Norman Lebrecht on shifting sound worlds
Truly, truly hideous. This is “Classical Night”? God help us.
The sound man seems to have a new “Grand Canyon” plus “Taj Mahal” setting on his digital reverb, and the dynamic limiter is kicking like a mule.
My biggest disappointment is that the dancer is not Jeremy Hunt.
Good grief. I’m staggered that anyone thought that this piece was remotely suitable for a slow waltz.
How utterly inappropriate and tacky… (Did they even consider the meaning/context of the words?)…and I haven’t even started on the yuck factor of the singer… uuuuuurgh! Why the outstretched hands, the simpering look? and the complete lack of clarity of the words, the swimming pool reverb and … Oh my goodness!
PS Maybe the words are so muddily pronounced on purpose, so that it is not clear what they are, so the audience simply think of it as a sweetly pretty tune? How very patronising!
Truly, truly awful.
How can anyone hear that and not recognize that Jackie Evancho URGENTLY needs proper singing tuition.
She needs to start with the very basics, too, such as breathing and phrasing.
God help us.
This is so tasteless and disgusting on so many levels one doesn’t know where to start.
First of all wrong piece for a waltz. “Ave Maria”…
That Jackie Evancho is certainly doing a good show for all the pedophile child pornography consumers out there. 12 years, high heels, full make up, why is this legal in that country to exploit children sexually like this, but illegal to show to that same child natural loving gestures between adults in movies? Strange…
Her vocal coach obviously is trying to teach her singing technique for the grown ups, it’s pointless, she is still growing. Counterintuitively lowering the Larynx to develop the operatic volume and timbre is wrong for a 12 year old. It also sounds most unnatural for a child.
Her vibrato is fake and produced artificially, her voice obviously is not ripe for it yet.
The sound engineers in the transmission chain then screw up whatever is left of a human voice by compressing her voice to death, so that every breath sounds like Apollo 11 taking off to the moon.
Wondering if that is the future of the arts, if we should embrace Islam instead…
A 12-year old should live like a 12-year old. Period.
Listing all the negatives about this clip would be a serious exercise in itself. Suffice it to say that this sounds awful by the standards of any major conservatory.
I really hope this forum is not typical of “Classical Music” lovers.
I enjoy a wide range of music and performers and do not feel the need to crucify those who disagree with my tastes. There is quite a bit more than technical function that contribute to an artists popularity.
To the point of “good show for all the pedophile child pornography consumers”, it might interest you to know that the majority of Jackie’s fans are women. I have an Evancho Video on YouTube with over 2 million views and can look at the demographics of same.
Now, take a look at the stats for same and you will notice that women are slightly more engaged than men.
And also, what shall we do with 12yo piano prodigies, gymnasts and ballet dancers (just to name a few)?
I sense, in some, much anger and jealously over her quick rise in popularity.
(You have to imagine these words spoken through a megaphone, from the cover of a SWAT vehicle…)
“Norman, please step away from the keyboard NOW!”
No good will come of this, mark my words.
If liking opera means we all have to be so nasty to others as you lot are on here, stick your opera where the sun don’t shine if there is enough room for it with your inflated heads already up there.
I think that some people are nasty to Jackie by depriving her of a proper childhood, and nasty to the American public by producing substandard programs. That’s my opinion.
There is a difference between expressing an opinion and insulting others.
I take it yours and all posts above mine are expressing an opinion and I am deemed (by you) as the one insulting others ?
Be realistic and read what is being said as if it were aimed at your own child.
Most of what is said here about this 12 year old child is offensive and insulting on an unbelievable scale.
Such hatred will burn you people up from the inside and then you die never knowing how to respect others feelings.
No, it is insulting at her parents, teachers, managers, exploiters. Not at herself. She is still just a child.
Also it’s not hatred but empathy for another human being plus respect for the art. Both of which her handlers apparently are lacking.
Wanderer, your earlier post speaks volumes about the kind of nasty minded person you are.
Don’t try to deflect the points you and others made earlier that clearly are not ALL aimed at those around Jackie but are a direct insult.
To directly quote you,
“That Jackie Evancho is certainly doing a good show for all the pedophile child pornography consumers out there”
That is a disgraceful statement to make on a public forum, zero empathy for anyone there.
Your next comment is more of a puzzle,
Quote “why is this legal in that country to exploit children sexually like this, but illegal to show to that same child natural loving gestures between adults in movies?”
What kind of currently illegal ‘loving gestures’ are you suggesting should be made freely available to children ?
If you want evidence of just how close some of Jackie Evancho’s most fervent “fans” are to sex offenders salivating over the perceived “purity” and “angelic looks” of a 12-year-old girl, just take a look at one of the threads of a previous entry on this blog. Very disturbing.
I wonder what sort of parent willingly allows their child to be marketed in such a way.
And as for criticizing her voice:
“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”
Her “fans”, family and her management market Jackie as some sort of Classical Wunderkind.
She isn’t. In fact, she’s anything but.
It is her fans, family and management who constantly and repeatedly seek to compare her to some of the world’s best opera stars.
So: let her be judged by those standards.
It’s clear to anyone with ears and the the slightest idea about music that she doesn’t and can’t meet them.
She’s a 12-year-old kid after all, with no training and no teacher who is coaching, developing and nurturing her talent.
Just family and management with dollar-signs in their eyes, out to make a quick buck and who consciously and willingly neglect the devastating emotional and psychological cost to the child.
Look at where most former child stars end up.
Would YOU wish that on YOUR child?
exactly! Well said.I totally agree with you. matter fact.I was thinking that all above you ,could be the same person with multiple email addresses.because they are all equally offensive and insulting,on a unbelievable scale.
It’s been my experience that it’s many of Jackie’s fans who are the nasty ones. They like what they hear and they don’t understand the need for a singer to be properly trained and to use correct vocal technique, so they blast anyone who dares to suggest that while Jackie’s very talented, she sings with terrible technique that could seriously damage her voice and she needs a good teacher. Jackie’s musically uneducated fans think that anyone who suggests these things must be jealous of her because they simply can’t conceive of any other reason that someone would criticize the way she sings. It’s not just that they accuse people of being jealous, it’s that they do so in such a nasty and often vulgar manner. I wouldn’t even repeat some of the things that I’ve seen Jackie’s fans say. I sure wouldn’t want this 12 year old child to see the comments that some of her fans make. I’m a classically trained singer and the plain fact of the matter is that technique does matter…and it matters for all kinds of singers, not just opera singers. Opera fans aren’t being snobs when they say this. they’re stating a fact.
I agree completely with what Norman Lebrecht and Tim Page have said about Jackie Evancho. Jackie’s fans have accused Page of hating children, of being a disgruntled former child prodigy who hates other child prodigies, and of saying that Jackie’s parents are guilty of child abuse. I have been unable to find legitimate references to any of these things. When I read Tim Page’s article, I got the distinct impression that what Page hates is the way child prodigies are often exploited. He also feels great sympathy for the fact that most of these kids will get a rude awakening when they reach adulthood because they will no longer be unique and will be competing against a lot of other adults who are as good or better than they are. And while we’re on the topic of performers being as good or better than other performers, let me address another misconception that many of Jackie’s fans have and that is that a voice teacher must be as good or better than his or her students. A voice teacher doesn’t have to be as good or better than his or her pupils. Being able to teach another person to do something is a special talent in itself. Just because someone is a brilliant singer doesn’t mean that he or she is a good teacher. Many brilliant singers have had teachers who weren’t as gifted as they were, but who had that special gift for imparting knowledge to others.
People who express concern that Jackie’s voice could be seriously damaged by singing with poor technique are not haters or jealous. They are, by and large, people who know a thing or two about singing and who realize that bad technique can damage a voice. Jackie drops her larynx to get that more mature, adult sound that her fans all love, she hunches her shoulders and clenches her fists which shows that there is tension in her body, she doesn’t support the tone properly, audibly gulps for air every few notes (no this is not because of her tiny child’s lungs. I’ve heard many properly trained child singers who do not gulp for air), wobbles her chin to get more of a vibrato, and strains on the high notes. These are all the result of using poor technique. A good teacher would make her sing with her natural child’s voice though, and the gig would be over, because her fans wouldn’t like that voice as much as the manufactured one she uses now. If you want to hear how a talented little child should sound, please go to YouTube and listen to the video of Beverly Sills at the age of 8. You can easily tell that she has a lot of talent, but she sings with her natural child’s voice. Jackie’s parents would do well to take a page from Sills’s parents’ book. Sills’s parents took her out of the limelight, let her be a kid, made sure that she had a good teacher, and when she emerged again into the limelight, it was as a trained singer.
