Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A rant: Katherine Jenkins, opera star?

So, when Yours Truly was a senior in high school, I campaigned for the office of Senior Class President. I ask you: does that make me a politician?

Every morning when our girl is getting ready for school, I do her hair before she leaves. I ask you: does that make me a hair stylist?

Sometimes, I make dinner ... even for dinner parties. I ask you: does that make me a chef or caterer?

If you answered 'no' to all of the above questions ... you win! TELL THEM WHAT THEY'VE WON, BOB!!!

Now, this morning, the Dancing With the Stars cast of stars contestants was revealed. And, I'm sure we all know that I'm going to be placing my votes behind Gladys Knight and Sherri Shepherd ... I mean, let's be frank: Melissa Gilbert? Gavin DeGraw? Jaleel White.... URKEL? My eyes were rolling so hard they almost got stuck facing the back of my head.

As I was working my way down the list... I came upon "Opera singer Katherine Jenkins, 31".

Then, I saw on another news organization's list, "Katherine Jenkins, opera star".

Wait one-hot-second ... back up the truck - OPERA SINGER Katherine Jenkins? Katherine Jenkins, OPERA STAR?

Thus begins my head spinning around like Regan MacNeil's.

This is so WRONG - and, let me break down why:

In order to be an opera singer, you have to sing opera. Having performed a number of operatic roles in my life, I can confidently say that, while I'm not currently contracted to perform opera, I am an opera singer. Why is that? Because I have trained and have performed operatic roles ... on stage ... in front of an audience. I am a singer who has sung operas - an opera singer. If someone called me tomorrow and said, "James, we need you to come and sing [insert bass role here] ..." I could do it.

In order to be an opera star, you have to sing opera ... and not just a little aria here and there. You have to be professionally starring in leading roles in major opera houses on an ongoing basis.

Correct me if I'm wrong - and, I know you will - Katherine Jenkins is none of the above. She is another one of those people who has an instrument which is manipulated to sound like it's open-throat singing -- Charlotte Church, poor little Jackie Evancho, of course Andrea Bocelli ... they're all in that boat. Although, to be honest ... even Bocelli has sung at least ONE operatic role.

Many times, these singers are called "classical crossover artists" - which, in itself, is quite a stretch. While I understand that "classical crossover artist" is harder to say that "opera singer", I do find it very misleading for people to call these singers "opera singers" - when clearly they're not. Regular Joe Q. Public doesn't truly understand that they aren't opera singers. I get that. And saying they are opera singers gives them a certain classy appeal. But, as an opera singer, I take offense when I mention to someone that I am an opera singer and they ask me, "You mean like Jackie Evancho... or Andrea Bocelli?"

Uh ... no.

But, how is Joe Q. Public going to know the difference when they're told that people like this Kathy Jenkins are opera singers?

And, don't even get me started on Bocelli. Remember after the 2010 GRAMMYS when I ranted about Bocelli being introduced as "legendary opera star Andrea Bocelli"? I said it then, and I maintain my position: his voice is faux. It's faux opera - it's fauxpera. And, it's true that some people wonder how I can like Il Divo and not like Bocelli - they're all "classical crossover artists" who are making their living in pop. Here's the difference - Il Divo's handlers (a.k.a. Simon Cowell), know where their place is - they're the new generation of Popera. And, while 3 out of the four members of Il Divo are actual opera singers (aka: having sung operatic roles on stage), they don't claim to be opera stars or "legendary opera singers".

Back to Kitty-Kat Jenkins ... is she a singer? Yes. Is she an opera singer? Hardly. Yes, she can haul out an aria (albeit in a much different key than the original) - but, again, that doesn't make her an opera singer. Let us not forget that a certain Aretha Franklin sang "Nessun Dorma" at the GRAMMYS in the place of an ailing Luciano Pavarotti. I think we can ALL agree that Aretha Franklin should stick to being the Queen of Soul ... And, I think Jenkins should stick to being ...

"Welsh singer, Katherine Jenkins".


Anonymous said...

To be fair - SHE doesn't call herself an "Opera singer". Its other people - promoters, etc. who use the terms. She calls herself a Classical-crossover singer.

The niche she finds herself in makes her FAR more money than singing at the Royal Opera House ever would.

Just my 2c.

BTW - I LOVE Opera - I've seen ALL Andrew lloyd Webber's! (ROTFL)

Kathleen Halm said...


stray said...

