Prominent singers come out in support of colleague attacked for stature rather than voice.

The opera community is up in arms after five senior critics made adverse comments about Irish mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught playing Octavian in the new Glyndebourne production of Der Rosenkavalier.

The personal remarks ranged from Rupert Christiansen in The Telegraph who labelled her “dumpy of stature” with an “intractable physique” to The Guardian ’s Andrew Clements who described her as “stocky” and “miscast”. In one particularly blunt comment, Richard Morrison in The Times branded her “unbelievable, unsightly and unappealing”.

Many on social media were quick to leap to Erraught’s defence, and the fact that all five critics are middle-aged men has not gone unobserved. Meanwhile, three prominent singers have published scathing critiques of the opera media’s willingness to pander to what they see as modern society’s obsession with body image.

Writing in The Guardian, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston asks: “How, then, have we arrived at a point where opera is no longer about singing but about the physiques and looks of the singers, specifically the female singers?”

Johnston also takes exception to the fact that...