Jackie Evancho fans, stop beating up on people who know a thing or two about singing and who genuinely care what happens to Jackie Evancho’s voice. They happen to be right. She does need a good teacher. None of the people who like opera who are posting on this blog are being nasty to Jackie. They’re just voicing concern for her voice. They’d like to see it last for decades instead of being ruined by the time she’s an adult.
Thank you for posting such thoughtful, accurate comments. I too am a musician, and it saddens me enormously to see the promise of Jackie Evancho’s phenomenal gift start to fade. She desperately needs to be taught proper vocal technique and breath control. For regardless of how “young” her handlers dress her, Jackie Evancho — musically speaking — is no longer a child.
Thank you for the kind words you had for my comment above. With all due respect, I would disagree with you on one thing you said, and that’s that Jackie, musically speaking, is no longer a child. I think she is still a child, musically speaking. If she got a good teacher, one of the first things that teacher would do is make her sing with her natural child’s voice, instead of dropping her larynx down to get that “adult” sound that her fans love so much. Apparently, Jackie discovered some time ago what most little kids discover in regard to talking, which is how to produce a deeper sound to imitate adult speech. Most kids do this at some time during their childhood. They have no idea that what they’re actually doing is dropping their larynx to get that deeper pitch to their voices. Hunching the shoulders is part of it too. Since Jackie appears by all accounts to be self taught, I’m guessing that she found out all on her own that she could do this same thing while singing in order to imitate adult female singers. She is artificially manufacturing that mature sound, and dropping the larynx like that is not particularly good for the voice. Thus, a good teacher would insist that she sing with her natural child’s voice. If she sang with her natural child’s voice, she would sound like the 12 year old child that she is. I’ve wondered if the reason her parents and others are resisting the idea of getting Jackie a teacher is because they’ve been told that a good teacher would stop her from singing in this artificial way and thus perhaps bring an end to the career she has right now (even though decent training would preserve her voice and likely enable her to have a career spanning several decades as an adult). It would probably upset her fans terribly if she were to sing naturally because they adore the artificially produced sound that she uses now. They think it’s amazing that she sounds so mature, and have no idea that it’s not her natural voice. I remember the reports of how Andrea Bocelli’s fans reacted when they heard him sing in an actual opera. He always appears in large venues where he is greatly amplified. Opera companies do not amplify singers. Opera singers have to be able to project their voices to fill a theater without microphones. Of course, Bocelli had to sing unamplified in an opera production. His fans were wandering around during the intermission in disbelief, wondering why they were hearing a thin, reedy tone instead of the bigger amplified tone they were accustomed to. Listen to him singing La donna e mobile in a recital at the Met. Yes, the Met bigwigs actually let him do a recital because the Met was deeply in debt and realized that Bocelli is popular and could bring in a large audience, however not necessarily an audience of true opera fans. They knew that his recital would be a moneymaker. Of course he had to sing without a microphone. Here’s the link:
He basically sounds like he’s a participant in a talent night at your local high school. Bocelli is a pop opera singer, not an actual opera singer. (This is not opera fan snobbery, Jackie fans, just a statement of fact.
We’re in complete agreement, though, about Jackie desperately needing to be taught proper technique and breath control.
“comment is awaiting moderation” means this is not a true and fair reflection of what real people actually post. here but is only what the author wants to show.
I have posted many times on this blog. I never saw any of my comments being edited. Sometimes my opinions were diametrically opposed to Norman Lebrecht’s, who is often very subjective.
May I suggest that Norman spells out his “moderation” policy?
I have done, Petros. Please search past posts. This site welcomes vigorous argument. It eschews personal abuse and anonymous allegations.
I do not know what constitutes “personal abuse” in your realm, but in mine, accusing a 12 yo girl of pandering to pedophile pornographers qualifies.
Mr, Lebrecht said: “It eschews personal abuse and anonymous allegations.”
With that I must ask, then why are aren’t the negative posts directed at Jackie’s people.. you know the comments of personal abuse and anonymous alegations given the boot?
To be fair, Mr. Lebrecht appears to want to read the comments first and perhaps formulate a reply before posting. I’m not a fan of his, nor the extremely creepy and disingenuous “concerned” group of posters evidenced above, but he’s always let my comments appear unaltered or edited.
…unaltered and unedited.
“It eschews personal abuse” why then are so many personal attacks on Ms Evancho allowed even encouraged?
There is a distinction between personal abuse and music criticism. It can be a fine line. Her defenders are no less robust.
No one is referring to the music criticism.. after all there’s nothing wrong with that.. it’s the nasty personal allegations that aren’t being addressed. They are not eschewed when directed at Jackie’s people. I could make a bullet list.
Bendo, I don’t think I have seen any comments attacking Jackie Evancho personally.
That is one of the biggest errors that Jackie supporters constantly make here.
Jackie’s critics (at least the informed ones, myself included) have often noted that we think Jackie very talented, and that she seems like a nice girl. Nobody has said that she is a bad person, or even that she has any negative personal attributes at all.
She does seem to me (as to most reasonable, thinking people) to be surrounded by a very powerful, and obviously very effective, marketing machine.
As with any artist, she is subject to fair criticism by the standards of her craft. This includes her vocal technique, which is considered by many to be problematic.
And fair criticism does not always mean that the critic is jealous of the artist’s success. That is a very simplistic assumption. If I were to be jealous of everyone who makes more money than I do, it would be a very serious waste of time and energy indeed.
Thank you for making this comment. You’ve expressed how I feel exactly. None of Jackie’s informed critics are saying that she;s a bad person or has negative attributes. I think the problem is that Jackie’s fans are mostly pop fans who simply like the way she sounds. They also appear to not understand that all artists are subject to fair criticism, so the only reason they can conceive of for someone to criticize Jackie is because the person making the criticism is jealous or a hater. They turn legitimate criticism of Jackie’s techique into hating her and being jealous of her, even if the person says that Jackie is talented and makes no personal attacks on her. Like you, I have never seen any personal attacks made against her. The only thing that I’ve seen criticized is Jackie’s less than perfect vocal technique.
There is a wicked, downright pathological desire in the venomous attacks some here are making in the singing of a little girl. It often appears as though some here think themselves on par with the level of talent they criticize! What really makes such criticism laughable is a false assumption there is some general consensus in favor of such an opinion.
Literally millions of us around the world love Jackie Evancho. Jackie takes us to a place where only an extraordinary artist is able to go. We benefit by every note she sings. To listen to her sing and never tire of listening every day, and still desire more is a welcome obsession we as fans understand and accept. There is a reason why this young lady has gone so far in her career at such a young age, and so quickly. The sick accusations and nefarious conspiracies surrounding Jackie Evancho is a product of inadequacies of those of you who demean a 12 year old simply to bolster your own ego and self-importance. Attempts to mask your loathing by empty concern for her well-being are fooling no-one.
Stephen Runnels says: “There is a wicked, downright pathological desire in the venomous attacks some here are making in the singing of a little girl. It often appears as though some here think themselves on par with the level of talent they criticize! What really makes such criticism laughable is a false assumption there is some general consensus in favor of such an opinion.”
“The sick accusations and nefarious conspiracies surrounding Jackie Evancho is a product of inadequacies of those of you who demean a 12 year old simply to bolster your own ego and self-importance. Attempts to mask your loathing by empty concern for her well-being are fooling no-one.”
I agree completely with Mr. Stephen Runnels!! Having studied Sociology and Psychology in college, this is my added conclusion to those folks who expressed their anger towards a 12 year old prodigy: Psychological projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person subconsciously denies his or her own lack of attributes which are then ascribed to the outside world, usually towards other people by attacking them. I’m sorry those people had to work so much harder at a young age and not get the type of recognition as Ms. Jackie Evancho, but to say those vicious words about her is inexcusable! I missed my chance for a life as a professional musician due to the Vietnam War and the draft…I had a music scholarship that I had to give it up for my country; however, when I see/listen to a child prodigy like Ms. Evancho, I have nothing but praise and excitement for her to fulfill her dreams as a professional (cross-over) Opera mezzo-soprano.
I’m sorry, but I agree with poster “Steve” above. Nobody has launched vicious personal attacks against Jackie. Criticizing her singing technique (which is very poor and could damage her voice) is not a personal attack, it’s a legitimate criticism of the technique she uses when singing. Has anyone said that she’s a horrid person? No! Saying she’s a horrid person is a personal attack. Saying she sings with poor technique and needs a good teacher is not a personal attack. Studying sociology and psychology in college (Hmmm, your use of inappropriate capital letters really doe lead one to suspect that you’re actually Russ with another username.) does not make you a sociologist or psychologist. I can only conclude that you’re so completely obsessed with Jackie that you blindly defend her from everything that you perceive as an attack. You read any negative comment as an attack against her personally, when in actuality people are genuinely expressing concern that a telented child’s voice might be ruined. Please do as I suggested in an earlier post and listen to little Jacopo Menconi to see what poor technique can do to a voice. I’ll even provide a link for you.