Hey, I've been officially designated "a retard" on youtube for trying to explain that four clearly very talented teenagers singing Italian pop songs do not a quartet of opera singers make. But I've only been listening to opera for thirty years, so I haven't the expertise of a major label marketing department.

But we should remember that in whichever neighborhood of Hell is reserved for record company execs who make this shite up, there is a place there for Peter Gelb.

Anonymous said...

Not sure how referring to Katherine as an opera singer would give her a "certain classy apeal". She has plenty of class as is, and I'm not sure what's so "classy" about being an opera singer.

Also not sure why Jackie Evancho was referred to as "poor little" Jackie Evancho. I've folllowed her a bit, and have seen nothing that would make me describe her that way. What are you on to that I haven't heard about?

Anonymous said...

Opera is dead. The idiots still contending it is the supreme genre' need their oil changed. Fans want to hear something pleasing to the ear, hence Classical Crossover evolved. America is just now discovering what beautiful music it is while our friends across the pond have enjoyed it for several years. CC artists do not think they are opera singers. The opera purists think CC artists are trying to be opera singers, NOT! Thank you Susan Boyle, Paul Potts, Katherine Jenkins, Andre Bocelli, and Jackie Evancho.

Anonymous said...

Opera will never die I wonder if you have ever seen a full production? To learn how to sing opera requires many years of study. This is the reason some performers take exception to classical crossover artists being called opera singers. If you ever tried to sing with an orchestra you would understand the amount of expertise and years it takes to perform opera professionally. It is an amazing art form. I encourage you to attend a production to hear as well as see the difference.

kitty said...

Anon at Feb 29, 9:09

If opera is dead, then why does the media and people like you want to call these singers "opera singers"? What is the point? You don't like opera, you think popera is better, so why not just call it this way?

Incidentally, the only people who consider opera "supreme genre" are those who call these singers you mention "opera singers". If opera is nothing special, if it's as you say "dead", then why would these singers want to be associated with it?

You and people like you seem to have double standard. On the one hand, you hate opera, you don't know it, don't want to know it, and you think it's dead. On the other hand, you insist on calling popera singers "opera singers". At the same time, you get mad when someone criticizes their singing by opera standards.

Anonymous said...

You still don't get my point.....CC fans do NOT call the artists opera singers. If you and the opera lovers would accept that fact, there would be no problem, huh? Then we would have opera and we would have Classical Crossover. To each his own!

Anonymous said...

Thank God someone posted this! She isn't really a mezzo soprano either. She just claims to be one because she doesn't know how to use her instrument to sing high notes correctly. Opera singers spend years of study to sing without a microphone slapped in their faces. If we confuse her with the likes of Marilyn Horne, a real mezzo soprano opera singer, the art form will be lost. People don't fully respect what Katherine does because it's not amazing. What Marilyn does, or even Cecilia Bartoli, another real mezzo soprano opera singer, is amazing.Katherine is like Britney Spears of the classical realm.

kitty said...

Anon at March 1st 12:57pm (couldn't you come up with some pseudonim so that it'd be easier to reply????):

I have no issues with having CC as a separate genre, and I respect that people may have different tastes, but this whole thread started because Katherine Jenkins is called "opera superstar" on national tv. As to CC fans: I've seen many of them not only call them "opera singers", but insist on the title and insult anybody who disagrees even politely. Check you tube - there are zillion videos there which use "opera singer" for performers who's never sung in opera and couldn't ever sing in opera, more on Jenkins' videos than anybody else's. Any kind of argument even very polite "X has a nice voice, but she isn't an opera singer" on a video with "opera singer" in the title results in accusations of envy, snobbery, etc. I find the accusations of envy quite ridiculous - as a middle aged engineer with no aspirations of a performing why would I envy Katherine Jenkins? Besides, why would an opera fan be envious of her and not real opera stars?

Also, out of all CC singers, Katherine Jenkins is the worst in terms of being introduced as "opera singer", "renown opera star" and doing absolutely nothing to correct the reporters. Now that she is on DWTS, zillion of articles call her "opera superstar", "opera singer", "big deal in opera world". All of these are blatant lies, yet her agents do nothing to correct her.

The One said...

"poor little Jackie Evancho?"

You make it sound like she is mimicking a grown up, when she isn't. She does things with her voice, that occur naturally. She can control her timbre, from a little girl's voice to a 30 year old, and everything in between, at will. It takes years of training to be able to do that! Jackie does it naturally!

