure it is to finally experience the beauty of Karen's voice--which, as it turns out, is a perfect complement to the beauty of her figure. We wish her the greatest success with her operatic career--<i>almost</i> as much as we wish her continued success with plus-size modelling.

- <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/karen.htm" target="_blank">Karen Vermeiren galleries</a>

Erika
4th June 2010, 20:16
I can't remember if I actually got around to mentioning the fact that opera is abundantly populated with beautiful, full-figured sopranos. It's the norm. I'm just so glad to see this thread. Opera is the one venue where the full-figured lady gets the main role, not to mention all of the amazing costumes, makeup and attention.

I love it. And Karen is beyond lovely. I also think of Chloe Agnew, especially in her video with Alessandro Rinella. PERFECT!