Listen to the coarse tone, wobbly vibrato, and the way he has lost control over pitch. This is a voice that has been badly damaged and likely permanently damaged by use of poor technique. Incidentally, he drops his larynx to get that “grown up” tone just the way Jackie does. He’s been doing it longer though, and it, along with other forms of poor technique, has taken its toll. This is the way a singer sounds at the end of a decades long career, not the way a child should sound. This is proof that damage can happen to a child’s voice. It sickens me because this child might have had a good career had his voice not been damaged. People don’t want to see this happen to Jackie, so they voice their concerns. Nobody is expressing jealousy and hatred. The jealousy and hatred are all in your mind. Try to get past your obsession with Jackie and look at other people’s comments objectively.
From a commercial standpoint, the appearances of Joshua Bell, Vittorio Grigolo, and Jackie Evancho on “Dancing With The Stars” have been quite successful as evidenced by the current sales trends of all three on amazon.com. The unwashed masses are speaking with their pocket books, and even causing increased sales of (and please stifle your collective gasps) a couple of “legitimate” classical albums. Alas, the young upstart is leading the overall trend:
Movers & Shakers / amazon.com (12 p.m. US EDT)
2. Up 10,938% Sales rank: 286 (was 31,570)
Arrivederci ~ Vittorio Grigolo (Artist)
3.5 out of 5 stars (12)
3. Up 5,514% Sales rank: 114 (was 6,400)
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons ~ Joshua Bell (Performer)
4.6 out of 5 stars (27)
7. Up 925% Sales rank: 24 (was 246)
Dream With Me ~ Jackie Evancho
4.8 out of 5 stars (381)
8. Up 910% Sales rank: 393 (was 3,970)
Heavenly Christmas ~ Jackie Evancho (Artist)
4.6 out of 5 stars (40)
11. Up 377% Sales rank: 206 (was 984)
O Holy Night ~ Jackie Evancho
4.5 out of 5 stars (316)
16. Up 188% Sales rank: 304 (was 876)
Downton Abbey: Original Music from the TV Series ~ Alfie Boe
4.8 out of 5 stars (13)
17. Up 177% Sales rank: 231 (was 641)
French Impressions ~ Camille Saint-Saëns (Composer), Maurice Ravel (Composer), César Franck (Composer), Joshua Bell (Performer), Jeremy Denk (Performer)
4.4 out of 5 stars (8)
21. Up 143% Sales rank: 332 (was 809)
Dream With Me in Concert (CD/ DVD) ~ Jackie Evancho
4.7 out of 5 stars (50)
if opera lovers can comment such in a way to knock down jackie evancho, then they are complete idiots. jackie is the greatest wonder for us all that we never seen before.she brings new life and good feeling to millions of people all over the world. I have jackie cd playing in my car every day and her dvd on at breakfast. My god we love her so much. lookiing forward to going to one of her concerts. I would be willing to pay 1000.00 for a good seat thank you jackie for giving me a great feeling every day.
I agree. She is an amazing young lady. Those knocking her at every or any level are hateful, jealous people.
For all of Jackie’s anti fans. Keep on beating the dead horse that you have all been beating for the last two years. To her fans, she just gets better and better. Her record speaks for itself and i am sure she will continue to gain fans for at least the next 50 years. After that she will still be a legend.
Yeah, just like Charlotte Church.
Regarding the comments here by Ms. Evancho’s fans in response to criticism of her performance – I would suggest that these fans need to understand the classical world.
Comments like, “just awful” are nothing! Classical artists and those around them are an intensely critical group, both of themselves and each other. These comments are far more general, and thus kind, than much of what you will read about classical singers – especially opera divas. My Lord, the criticism leveled at some of these women can be nasty and very personal, including comments on weight, looks and age.
Ms. Evancho sang as a classical singer on “classical night.” She should be prepared to receive the same type – if not same ferocity, thank goodness – of criticism any other singer would receive in the same circumstances.
I have nothing new to add on her performance itself. My opinion has not changed – extremely talented, gifted but unfortunately, plagued by bad habits that suggest a difficult next few years.
I will also say that I believe it is a wonderful things that Dancing with the Stars had classical or pseudo-classical singers and Joshua Bell performing. Our genre needs more of this and I believe the attitude of some that condemns this type of performance is detrimental in today’s age.
Your concept and defense of extremely rude and ill-mannered behavior as a form of classical virtue is bizarre at best. You may very well see such base behavior as de-rigueur in the type of community you inhabit, but in a normal Classical Society we do not treat others, especially children in such a despicable manner. To suggest Jackie Evancho, or anyone performing in a classical venue deserves and should actually expect to subject themselves to such debasements is a fairly disgusting way to treat people. I seriously doubt you are on par with the level of talent you demean, and even if you were it grants you no authority to judge in such a manner.
I have demeaned no one. Your response is inappropriately contentious while misstating my point.
I do not understand the deep emotional devotion some middle aged men appear to have to this child. No, I do not think it is pornography or the like, but it is very, very odd.
Janey, You need to refresh your memory and re-read your posts from the threads that have involved Jackie. You have systematically demeaned Jackie, her parents, her management, and, of course, her fans. Even your response to me just had to include references to pornography and your derision older fans. Your attempt to subtext your comments to appear as though they are favorable to Jackie herself fools no-one. You and your cabbage compatriot seem to have a pathological desire to pick away at a talented little girl for reasons only you two truly know. What exactly is the pleasure you get from debasing others? I’m sure you realize that just giving your begrudging acknowledgement that Jackie does indeed exist is not exactly a positive assessment.
This “Devotion” as you call it is actually referred to as defending someone who isn’t here to defend herself, or should ever need to. Nobody likes a bully.
Forget it, Janey.
These Jackie Evancho “fans” are pathological.
There’s no reasoning with them. They don’t understand what sensible, nuanced and concerned criticism is.
You either agree with their mindless drivel 100% or you’re against them. And if you’re against them, ie. utter even the slightest hint of a criticism, then you are, for them, Evil Incarnate.
You’ll know from previous entries on this blog that there’s no arguing with them.
Most of them are illiterate and have no idea what serious discussion and debate is: their only form of argument is to hurl abuse at anyone and everyone who disagrees with their ill-informed, incoherently argued point of view.
It’s been said before, but it needs saying again, with “fans” such as these, who needs enemies.
We would all do best to leave them to their sad little thumb-sucking fantasies, their Jackie Evancho dolls and Jackie Evancho posters and CDs. They’re a deeply disturbed nuch of people.
correction. last sentence should read “bunch of people”
Have you ever even watched Jackie? It is not the men crying over her. You may not understand it, but the fact is that she has a profound uplifting emotional effect on many people. Case in point a video called “The Jackie Evancho Effect”. I suggest you see for yourself;
What were these women experiencing?
Q. “What were these women experiencing?” A. The same profound emotion the Beatles had on crowds of women in the late 60′s. It’s a PR effect discovered by Liszt’s manager who prepared the way for ladies would also swoon and faint over him. “Hysteria” is the pre-Freudian term.
At any rate, the amjority of those who converge on any site that has to do with her, staunchly repel any criticism, go on about her “tiny lungs”, etc, are in the main, middle to older aged men.
The very best compliment one can pay to this ‘Dancing with the Stars’ evening is that quite clearly no-one was even listening to the musicians…
Joshua Bell with those corny costumes dancing a Viennese waltz to Vivaldi, an Italian composer– is there a word for a audio/visual oxymoron? Whomever dreamt up this ridiculous combination knows little, if anything, about classical music or the talent of Joshua Bell. YUK
So many people…so little common sense. Imagine that-a 12 year old girl who isn’t perfect. She was absolutely wonderful, appropriately dressed, and an inspiration! Absolutely wonderful and I wish her the best of luck in the pursuit of her dreams…
Thanks to all of you who provided civilized comments, pro or con. I strongly dislike comments that bring the level of discourse down, e. g., “child pornography.” I hope anyone who feels that way is also commenting on all boards related to advertising in print and tv in this country–I’ve seen some ads wit 12 years with few clothes on in suggestive poses that should be placed in the child porn department. A 12 year old singer in a child appropriate dress on tv? Now that’s a relief. For people concerned about her training, technique,etc., I hope your comments reach the right people, and aren’t just posted here to be unpleasant.