Her vocal health is well looked after, and she has a far less likely chance of damaging her voice, than the average 11 year old.

She's kept withing strict limits, using only the healthy part of her voice, and darn, she just keeps on getting better. Imagine that.

She tours on a very limited basis, get's A's and B's in school, and her love of music and it's structure, is second to none. She does her own Phrasing, and is amazing at it, often leaving seasoned Conductors wondering, why they didn't think of Phrasing it that way. She hasn't been taught these things, it's just part of her natural Genius.

Jackie is just so much better at it than most singing prodigies. Sometimes things you obviously don't know very much about, do occur. Just because you can't understand or have never experienced nature at work, in this manner before, doesn't mean that it doesn't happen. In Ms. Evancho's case, that happening is irrefutable. You can't teach the things she knows! Not at 10-11, you can't!

Anonymous said...

"Also not sure why Jackie Evancho was referred to as "poor little" Jackie Evancho."

It's now common knowledge amongst those authors of these types of opera-snob related blogs that mentioning Jackie's name is a sure fire way of increasing hits to their page, and putting a little snipe to go along with it, does all the better.

Anonymous said...

The Jackie E fans have fan websites where they orchestrate these attacks. They scour the net for blog or news posts about her, and they discuss how to deal with the negative ones. At least they have been called violent and brutal in their attack of other opinions enough that they are now more careful and measured in their replies. Thank goodness. They are really an oddball group of typically older men with this strange obsession with this little girl.

Classical Mika said...

A quick juxtaposition of comments.

The One said

"She can control her timbre, from a little girl's voice to a 30 year old, and everything in between, at will. It takes years of training to be able to do that! Jackie does it naturally!"


"She does her own Phrasing, and is amazing at it, often leaving seasoned Conductors wondering, why they didn't think of Phrasing it that way. She hasn't been taught these things, it's just part of her natural Genius."

James said

"But, how is Joe Q. Public going to know the difference when they're told that people like this Kathy Jenkins are opera singers?"

I would take it further, using these comments as a backdrop.

With no education, exposure or real knowledge of classical singing as an artform, how is Joe Q. Public going to compare crossover singers and opera singers? These comments above are typical of others that I have seen on blogs about crossover artists, whose fans regularly suggest these singers are far more skilled than all others, even true classical singers.

To me, this has been a long road. From Brightman to Bocelli, to Jenkins to Evancho.

I don't mean to take anything away from them - they all have talent and do what they do.

Still, as education becomes less and less, understanding of classical singing becomes less and less and suddenly things fudge.

Autotune, multi-national conglomerate labels, few avenues for performances of classical or even classic music, loss of music classes, and few available instruments combine to leave us a nation in ignorance of the basic art of singing.

With all respect to Jackie Evancho, who has a pretty voice and has represented herself well, she ain't a genius. She seems to lack any interest in vocal or other musical experimentation, for example.

I mean this as no slight to Ms. Evancho herself, who simply sings the songs as well as she can within an unprecedented schedule for a child. Her music isn't my taste but it obviously is to others.

That she is identified by fans as a genius more advanced than opera singers, while being portrayed in the media (and successfully marketed) as an opera singer, is the issue.

Would audiences in the 1970s have bought this marketing?

Katherine Jenkins is just a step on this road. Her desperation to be an opera star without being an opera star is sad and frustrating, but the bigger issue for me is-how have we gotten to this point and where will we go?

I will be branded a "snob" and possibly a lot else. Please understand, I am not suggesting crossover artists shouldn't sing or be successful. I am pointing out the level of confusion about what they do compared to true classical artists, and asking what can be done about it.

Anonymous said...

I look at Jachie Evancho, and I realize her multi-national label that had a huge kid cc star, Charlotte Church; she made millions from CDs. Why is Evancho not doing the same?

Anonymous said...

Is the point that Evancho isn't getting rich or isn't really supported by her record company saying that the record companies aren't really behind CC or at least her?

Ehkzu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ehkzu said...

You seem to know what you’re talking about when you’re talking about what you know about.

You know about opera—and I know enough about opera to know this. But you don’t know about classical crossover, which you snobbishly characterize as some demimonde subset of opera wannabes.

Which is perhaps why you deem yourself qualified to discuss classical crossover, despite not demonstrating an understanding of the field.