As for me, I am thrilled that a network tv show on ballroom dancing has become popular, but am even happier that this show had a classical week. Oh my word, people, when was the last time any show this popular included classical music? Hurrah! And I loved all the singers, FYI. It could have been worse, folks–it could have been me up on stage! LOL. At least everyone would have been in agreement! Want me to send you my version? It’s really cool:-)
It sure could have been even worse. Let’s be positive.
But this was not classical music. No complaint. It just wasn’t.
Just because you play a classical melody, drop in some strings and skip the drum kit doesn’t make it classical music…
simply a once in a millenium BIG voice from a small child, millions of believers when they hear/see it happen, totally amazed and with all that a little girl laughing and attributing it all to God… try to top it— no circus act ever did, ever will.
You negatizers can call her an oddity if you wish but forget all your other criticisms— they are totally out of place and have nothing to do with her uniquity; try waking to reality for a change.
As far as the porn people, I choose to believe that most people are better than that. My husband was a member of a major symphony orchestra and has heard her voice–remarkably in tune. As I understand it, she has had professional training and does have a voice coach. Are her parents exploiting her? We don’t know. I don’t comment unless and until I have walked in that person’s shoes.
Nobody will argue your emotional attachment to her, that’s your personal emotion. But on more rational grounds, there are many many girls that can sing like her or better. In my personal surroundings there are already many.
You must understand that there is a market for what she does, and someone has to fill that marketable template.
Find one of the thousands of pretty girls with a pretty voice. -> easy
Find one, whose parents do not object to the girl being exploited by the marketing machine. -> a bit harder…
geoge lucas says:
“jackie is the greatest wonder for us all that we never seen before.she brings new life and good feeling to millions of people all over the world.”
And there we have absolute proof of use and throw away consumerism at its worst. Charlotte Church seems never to have existed.
Ah, how quickly they forget!
Oops, my bad – Charlotte Church apparently lived sometime in the middle ages, which is why nobody remembers her.
“richard carlisle says: simply a once in a millenium BIG voice from a small child”
Charlotte Church, 13 years old at her coming out was FAR from a small child of 10 years; would have been interesting to hear at 10 years, maybe she has a recording or two from grammar school recitals?
With Jackie emerging in age and size I doubt her singing popularity will persist, but her fans may support her in an acting career that could outdistance her current one– an interesting process for all to witness in the next two years, which should be time enough to set her future course…. she’s already made a start with Robert Redford.
You “doubt her singing popularity will persist”?
I thought you Jackie Evancho fans convinced she was some Higher Being sent from God to stop all wars.
The best voice since Time began and will ever be?
And now you “doubt her singing popularity will persist”?
So, excuse me, but WTF is all the fuss about then?
Oh yes, I forgot.
She’ll simply move on to become The Actor Who Outshines Everyone Who Ever Trod the Stage.
And after that, she’ll take up painting and put Michelangelo to shame.
And then when she gets bored of that, she’ll throw Einstein’s Theory of Relativity out the window.
Seriously, what planet are you on?
How about sharing some of that Weed you’ve clearly been smoking, so we can all Feel Good and Feed The World and remedy the world’s ills.
What a Goon.
Guess you missed the news– President Obama on meeting her asked if she’d like to take over the Navy Seals mission and she surprised everyone when she said “Of course!”, then when the embarrased president explained he was only kidding she collapsed in a puddle of tears almost drowning… now still receiving therapy.
The clip that made 11 year old Charlotte Church a sensation:
I am intrigued that you believe Ms. Evancho’s singing fame will not remain as she becomes older. An impressive piece of insight both into your own thinking and that of your fellow Evancho fans. I would agree with you in this regard.
Charlotte didn’t have one tenth the expression of Aled Jones who sang the Pie Jesu as a boy soprano in the early 80′s, presumably the model for the singing kids including Jackie who attempted this piece afterwards. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31D3Pten13g
Unfortunately, his voice was not suffciently built up either to support the sustained notes and there is a discernable quiver. The point is, with all three, it is their pleasant timbre that endeared them to the public. Don’t try to convince fans, however, that timbre is ONLY raw material. As Maria Callas herself said. “a good voice is not enough”.
The one the who is the real lesson for us all is little Jacopo Menconi. He also sang with an adult sound by dropping his larynx and used other forms of poor technique. Listen to some of his recordings. While still a child, his voice is damaged so badly that he sounds like an adult singer at the end of his career. His voice is rough and brittle and he has lost control over pitch and vibrato. This is what happens when someone sings with poor technique. This is also a voice that will in all probability never recover. A voice isn’t like a violin, cello, or trumpet. As Tim Page says, if YoYo Ma’s cello is ruined, he can purchase another one. When a voice is ruined, the singer can’t purchase another set of vocal cords.
Get your facts straight. Charlotte Church was 11 when she had her breakthrough, and 12 when she started getting the Jackie Evancho treatment. So she got started being just one year older than the darling Jackie, which is hardly FAR from “a small child of 10 years” since Jackie is 12 now.
She’s appearing with Robert Redford? What’s the movie – “On Old Age and Youth” based on Aristotle’s “Parva Naturalia?”
Jackie’s role will definitely turn even that into a major box office hit when the millions of her fans rush in to see it.
I personally think she should appear in a historical movie about Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed with two-time Oscar winner Luise Rainer playing the Countess. I’m sure she’d be willing to make a movie with a cutiepie like Jackie.
Church’s impromptu appearance on Big, Big Show just prior to 12th BD.
Church recorded Voice of an Angel in early 1999, just prior to her 13th BD, with an actual release date of 3/16/99, at age 13 yrs, 1 month.
VOA tour and breakout year at age 13-plus.
Evancho surprise moment on AGT 8/10/10 at age 10 years, 4 months.
Featured guest on Jay Leno in October 2010, then first solo concert in Houston Feb 2011, age 10 years, 10 months.
Evancho recorded Dream with Me in early 2011, just prior to her 11th BD, with release on 6/4/11, age 11 years, 2 months.
DWM tour incl. Canadian, British, and Japanese legs at age 11-plus.
I bow with awe and respect before your encyclopedic knowledge, Mr. Mathematics. An apt nick if there ever was one.
How many records did you say Charlotte sold at age 10?
Church sold no records at age 10, 11, or 12.
Release date of Voice of an Angel was 1 month after her 13th BD.
Chronological age comparison will be with the CD Evancho records next year in the spring of 2013.
And why is this relevant again?
Re: Charlotte Church
I’ve said this before, but evidently it bears repeating. MisterMathematics has already pointed out the differences in age between Charlotte & Jackie, but there are other, much more important (IMHO), differences.
Charlotte started smoking & drinking, changed genres & had children, any one of which (let alone all of them) could have impacted her voice as much as poor technique. In fact, if you listen to her voice over time, you’ll hear that her worst problems (with breathiness, etc) occurred between 2007 & 2010, which corresponded temporally to her pregnancies. (What would Anna Netrebko say about pregnancy & the voice?) It probably wasn’t the only factor, but it certainly appears to have been a major one. She’s been improving since then.
It’s true that Charlotte no longer has her clear head register (or at least doesn’t seem to use it) & high notes; she’s much more of a mezzo, or perhaps an alto, now. But her chest register is much deeper & more powerful. Her voice is lovely now. She just sings in a different genre. Anyway, is it really unusual for young singers to change Fächers?
Not only that, but any fair-minded person can see than Charlotte’s chin waggle (one example of the poor technique they have in common) was at least 3 or 4 times worse than Jackie’s diminishing one is now. And, as you no doubt know, some children with chin waggles have problems later, but others do not.
So beside waiting (as MisterM has pointed out) at least another 9 months before we compare Charlotte with Jackie (at least WRT their recordings), we should wait until (& if!!!) Jackie starts smoking & drinking, changes genres & has children. It’s JMHO, but maybe we shouldn’t be so eager to compare Charlotte with Jackie, given these incredibly profound differences.
Re: OTT Jackie fans
I don’t know if you have said this, but others have said it, or at least implied it, & it can be offensive. Not all Jackie fans are OTT, unhinged pedophiles, & it isn’t fair to accuse us of these things. Nor are all working children being unfairly exploited & robbed of their childhoods. We hear about the child stars who grow up to be train wrecks (e.g. Lindsay Lohan, or even, to an extent, the above-mentioned Ms Church), but plenty of them grow up to be well-adjusted adults, in or out of the entertainment industry. It just doesn’t sell newspapers, or generate ratings or web hits, to talk about them. (How many of the kids who played the von Trapp family in The Sound of Music grew up to have major life problems?)