First, as with opera, not all CC singers are the same. Big surprise. Katherine Jenkins is just OK—nothing special. Perhaps that’s why so works so hard on her atmospherics—her looks, her videos, now Dancing With the Stars. Because her actual singing isn’t very moving.

You see it as lousy operatic singing because people who know nothing about opera call her an opera singer. But that’s not it at all. She isn’t, & isn’t trying to be, an “opera singer”—she’s never auditioned for any production of any opera. Performing opera arias in concert, singing non-operatically, alongside performing mostly non-operatic music, does not an opera singer make.

Her problem is that she isn’t a very exciting CC singer—by the standards of CC music—standards which you appear to be oblivious about. She’s popular, but large portions of the audience don’t weep when she sings, & emotional connection is the bar for classical crossover. It’s a genre with more popular appeal, is less musically difficult overall (though very demanding about tone, passagio, vibrato, & phrasing), & oriented toward the mic’d concert format.

This idea that CC somehow competes with or detracts from or confuses people about real opera is silly. The kind of people who conflate CC with opera never will be buying opera tickets.

Meanwhile there are—to your apparent disbelief—fans of at least some CC who are also opera fans. Here they do know the difference, & such fans will attend both operas & CC concerts, but they’ll never mistake one for the other, so again, there’s no competition. They provide different kinds of aesthetic experience & satisfaction.

You confirm my your parochialism with that offhanded swipe at “poor little Jackie Evancho.” Though you did show noblesse oblige in providing a link to her official website.

She is little, but she isn’t poor. Not with being rated by Billboard Magazine as the bestselling classical recording artist for 2011.

Like Jenkins, she does sing classically but she isn’t an opera singer. In fact, by operatic standards Jackie wouldn’t qualify for more than a role in a children’s chorus in, say, Boris Godunov (if she learned to pronounce Russian).

But by the same token, your favorite opera stars wouldn’t qualify for any role in a classical crossover concert, except for the handful who understand the difference, like Renee Fleming.

Nor is Jackie—or the opera star of your choice—likely to sound good by Tuvan throat singing standards, or jazz standards, or Bulgarian modal women’s acapella performance standards.

What Jackie does have is a skill at emotional connection, such that many weep when she sings. I’ve tested her ability at emotional connection with people who haven’t seen her & know nothing about her, & they “hear” her as a tall, somewhat heavyset woman in her 30s with a lot of life experience. So it’s not her appearance.

It’s your great loss that you appear to have only one standard for judging classical singing—one which is entirely appropriate for opera—but not only not for classical crossover but not for the concert setting as well, where opera stars frequently overpower the more intimate setting.

Expertise in one area does not automatically confer expertise in another. And when you decry the masses failing to understand the difference between opera & classical crossover…it’s pretty ironic that you appear to not understand the difference either.

Anonymous said...

"The Jackie E fans have fan websites where they orchestrate these attacks."

Yeah, the main one is at Amazon.com on the Jackie Evancho General Discussion thread in the “Dream With Me” Forum. Mostly inhabited by 60 – 70 year old men. Vladimir Nabokov is their God and Jackie is their angel. It's terrific fun. They often get in drawn out spats with each other, usually in trying to impress Jackie's mom, Lisa Evancho, who posts there almost daily. She's quite a piece of work too. Her Christian graciousness on display for all to witness.

It makes for great entertainment: reading Lisa's snooty remarks to fans who dare offer suggestions, concerns, or differences of opinions. Even more beautiful are her ungrateful pot shots at those like David Foster and Simon Cowell; not to mention what is certainly Confidentiality Agreement violating tidbits about Jackie's contract. The forum's quite festive, so whether your a fan or not, come one, come all, it's a modern day case study in sociological and pathological phenomenons.

Cynthotopia said...

"Vladimir Nabokov is their God and Jackie is their angel"


Anonymous said...

I went to a Katherine Jenkins discussion and a Jackie Evancho argument broke out. Oh the hubris!

Anonymous said...

Anon, do tell us the Jenkins site!

Anonymous said...

Don't want to get into the middle of this C/C-opera fight, but I just want to say that Susan Boyle doesn't belong in that list of C/C singers. She has a fine mezzo-soprano, but she regards herself as a pop singer and that's what she sings.

DLH said...

To be fair to K Jenkins, she KNOWS she is NOT AN OPERA SINGER!! She has made public comments to her interest in pursuing proper operatic training but that it would take as much as 5-6 years to achieve such skill. She knows the difference between her style of singing and opera far more than do you understand the converse!

Her great "sin" was being awarded the richest contract for a classical singer in history [exact number escapes me but I think it was around $21,000,000 for 6 albums!]

Pity the poor operatic virtuoso, toiling for a pittance in comparison. I truly sympathize with the disparity and the seemingly inequity of it all, but GET OVER IT!

Attacking a singer for having the hubris to sing an operatic aria without being an opera singer is sad and does nothing to elevate opera or its stars nor does it do any damage to those "upstart" CC singers [harumph! harulmph!].

One might also complain that those disgusting Rock and Country stars have no business making all that cash by simply pandering to the masses who happen to like simple songs about life and not grand soaring sustained notes at earsplitting pitches and volumes. HOW DARE THEY!

Well, other than Baryshnikov, in his prime and a little beyond, the best ballerinas and danseurs toil for little money and for many, less recognition, other than the enjoyment of the dance, itself. Whereas, near illiterates can make and generate millions in payment and endorsements simply because they can throw, shoot, or run with a round or oblong projectile!

Sometimes, it's, as Nick Flynn writes in his titular memoir: "Another Bu****** Night in Suck City"

Anonymous said...

...Charlotte Church; she made millions from CDs. Why is Evancho not doing the same? "

Different era. Buying CDs is old school.

CC-Lover said...

I offer this in defense of Lisa Evancho - not that she needs to be defended.

Even sincere Christians can find themselves irritated to the point that they struggle to hold their tongue (or fingers from keyboard) especially as to matters very personal to them, like their own child and the business of pursuing that child's dream.

In the recording industry there's often a tendency among some producers and executives to adopt a possessory credit to a performer that may not necessarily be proportional to their own contribution. If something like this is perceived to have happened with Jackie, then there's possibly some valid resentment or frustration to be had by Lisa Evancho, as she could legitimately consider herself the preeminent discoverer and nurturer of Jackie's singing talents; to which those like Foster and Cowell were late to the party in appreciating (at least as far as considering her worthiness for a CD production\recording deal; and as far as the AGT producers, even her worthiness as an AGT contestant). This point considering that her skill level in the interim between her period of rejections and her hailed AGT appearance was not significantly improved upon.

I'm not saying for certain that this is the case with David Foster or others like Cowell, though Foster did in fact introduce Katherine Jenkins as “A David Foster Production” at one of his events, so it appears it's not beyond his mindset. And, just as it could appear that a certain lack of respect has been demonstrated toward professionals involved in Jackie's music productions, it's certainly not outside the realm of possibilities (and IMO, is quite likely) that the same such disrespect may have been initially directed toward Lisa as to her aptitude, as a “non-profesional”, in making suggestions and decisions pertaining to Jackie's music production. From all this perhaps stems the predominant frustration, that being the significant disparity in contribution\reward, in the financial sense, which the Evancho family may not have anticipated nor fully understood from the outset. How the music “business” operates. I am by no means an expert on such matters myself and only possess a rudimentary knowledge from indirect relations to the industry, but I very much suspect that the Evanchos had to forgo a substantial amount of coin in dealing with some of the players involved in Jackie's music productions, particularly that of with Foster. Perhaps they may find solace in seeing these initial ventures like a “loss-leader” serving a more prosperous future.

Some of the vented frustrations may also be rooted in a clash-of-cultures of sorts between the Evanchos and some of those encountered in the industry. The Evanchos, in some respects, naive to the machinations of that world; from which the Evanchos, within their “heartland\rust-belt” value system, take to heart when someone appears genuinely embroiled in a personal, fraternal way to their child and her professional and artistic ambitions, only to later find disappointment on realization that such comradely kinship is seemingly exclusive to commercial endeavors.

I, of course, am not a spokesperson for Lisa or the Evancho family, and they very well might think: “Geeesh, with defenders like this who needs haters!” but this is just my personal musings on the matter, stated on my own behalf, in response to what I read as a quite impulsive and coarse indictment on Lisa Evancho personally.

Anonymous said...


I do not believe you understood the point of this blog.

This blog was about Katherine Jenkins being labeled an opera singer in publicity material from Dancing with the Stars. It also mentions previous labeling of others in this manner and explains why Jenkins and those others are not opera singers.