We fair-minded Jackie fans are aware that not all Jackie critics are jealous & angry; a lot of them are sincere & knowledgeable, & are simply expressing their opinions, to which they certainly have a right. Many of us have also criticised some of Jackie’s techniques or practices, part of our fair-mindedness. Yes, i have even had public disagreements with Jackie’s parents on the blogs, though (hopefully) in a respectful manner. I try to articulate my reasons in an polite way, & they have a right to agree or disagree.
Criticism in the world of professional singing can be brutally frank. I’ve seen reviews where mature singers (e.g. one whose initials are RF) are urged, in print, to retire, something many of us in middle age REALLY don’t want to hear. Jackie is a professional singer now, so she can expect to hear some tough criticism. However, she is only 12, & is a very polite, well-spoken & sweet child, in addition to being very talented, so we’d ask her critics to understand when her fans sometimes feel (over) protective of her.
In any case, the latter part of this post is an attempt to diffuse some of the more extreme anger coming from all sides. Maybe more respect all around would help.
Sorry about the typos:
1. Paragraph 3 should end with “Fächer”; no need for the S, since it’s already plural in the German.
2. 1st line of paragraph 4 should say “thaT Charlotte,” not “than.”
Oops. Also, paragraph 7 should say “A polite way,” not “an.” I probably made other mistakes; should NOT have sacked all the proofreaders.
There’s actually a voice of reason in this slugfest and I doubt if anyone else is interested in anything but a bar fight…. reason is unpalatable to this throng.
Fighting for its own sake rules… shameful how supposedly elite people have the same pugilism trait as bar drunks and if you appeal for reason you’ll drive them away somewhere that they can pick other fights.
You seem to have a decently balanced view of both Mss. Church and Evancho. And it seems that you’re a trained singer as well, which is probably why you can write about both with less bias than most.
I’m not really angry at anyone, except managers who enrich themselves without seemingly performing their jobs in a conjscientious way, one which is bneficial in all ways to the artists they manage. I suppose such managers have always been a rarity.
If we compare the two child stars,.it should definitely be done when they were/are at their adolescent vocal peak, and before the started/start smoking and having babies.
Smoling shouldn’t be such an issue – lots of major opera stars in the 19th and 20th centuries smoked like chimneys and were somehow still able to perform quite well before many succumbed to the effects of their habit.
I’ve never heard any singers talk about pregnancy changing voices. That may be lack of education on my part, though I’ve been around singers quite a bit.
Charlotte Church is allegedly worth 11 million pounds, and no doubt Jackie Evancho will end up with a decent college fund too. Heck, if I could have sung for millions and raked in that much $$$ when I was 10, I would happily have done so (said in retrospect).
Jealousy is far from my mind when it comes to Jackie Evancho. It is more about the utterly tasteless way in which she is presented. Perhaps if her handlers toned it down a bit, I might actually enjoy her singing non-operatic repertoire. She’s a cute kid and I hope she has a life like Shirley Temple’s.
Pax vobiscum omnes.
There is an interesting parallel between the claim that crossover makes classical music palatable to the general public and the religious fix that one might get by hearing “Ave Maria” sung by sweet looking adolescents starting from Deanna Durbin.
Jackie, when singing this sort of music is frequently accompanied by angelic light displays and/or a sanctimonious choir to prop up her voice. There have been quite a few fans who claimed that listening to her made them “believers”. Fortunately, her promoters don’t employ the bait and switch of a Madonna who cleverly hooked onto a recognizable name, and perverted to practically the complete opposite what the original figure represents.
The early Church fathers warned against making religion a form of entertainment, so there was always that debate on how beautiful music should be for worship, so as not to be distracted and carried away by it.
The whole scene is weird here: a kid with a faux adult voice, mixing in religious themes with superficial dancing and equally nonsensical comments by a jury. Too bad there were no real experts to critique the singing. One can only speculate how much moola this slap-up “cult”shural event racked up.
I very nearly pressed the “Play” arrow above, but I have resolutely resisted listening to this kid so far, partly because I am old and have had a lifelong career in classical music, and partly because I have a pretty sensitive gag reflex. You may say this makes me ineligible to comment, but there is a pattern here. Sweet kid with some talent bursts on to the scene, a lot of sentimental people say “Aaaahhhh”, her handlers make a lot of money very quickly, and a dozen troubled years later everyone’s saying “Who?”. And we’re having a dialogue of the deaf on this board and elsewhere, because to the people who like this sort of thing it’s self-evidently a musical miracle, while the people who are concerned about music as art rather than money, and know what it takes to produce a classical musician, regard the fans as soppy and gullible. I’m afraid there isn’t going to be much common ground. Certainly any attempt at criticism on the net is always going to be greeted by outraged attacks on the critic’s motives and personality. I was recently flamed in the most violent personal and anatomical terms for daring to suggest that Wagner wasn’t a very nice person It isn’t worth it. The allegations of paedophiliac interest are bound to provoke a reaction, though it’s clearly true that a lot of people have an oddly conflicted attitude to young girls. The fact remains, though, that while the fans are having a swooningly good time, the classical music people are offended that the impression is being given to the public that real music is easy and shallow and all about instant celebrity.
Dear John Hames,
It is obvious you reveal yourself as a classical music snob with your statement against Ms. Evancho, who was only a child of 9 when she was discovered by the Great David Foster, who also discovered Barbara Streisand when she was only in her teens. It really is pitiful that you haven’t heard Jackie sing from her “Platinum” selling Album (CD/DVD) or one of her sold-out concerts she performed at from Coast to Coast.
Not to mention, how many child prodigies had the privilege and honor to sing for the Imperial Family of Japan or the US President and Washing D.C. leadership on four occasions other than Ms. Jackie Evoncho…I really believe your statements against this “Child Prodigy” are irrelevant in regards to her very short successful performing career and record sale all over the world. Also, for anyone to bring up the disgusting thought of “Child Pedophiles” are sick and need to seek professional treatment themselves, shame on you and others in this blog!!
BTW…Here’s a website listing of music prodigies at http://www.Enotes.com which is supported by University professors from around the country: http://www.enotes.com/topic/List_of_music_prodigies#Classical and Ms. Jackie Evancho is listed at the top of the classic opera section.
Dear Edward V,
David Foster discovered Barbra Streisand when she was in her teens??? Ms. Streisand, who was born in 1942, turns 70 this year. David Foster was born in 1949. So how did he discover Barbara Streisand when she was in her teens. Even if he discovered her when she was 19 (in 1961), he would have only been 12 years old. Please check facts before you make statements that could not be true.
Ah, Opera Magic,
Evancho-lists never worry about FACTS, you should know that by now if you’ve read this and other Jackie Evancho-related entries on this blog.
Facts just get in the way, they’re inconvenient truths that get in the way of their incoherent, mindless ranting.
Spelling, grammar and reasoned, logical argument aren’t usually their fortes, either.
You might as well try to teach musical theory and appreciation to your pet goldfish. In fact, your pet goldfish has probably a bigger IQ than most of Jackie Evancho’s “fans”.
Best not to waste your time and energy on them.
I realized that Evancho-lists never worry about FACTs, but the “David Foster discovered Barbra (and yes, I saw that Edward V can’t even spell Ms Streisand’s first name correctly) Streisand” thing was so hilarious that I simply couldn’t help but comment on it.
My pet goldfish has a higher IQ than most of Jackie’s fans? The imbecile who read “My Pet Goat” to a group of school children has a higher IQ than most of Jackie’s fans. Oh I’m sorry Jackie fans, that last was needlessly cruel.
Opera Magic, have you been living under a rock? You did not know that David Foster was the first prodigy producer?
…or lest the grammar police come calling, the first producer prodigy?
A russ is a russ is a russ. It continues Incorrectly capitalizing Words upon Words to no End.
David Foster did not discover Jackie Evancho either.
Didn’t your other personality tell you of that from his conversing with Lisa E. back at the ranch. Though Jackie performed at one of his shows when she was 9, he wanted nothing to do with producing a CD or otherwise assisting in a recording deal for her. After YouTube viewers voted her onto AGT, it was there her “discovery” occurred by that show’s audience.
Now be a good lad and just accept that you misstated the facts again and not go off accusing Norm of editing your post.
If he’s that nefarious, why are you here? Again!!!
@John Hames – You sum it all up absolutely perfectly, every word a direct hit.
Edward V.’s reply, however, makes me wonder if he and others like him have day jobs as email spammers. Lots of words – no actual content.
I have also wondered, after reading far too many of these comments, if most of the ‘Evancho-lists’ here are actually just one person masquerading as many. There is a certain uniformity to the structure, particularly the incorrect use of upper-case letters on key words.