This blog made no claim to be discussing the entire classical crossover industry.

The issue is particularly with Jenkins since she says things like, "I do opera," and "I haven't been in an opera because you can't do opera until you're 30," and "opera singers don't like me because I'm too beautiful."

You rail at this blog for labeling crossover ("which you snobbishly characterize as some demimonde subset of opera wannabes").

Katherine Jenkins IS an "opera-wannabe." Andrea Bocelli WAS an opera-wannabe before he began doing operas. Il Divo members WERE opera-wannabes.

Jenkins has been the most desperate to enter that world, to the point of lashing out at singers when she cannot achieve the level necessary. She announced two years ago that she would begin doing operas. It has not turned out as she desired.

This is not about a musical genre. It is about a woman labeled an opera singer, who wants to be one, but isn't, with an explanation of why.

Anonymous said...


Thanks to the over exuberant nut-job Jackie fans on Amazon, Facebook and elsewhere for blowing that deal for her with their "Jackie has top billing" nonsense.

Jean from Kelso said...

Talent show WINNER????

Anon, do you know something we don't? Is that you Simon?

Anonymous said...

Was "poor little Jackie Evancho" the only mention of Jackie Evancho in this entire blog entry, and yet how much of the commentary is arguing about her? Why is it always like this?

She deserves better far fans, poor little Jackie Evancho. I've seen things said by her fans on the web that make me absolutely cring. Some are that inappropriate. I googled and found a board with 2600 entries of arguments, and a couple of tthese Jackie fans seemed to halve been suspended along the way (from rudeness, I suppose, judging from the few pages I skimmed).

I do not understand this phenomenon. Is this type of fan base the result of being a talent show and developing an immediate fan base? Of does her mom chatting with them makes them feel empowered? I imagine they think they are educating people as to how good she is, but by overdoing it so drastically, I wonder how many potential fans they drive away?

Hayek_rules said...

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

I'm sure you are aware of this well-known phrase by Shakespeare. Don't know if you want to label him a writer, poet, or playwright, but please remember to pick ONE ONLY.

You never really say whether you, in your all-knowing an highly professional capacity, think that these "poor" people sing badly; have awful voices; or whether you simply think that you sing much better. Perhaps you are just jealous of their clearly undeserving fame?

Anonymous said...

A couple of notes regarding Katherine Jenkins: 1: She has trained at the Royal Academy of Music; 2: She has said in longer interviews that a mezzo-soprano's does not fully develop until 30... She said that is when your voice reaches it's peak... top high note, lowest low note. The don't like to print that part... 3: If I graduated from the Royal Academy of Music (with honors) and a music company came to me and offered me $1,000,000, to sing the music that I love,I wouldn't stick my nose up in the air... AND NEITHER WOULD YOU! I love opera, and I enjoy going to operas, but playing the CD of Faust in my car while driving to work is, well, weird. There is a place for singers such as Katherine Jenkins who has been classical trained and has a beautiful voice that she continues to grow into. I do worry about the really young singers whose voice is still drastically changing and the lack of good training that their voices will need to stay marketable.

Tenorlove said...

On her own Twitter page, Miss Jenkins calls herself a "classical crossover singer." Lately, she's been singing with José Carreras. I'm waiting for him to be called a CC singer ......

BTW, Jackie Evancho, at age 12, is still a Miss, not a Ms.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more about Jenkins. She is no opera singer. Also, the ridiculous excuses she has made for why she isn't invited to sing in operas are just that: ridiculous. Before she turned 30, she said that her voice wouldn't be mature enoough for opera until age 30. Now that she's over 30, she says that all female opera singers are fat and ugly and that she's too beautiful for opera. These are just flimsy excuses made by someone who has not the voice nor the technique to sing opera. As for alfemale opera singers being fat and ugly, tell that to such opera singers of the present and the past as Elina Garanca, Anna Moffo, Joyce DiDonato, Danielle DiNiese, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Frederica von Stade, and Sylvia McNair. Yes, Jenkins graduated with a degree from the R.A., but it was a teaching credential, not a degree in vocal performance. Considering the poor technique with which she sings, I have great difficulty believing that she paid a lot of attention to her teachers.

Anonymous said...

This may be the funniest thing on the internet. All these random old men with no knowledge of singing are acting like they're Evancho's talent managers or something. There's 1000 posts about how she needs to learn multiple languages so she can sing more rep. Diction for singers is a 2 semester college course. You don't need to be fluent to learn pronunciations and look up literal translations. Hilarious.


Anonymous said...

I have a few observations about Jackie Evancho's appeal and the nature or style of her singing. Yes, she does connect emotionally to people, both men and women, but I do not believe it is sight unseen; if only her voice is heard for the first time, I agree, people might think she was a large 30 year old woman with a mature dark voice. It would be pleasant, but I don't think they would have an exceptional emotional response to it. It's the dichotomy of the, originally, eight or nine year old little blonde girl, now almost 13, with her engaging personality and seemingly sweet disposition and the singing voice and persona that creates the response. I have to say it is extremely rare for a child that young to have such natural control of phrasing, pitch and tone, and also feeling for the music. She did do a bit of more experimenting with styles when she was younger it seems, but, as opposed to Carly Rose Sonenclar, who is very versatile and sophisticated in her singing, experimenting with and within many styles, I believe Jackie sings the way that she does because rendering the music the way the composer wrote it or by reiterating the best versions she's heard is what allows her to express her feelings through the music, concentrating on pitch, tone, phrasing, and emotion. I think it's just the style of singing that makes her feel the best and apparently audiences too, but it would be nice to see her try other styles. I am in my mid 60s and I am sometimes moved by Jackie's singing, but it nauseates me to see these fawning posts and video tributes calling her an angel and the greatest hope for peace on the planet, almost a messiah, and taking ownership of her, calling her our Jackie ... It's just creepy (does Lolita Complex ring a bell ?).

Anonymous said...

Ah, but Jackie does not sing opera arias true to the intent of the composer. Nessun Dorma is an aria sung in the opera Turandot by a MAN (tenor) on the eve of his execution. It's about wining the love of a cruel princess. Jackie sings this aria. Do you think she is what the composer of Turandot, Puccini, had in mind? She also sings O mio babbino caro, from the Puccini opera, Gianni Schicchi. This aria is sung by a young girl (late teesn, early 20s) who is telling her father that she has to marry the boy she loves or she will commit suicide. Jackie also sings this aria. Do you think that Puccini intended O mio babbino caro to be sung by a 12 year old child? These arias are not only age and gender inappropriate for Jackie. They're also skill level inappropriate. The bottom line is that Jackie is likely to destroy her voice singing this material...and by singing with terrible technique. She is very talented, but her poor breathing, lack of support for the tone, straining on the top notes, and dropping her larynx to manufacture that mature sound her fans all love, could very easily cause permanent damage to her voice.

Anonymous said...

You all are carzy....katherine jenkins can sing and there is nothing we can do about it.the way she sing with a microphone or not is her way....now if u don't have something nice to say don't say anything at all....I am a very big fan of katherine jenkins and I know she can sing....she got load of talent...would you people like it if bad things are being said about you on the internet....NO....so stop it please...

Anonymous said...