@ John Hames
I appreciate your understanding of the street fight in progress… your perceptions are rich with validity but a question comes to me in the last few words of your comment — the word “public” — does it refer to those with an uninvolved overview of the Jackie phenomenon– neither classicists nor fans– or do you refer to fans with the word public?
Thanks in advance for a clarification.
Fair question! I suspect those of us in the music “industry” tend rather unfairly to regard “the public” as some amorphous mass, and in this case I think I simply meant the mass of people generally, with no strong opinions on this or that musical phenomenon. In particular, there is a kind of unspoken suspicion that “the public” (there I go again!) see especially classical music perfectly performed, and just because it is so polished they probably have no idea just how many thousands of hours went into getting it that way. In common parlance, “they make it look so easy”. In the case of Jackie, I’m simply very uneasy about the way the entertainment business uses talented kids for as long as they’re making money for everyone, and then dumps them. One has seen it so often. I’m an instrumentalist, not a singer, but I too have seen (or rather, heard) young voices ruined by being made to produce tones at power which their physical substrate just isn’t ready to cope with. And that’s in addition to what showbiz does to them as people. I don’t mind in the least if people enjoy hearing Jackie sing, but please be aware of the probable downside of being a child phenomenon. And don’t make exaggerated claims for her, which help no one in the long term, especially not the girl herself.
@ John Hames:
Thanks for the clarification.
The “public” now identified is likely so much more concerned with getting to work on time than how easily a kid is making “real music”… but hold on— real music? The comments in this blog are stating there is no real music from Jackie, just phony put-on junk… time for another clarification?
An unrelated issue: Jackie’s exploitation– to judge this item you should look at one or more interviews to find who is the exploiter and whether it’s mutual or not… and if she’s too young to be considered an exploiter in her own right, then at least admit she is the envy of countless millions of people young and old worldwide and if in five or ten years she’s a virtual nobody her record will stand as a child at age ten selling a million CDs and with some accumulated wealth and a new “nobody” status do you think her fellow fourth-graders at that point in time won’t still be impressed with her accomplishments?
Another clarification: is there the slightest hint of a problem here?
As for the Wagner debate– no wonder you found some static trying to judge somebody at that time and distance gap… do we have any idea what’s going on in the lives of our next door neighbors when they don’t even know what their real problems are… how can we ever dig up all the pertinent info about the intricacies of a man who supposedly stole another man’s wife, and even if it really was a worst-case scenario you must give some slack to someone as dedicated and productive in a career that offered the sustainable treasure enjoyed by so many.
It is pleasant discussing items such as these with you without anger or bias.
Actually it was an unfortunate misunderstanding: she thought it was about protecting the seals, not taking out the next equivalent of Bin Laden… so now she’s gone ahead and bought an M-16 on Ebay and hired a helicopter so she can personally patrol the entire arctic and really protect the seals like she was misled into thinking she would do in the first place.
I should have mentioned now that this new mission has her complete devotion she’s rebounded out of therapy right back to her bubbly self.
Boys and girls on both sides, Half the time my moderators and I have no idea what you’re on about in these Jackie posts. Please try to keep it clean. Avoid personal abuse and unfounded accusations of child abuse. Stick to the point. If you prefer to mud-wrestle, take it to amazon, or wherever else this sort of thing goes on.
For those who claim Slipped Disc has a fixation on Jackie Evancho, or is trying to build readership through use of her name, forget it. We have filed fewer than a dozen posts in the year since she topped the classical charts and, while the reader responses have been prolific, the actual readership is a minuscule fraction of this site’s daily reach. Most days, it’s well below one percent. Keep that in proportion, along with all the rest.
Thank-you for the words of reason, Mr. Lebrecht.
Likewise, thank you Mr Lebrecht.
If you ever have the chance to see Jackie Perform in person you will see women, men, and even children with tears in their eyes when experiencing “The Jackie Effect”. Such surreal talent and emotion emanating from such a young girl has a profound result on her audience. Attending a performance forces you to leave your jaundiced view at home and allows you to witness first-hand exactly why Jackie Evancho enraptures so many.
Exactly, Stephen. Simply enjoying the pleasure of her ***music*** and none of them thinking:
* Is a female supposed to be singing this song?
* I wonder if she understands the story of this song
* Is this song age appropriate for her?
* Look at how she gestures with her arms
* Did you hear that? She took a breath in the middle of a word.
* I can’t understand the words she’s singing
* Look, her shoulders are hunched!
* Is she in sync with the orchestra?
* Look at her throat and chest, she’s contorting
* That expression on her face is inappropriate for this song
Wow “Simply enjoying the pleasure of her ***music*** …” What a concept!
I hope you have warned Tony Bennett about all your loving concerns. 17 time Grammy winner and legendary performer Tony Bennett will be performing his classic repertoire of the Great American Songbook and will share the evening with young sensation Jackie Evancho on August 31st.
Of course Tony is not a “classical singer”. just a great classic.
I guess my comment blew right over you.
What I mentioned was only in point of: that those who appreciate music for the aesthetic result its performance brings can experience that “Jackie Effect”, while those preoccupied with particulars of form, technique, legacy, cultivation and the like, cannot.
Yes, little Jackie DOES bring tears to my eyes. The “Jackie-effect” is one of pain and horror at the surreal experience of what I’m seeing and hearing.
Yes, yes….I know I said “pax vobiscum” further up, but this comment beggars belief. Good thing Christian has enough belief to make up for my shortcoming in the divine department.
Quite agree. I gag and press MUTE.
First of all Jackie is still a child and she is a lovely young lady. What she is wearing may be a bit over the top for a 12 year old but she is singing on a TV show and that is why she is dressed to the nines. Everyone dresses like so on these evening shows, that is the way things are done. There is actually nothing wrong with what she is wearing and it is in the minds of those watching, not the intention of the child or the show. Her dress could be a little bit more age appropriate, but basically it is very elegant.
Her voice is still very strong now at 12/13 and is very mature. I am still not convinced that she is not being trained in some special way to project her voice as it is over mature for someone of her age. And just because I am not a fan that does not make me a hater or jealous. We do not have to agree with you on every point.
She certainly has a remarkable voice; and it is even more mature now than it ever was.
I went through many of the posts, and am led to make a statement. I am a self taught singer and musician, who has been singing for many decades. I sing and play ONLY music for the Lord. When I first heard Jackie sing, I heard the Holy Spirit. All these posts, including mine, are not all-knowing, but I am convinced that the All-Knowing gave her the Gift that she has. Even if she doesn’t mature into a great opera singer,, and doesn’t have voice training, she will have accomplished something that VERY few of us have or will ever accomplish. She has inspired and uplifted millions, and I am one of them. I pray for her and dread the influences and greed around her. I was pained by the performance of Ave Maria as a background for a Godless dance performance. The words she sang were what the Angel said to Mary announcing the most important and Holy event in history. The setting of the song verged on blasphemy. Yet, I KNOW that she is in the Lord’s hands, and that He will be with her, as I know that she loves Him. Like all the others that know and Love Him, we will strive to do good and to make the world a better place. I have listened a number of times to “To Believe”, the song on her website, and can hear that her heart is in the song…really a prayer. She IS a phenomenon, and all we can do is appreciate this great gift from the Lord, and pray for her.
Don’t be ridiculous. Foster has worked with Streisand. He did not discover her. If you were just making a joke, it’s a pretty silly one.
Opera Magic, you so serious!
Of course I just was goofing on Edward V’s disclosure that pre-pube David Foster discovered teen Babs.(now if that doesn’t exclaim “producer prodigy” what does?) – and rumor has it, that after a good weekend kegger, this is the premo place to come for some great silliness.
You also gotta’ love one who writes of “Child Pedophiles.” Here I thought my first crush when I was in grade-school was just innocent young love, but turns out I was suffering from a major deviancy disorder and should have been sent to the crossbar hotel
LOL GauchoGirl. Everyone knows UCSB is a party school. I bet you’re mixing your drinks with Red Bulls too, to boot. This explains a lot regarding these blog comments.
The craziness here is so prevalent, it’s difficult to tell when someone is joking or not. I just don’t want to see a talented kid’s voice wrecked by bad technique, money grubbing recording execs who just want to make money off of her now, and “handlers” who prefer to let her sing with an artificial voice that her fans adore rather than getting her a good teacher who whould show her how to sing correctly with her natural child’s voice. This kid could have a lengthy career if all the above don’t combine to rob her of her voice before she reaches adulthood.
Q. “What were these women experiencing?” A. The same profound emotion the Beatles had on crowds of women in the late 60′s. It’s a PR effect discovered by Liszt’s manager who prepared the way for ladies would also swoon and faint over him. “Hysteria” is the pre-Freudian term.
At any rate, the amjority of those who converge on any site that has to do with her, staunchly repel any criticism, go on about her “tiny lungs”, etc, are in the main, middle to older aged men.
Bravo, Cabbagejuice!!! You’ve hit the nail on the head precisely!
In the words of the “prodigy of profound thought”,Charlie Brown, “Oh, good grief…….”
Lebrecht may not be aware that the poor technology is allowing a continuing public forum for a potentially dangerous stalker who is multiply signed on as MalibuSue, Vanessa, Jackieforpresident, Stagemommadness and several others [and has used those same ID's on other sites] who had their account terminated on the LA Times blog for making direct violent pedophilic threats toward Miss Evancho.
I will repeat; the person posting as MalibuSue made direct, VIOLENT pedophilic threats toward Miss Evancho on an LA Times blog [comments now deleted].
Hopefully, you can back up your accusations with proof, otherwise you may be called to account for possible slander. For sure, Mr. Lebrecht would not allow anything offensive on his blog, much less “direct violent pedophilic threats” (your own words). To date, there has only been good humored banter from the posters you mentioned. But I would be cautious about dangerous stalkers who have fixations on young girl singers.
Oh Russ\Edward\Richard Carlisle\Hal9000\TheOne
You truly need psychological help!
I guess you think by making such a statement I will retreat from calling you out on all your lies that you post here and elsewhere.
How convenient to cite an article where the alleged comments were deleted. However I suspect the L.A. times still has all the comments from that article in their database. If what you stated was true, why don’t you contact them and the police. Do you not want them to know who YOU are? Do you really think the L.A. times would let stand what you assert and they or representatives of JE would not report such alleged threats to authorities?
You keep coming up with more and more fantastical stories. Your latest that you spout off about over at Amazon is that Norman Lebrecht goes into your posts here and edits them putting in statements that you never made. Just quit telling lies, then you won’t have to keep inventing all these covers when you are found out.
You are a very disturbed person and I hope the right people are aware of you, as you are continuing to get more and more deranged.
I think this has gone too far. I am stunned. I really do think a number of these people are unbalanced. Do you perhaps think there have been enough comments here?
Quite possibly, Janey. I will give it another day to see if sanity prevails. If not, I’ll shut down the comment section of this particular thread.
Dear Mr. Lebrecht,
I think this has gone far enough too. There are enough comments here. We don’t need anymore craziness.
The accusations have gotten downright unpleasant.
There is certainly some instability there. I will suspend responding to him further if it might help cool things down. Some of his misstatements like that regarding David Foster discovering Jackie, etc… are quite trivial, but I do think blatant falsehoods such as those regarding Renee Flemming should be answered and corrected by someone when they occur on this blog in particular.
I am suprised that Jackie’s anti fans are willing to give up spouting their opinions about Jackie and her fans.
Her fans are some of the most powerfull people in the world, if in doubt research on who has aranged for her to sing before them.
There is a dark side to this world so it might be smart to restrain your comments about people that could arrange for you to have some real problems.
We are leaving this post as a sample of unacceptable comment. Please do not refer to, or emulate, it
To every naysayer, I’ve searched and found a magnificent performer/woman, Carmen Monarcha, who expresses herself in the same way as Jackie Evancho and they both hit every note with precision and grace singing “O Mio Babbino Caro.”
I had the privilege to see Andre Rieu and his orchestra and I feel he IS a cross-over opera classical conductor. They performed not only opera, but also contemporary music and the countries’ national anthem from the country he performs in. Everyone in the audience had so much fun and really appreciates his music as do everyone who buys tickets to see/hear Jackie Evancho from coast to coast in America and in Japan and the UK. Here are two links for both Carmen Monarcha and Jackie Evancho…you will see how similar they perform and the only difference I can see is, there’s 20 year separation in age.
Jackie Evancho in Las Vegas with David Foster.
Carmen Monarcha in Cortona, at the Telstra Dome in Melbourne with André Rieu.
@Edward V. There is PLENTY of difference between the two vids you posted, only you can’t hear them. First of all, there are PLENTY of excellent recordings of this on youtube and anywhere else, Netrebko’s being one of them. This short aria is not difficult in its original key but a significant difference here is that it is transposed down for Jackie. Too bad, because she does better in the higher range. In fact, this particular try is an improvement on so many of her recordings of this piece. Maybe her promoters took seriously the criticisms about breathing in the middle of words and audible gasping for breath.
But more significantly Carmen Monarcha, the Brazilian soprano, is a trained singer who studied for many years. The blend of the high tones (for tenors in Nessun Dorma” or here in the proper Ab) is the indication of training and what is called for by this type of music, not the white sound of choir boys and girls.
You’re right in everything you say. Monarcha is an adult, trained singer. She doesn’t manipulate her voice in order to sound like an adult…she IS an adult. Her level of training shows in this video. She’s certainly not an untrained child. I think you’re right also that Edward V can’t hear the difference between Jackie and Carmen Monarcha.
Just as a side comment, I’ve always felt sorry for the “girl singers” who Andre Rieu “promotes” and then, when they become a bit older, drops in favor of the next young, pretty soprano. It’s very creepy.
Some people love Miss Evancho’s voice and some people do not.
Opinions differ widely on whether or not her voice is in danger or whether it is “natural.”
Even the “experts” cannot agree. Also, it is apparent that both the lovers and the critics are emotionally invested if they argue and insult.
But, regardless of what anyone believes about Miss Evancho, she has a destiny with singing for the time being, like it or not!
Now, go and drink the wine you enjoy; the price and the year are irrelevant.
Very well said and may it do some good…
A thought that occurred to me after viewing all the comments, making a few– if there is one good reason for alarm on the part of voice coaches who have been the most vehement and persistent in their stance comprising artificiality and future voice ruination it is the nightmare possibility that a mother and little daughter will someday approach them with a request for teaching the :Jackie technique: … true or false, coaches?
A final note concerning my flagrant misspelling of Vissi… not one of you supposedly elite people offered the correct spelling — just basic etiquette — if you’re not capable of that it rather affects your image just a tad…
perhaps if we changed the spelling of pizza, putting in an s for each z we’d have a suggested summation for many of the remarks made here.– and I’ll say it for you– including mine.
Well done, Richard Carlisle, it’s taken you 5 days to find out the correct spelling.
You must be exhausted: go lie down now and have a rest.
We’ll look forward to more of your intellectual probity and acuity when you’re ready.
Your comment is self-illuminating.
Dear Richard Carlisle,
I would hope that good voice teachers would politely refuse to teach the “Jackie Technique”, and explain exactly why this is not a good vocal technique. Sure, there will be parents who go to voice teachers and ask them to teach their child the “Jackie Technique’, and I imagine teachers would not be very happy about being confronted with these requests. It still remains that no matter what Jackie’s fans think, her technique is very poor. This doesn’t mean that she has no talent, just that she doesn’t sing with good technique. BTW, why is it that none of the musically uneducated Jackie fans don’t do research into proper singing technique, why it is so essential to all singers (not just opera singers), and why singing with poor technique can damage or ruin a voice? Are you all afraid that you might find out that proper technique is as important as those of us who are concerned that Jackie could damage her voice are saying?
I never said her technique was correct or ideal for her or anyone else… my point was simply that the voice coach critics were more concerned about being asked in the future to TEACH her technique than they were about her harming her voice and I think you are in some way agreeing with that pespective.
In regard to your prediction of voice damage try googling “Jackie Evancho guest appearance on Canadian Idol finale”, a recent performance that has her sounding below par on all but her highest range… if her voice is now showing signs of the effect of improper technique then should she stop and rest totally?
Richard, what exactly do you mean as “sub par”? I just watched the two songs Jackie performed, and I can hear nothing off from her usual flawless singing. The sound from the mobile backstage video crew that filmed the live feed to the show was tinny, but that had nothing to do with Jackie herself. The sound from the televised broadcast has a much clearer sound. I hope you are not allowing yourself to be fed the nonsense Jackie is not being cared for in the best possible manner by the best trained professionals available. The comments here by sideshow armchair critics know absolutely nothing about Jackie Evancho and her family, and the care and guidance given to her. Some people just cannot accept the fact there is a fantastically talented little girl who has talents that belie her age. I hope you can avoid being caught up in such invidious, childish, and self-aggrandizing critical masturbation.
Oops. There’s dissent among the ranks of the Evancho-list camp…..
Watch out. Fists will be flying soon……
@ Stephan Runnels
Stephan, I only heard the Angel performance, noticed the tone of her low range not as clear as every other performance to date… if you give that another listen let me know if you hear what I do.