You are the one who is, well not crazy, but musically uneducated. Jenkins can sing, but she doesn't have what it takes to be an opera singer... and that's what this article is all about. Singers have to first have the voice for opera (Jenkins does not) and then they have to train for years to be able to sing opera roles. Opera is never amplified, so Jenkins's inability to sing without a microphone and lots of reverb and other electronic enhancements to make her voice fuller and even it out, is another strike against her. She keeps saying that she will one day sing in an opera, but then keeps making up ridiculous excuses for why she has not. First she said that her voice wouldn't be ready for opera until age 30. Tell that to Joyce DiDonato, Teresa Berganza, Elina Garanca, Frederica von Stade, and a host of other singers who had begun successful opera careers before the age of 30. Now that Jenkins has passed age 30, she says that all opera singers are fat and ugly, so she's too beautiful for opera. Hah! There have been and are many beautiful opera singers, but the difference between Jenkins and them is that they actually have fine operatic voices. Some of these singers are Elina Garanca, Anna Netrebko, Samuel Ramey, Jonas Kaufmann, Jose Carreras, Nicolai Gedda, Franco Corelli, Angela Gheorghiu, Anna Moffo, Danielle DiNiese, Ailyn Perez, Stephen Costello, and Frederica von Stade. I'm sure Jenkins will go on making up ridiculous excuses for why she isn't hired to sing in operas and opera fans are going to go on calling her on it. Many of Jenkins's fans claim that she says she's not an opera singer. Well, she sure doesn't correct anyone when they call her an opera singer. It's her arrogance and pretensions that are bringing all of this criticism down on her. She's done this to her self. If she'd stick to pop music, there would be no problem, but as long as she keeps saying that she will one day sing in operas and making up ridiculous excuses for why this hasn't happened yet, she will be fair game for criticism.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous, No, we're not all crazy. Just because Jenkins has a lot of fans (and I don't deny that she does), that doesn't make her a great singer...or more importantly, an opera singer. nobody has said in these comments that she can't sing. We've just said that she can't sing opera. Jenkins is no opera singer. She has not the voice nor the technique to sing opera. She screeches on the high notes, gulps for air every few notes, has no idea at all about correct phrasing, doesn't adequately support the tone, and forces out and darkens her low notes in an effort to sound more like a mezzo-soprano rather than the failed soprano with no top notes that she really is. Her fans say that she has never claimed to be an opera singer, but she never objects when she is called an opera singer. Just look how she is billed on Dancing With The Stars. Opera singers sing roles in complete operas in legitimate opera houses and they do this with no amplification. Jenkins always uses a microphone and also has loads of reverb and other electronic enhancements added to her voice to make it sound fuller and to even it out. It takes a lot of training and hard work over many years time in order to become an opera singer, so you'll have to excuse opera singers and opera fans for objecting when someone like Jenkins who never bothered to learn to sing with proper technique is called an opera singer. We also object to the way Jenkins keeps saying that one day she will sing in operas but then keeps on making up ludicrous excuses for why she has not. Before she turned 30, she said that her voice wouldn't be ready for opera until age 30. Tell that to Elina Garanca, Frederica von Stade, Teresa Berganza, Joyce DiDonato, Marilyn Horne, and a host of others who began successful opera careers before the age of 30. Now that Jenkins is over 30, she claims that all opera singers are fat and ugly, so she's too beautiful for opera. Hah! Not so! There have been and are currently many gorgeous opera singers. Some of them are Anna Netrebko, Elina Garanca, Ailyn Perez, Stephen Costello, Samuel Ramey, Jose Carreras, Jonas Kaufmann, Franco Corelli, Mario Del Monaco, Angela Gheorghiu, Frederica von Stade, Anna Moffo, just to name a few. Jenkins brings all of the criticism and ridicule on herself.
If she would stick to pop music and stop with the ludicrous excuses for why she isn't hired to sing in operas, all of the ridicule and criticism would go away. it's her pretensions and arrogance that make her a perfect target for ridicule and parody. Unfortunately, Jenkins doesn't even have a sense of humor about herself. There was once a wonderful satirical blog on the Internet, but Jenkins didn't like having this blog poke fun at her, so she made a big fuss and got the blog removed from the Net. What a poor sport.

operamagic said...

Once and for all. Jackie Evancho artificially manufactures that adult sound by dropping her larynx. All little kids do this at one time or another, but they do it in an effort to talk like an adult, not sing like one. Jackie just figured out that she could do the same thing while singing. Jackie and other little kids don't even understand that what they're doing is dropping their larynxes. Jackie also clenches her fists and hunches her shoulders when she sings, which denotes tension in her body (not a good thing for a singer), audibly gulps for air every couple of notes, doesn't support the tone, and strains on the high notes. These are all examples of the poor technique with which she sings. Bad technique can ruin a voice, especially a young voice. She needs a good teacher and she needs one right away. Don't bother telling me about the teachers she supposedly has. As far as I've been able t discover, her only teacher is her thoroughly unqualified mother. If she goes on singing the way she does now, she will be likely to have no voice left by the time she is an adult. This is exactly what happened to Charlotte Church. It's really a shame about Jackie, because she really does appear to have a good voice. I can only conclude that her parents have chosen to disregard what must be many vocal professionals who have tried to warn them about what could happen to Jackie's voice. I thoroughly agree with the poster who talked about the venom Jackie's mother spews around at people who dare to criticize Jackie. As for the doctors who examine Jackie's vocal apparatus regularly and say her vocal cords are "pristine:, I can only say that doctors can't see poor vocal technique, only the results of it.

BaronOchs said...

As for the person who went on about how Jenkins went to the Royal Academy and therefore has classical training, she only got a teaching credential from the R.A. Apparently she was unable to qualify for a degree in vocal performance or opera.

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