I must emphasize my avoidance of “team” connections– concerned only with whatever is best for Jackie as she continues to develop as one of the all-time great phenomenonal talents in the performing arts.
Even if she ends up with a Charlotte Church voice she will with her brilliant charm do astounding things– something for all to anticipate.
I listened to the CGT performance, and yes, what I heard there is exactly what I’ve been talking about all along. I hear a wobbly, insecure tone, gulping for air every few notes (There are many well trained child singers who breathe correctly and don’t gulp like this, thus ‘tiny lungs” isn’t a valid excuse for the gulping), and she’s still waggling her chin. I even hear strain on the top notes, which you thought were still good. This strain on the top notes has been a part of her performances for the past year at least. This is all worrysome. Most singers are trained before they begin a career. My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that Jackie should put her career on hold for awhile and learn to sing correctly. As I’ve noted before, though, this probably won’t happen as somebody or more than one somebody associated with her is/are sure intent on making a lot of money right now…and a good teacher would make her sing with her normal child’s voice rather than that artificially produced more “mature” sound.
Before someone says that there have been child singers whose voices lasted and who went on to have careers as adults (Anna Maria Alberghetti, Beverly Sills, Julie Andrews, Deanna Durbin for instance), please let me point out that all of them had teachers who taught them correct technique. Sills’s parents actually “retired” her around the age of 9 or 10, got her a good teacher, and then when she emerged years later, it was as a trained singer.
Tone sensitivity is tops in my music appreciation spectrum… I don’t see any difference in her high range– it’s been strained, especially in Lovers and it’s still clear as it’s been; but several lower notes seem coarse-sounding now and it could be due to several factors including sound tech equipment, slight allergy/sore throat, etc… it’s simply wait and see… and hope.
Her breathing could well be better-coached but I think she may be fearful of changing a working formula… she seems extremely willful and may be making the decisions on technique changes … but breathing hasn’t affected tone previously and is quite irrelevant in this discussion, seems to me.
To sample the best tone I’ve heard from her performances, find the youtube of her duet: Prayer with Josh Page– just stunning.
I do appreciate your input and hope we all (both sides) can agree on at least one constructive thing to help her in the short and long term, both for her benefit and for us as an ongoing appreciative audience.
That last should have read “do research” rather than “don’t do research”.
I listened to the “Prayer” duet with Josh Page, and I still hear the same problems I’ve heard all along; gulping for air every few notes, dropping her larynx to get that mature sound, etc. She’s always had trouble with her low notes as well as the high. Josh Page, however, has had training. I’ve read comments that he has made, and he’s even aware that there is material that he’s not ready yet to sing. He specifically mentioned a Mozart aria that he thought he might not have been ready to sing. Of course Jackie is younger than Page, but there are people around her (or there should be) who know that she is singing material that is age and skilllevel inappropriate. My guess is that those coarse sounding notes that you hear may well be the result of poor technique. Everyone keeps saying what an amazing range she has, but I’m hearing a voice that is only comfortable (as comfortable as a voice can be without training) in a limited range. This little girl loves to sing and I’d be willing to bet that she would rather have her voice for decades to come rather than make a whole lot of money and have her voice last only for a very few years. At 12 years of age, however, she’s probably too young to understand that she could be damaging her voice. I don’t imagine those around her are telling her that learning to sing first and then having a career is what’s best for her. A good teacher, by the way, could get her to change her “formula” as the one she’s using now, really isn’t working for her. Alas, it’s hard to know what kind of advice she and her parents are getting. I do feel confident, however, in saying that her parents have been told by competent voice teachers that Jackie needs to learn to sing properly. If money is the lure that keeps her performing, that’s sad. Incidentally, adult singers have made poor career choices and damaged their voices too. Jose Carreras, the operatic tenor, had a perfectly marvelous voice when he first started singing professionally as an adult. Unfortunately, he was persuaded to sing roles that were too heavy for his voice, and much of his voice was gone by the time he was in his early thirties. Somehow it’s even more sad when it’s a small child, as a child doesn’t have the understanding to know what he or she is doing to their voice. Adult, fully trained singers do presumably have the knowledge to know that they’re doing things that can damage their voices. The bass, Samuel Ramey, once said that one of the hardest things a singer has to learn is when to say, “No”. That implies knowing what vocal material is right for their particular voices and that which is not.
As far as sound equipment goes, all I can hear from the sound equipment when I listen to Jackie is a lot of amplification and reverb. The sound equipment isn’t responsible for what you and I are both hearing in these recordings when we talk aboutsuch things as strain, coarseness of tone, and audible breathing.
Thank you for your reasonable and polite e-mails.
Adding to my last post, singers knowing when to say, ‘No”, also implies not singing too much as well as not singing material that is not right for one’s particular voice.
Possibly the most intriguing aspect of classical music with all its complexities and many interpretations by countless performers is: the more knowledgeable we become the broader basis for disagreement, which must be accepted as the norm for all music enthusiasts.
Why not look then for ever-increasing knowledge and write off complete agreement about virtually everything… that said, I’d like to offer an insight to this phenomenon we intensely debate.
Everyone should view the youtube titled “Jackie Evancho watch out” to understand her level of motivation to perform (even at age two when she performed for herself in front of a large mirror)… perhaps an indication she will perform — against all odds, all forms of resistance, all kinds of advice against performing — compelled to do this joyful act with no outward influence like money or fame or anything else… her drive is internal and incontrovertible and I beg anyone to disagree.
@Opera Magic “To learn how to say NO” – what a wonderful saying and worth remembering.
There is too much mysticism surrounding the act of singing as though the law of physics are suspended.
Motivation and talent are supposed to be enough. Still, people can believe that dancers and instrumentalists have to spend long hours learning technique and detailed preparation so that performances come to be as idiot-proof as possible. Instead so many of JE’s fans are bending over backwards to make excuses about technical flaws that can be remedied in a studio.
I don’t deny that she has tremendous drive to perform. The problem is that if her voice is ruined, she won’t have a voice to perform with. Voices, once ruined, can’t be replaced. I can’t stress this enough. Sure she could become an actress or take up a musical instrument or become an dancer, but what she really enjoys is singing. That much is very obvious. She might not want to divert her drive to perform into another type of performance such as acting or playing a musical instrument or dancing. Then there’s always the possibility that she might not be a very good actress or have the talent to play a musical instrument or dance.
My thinking is, judging by the revelation of her inner drive to sing as shown in the “Jackie Evancho watch out” youtube, she will not stop — and NO ONE will stop her — until and unless her voice deteriorates to something even worse than what Charlotte Church is left with… we are witnessing a drama within a drama as Jackie faces and manages whatever comes along in an action-packed future.
Edith Piaf, Julie Andrews, Hayley Westenra — French, British and New Zealand cultural icons respectively, are Jackie’s goal: to be for us what they are for their countries…. our hopes and hers.are identical.
Correction— that isn’t Jackie– rather an inspired imitator– possibly a close would-be representation regardless.
The bottom line is that she won’t be performing as a singer if her voice is destroyed, no matter how determined she is. Westenra appears to have had some training and I know Andrews did. Piaf really has no relation to the others. I wouldn’t really classify Andrews as a cultural icon. For that matter, the kiwi is more of a cultural icon to New Zealand than Westenra is. Church had bad vocal habits from the beginning. Jackie has many of the bad vocal habits that Church had, and could likely end up as Church did. Don’t blame the smoking entirely for Church’s vocal problems. Deterioration of her voice could be heard back when she was about 15. The strain, especially on the top notes, was there and the poor breathing technique had always been with her.
Once more, when a voice is gone, it’s gone. A voice isn’t a cello or a bassoon. Nobody is manufacturing new vocal cords and there aren’t any centuries old fine vocal cords that can be purchased. There was no vocal cord Stradivari, industriously laboring in his workshop. No Guarneri. A singer gets one set of vocal cords and that’s it. Also, there are no vocal cord transplants.
Guess the ultimate New Zealand cultural icon would be a singing kiwi fruit … “National Voice” is the term perhaps… who do we have– is it Shirley Temple (quit too early) Deanna Durbin (started late, quit in her prime), or most likely– Judy Garland– started young, persisted, still seen in annual “Wiz” replays, but never as intense as Jackie in performance.
I for one would hope Jackie will become our National Voice; and if the best thing would be to rest that voice or other means to protect it you could better write to her directly rather than bother with commoners like me.
I don’t consider Church important due to her pitch problems that started well before her voice damage and Jenkins doesn’t have sufficient tone quality (haven’t been able to listen through ANY of her performances– not to be critical of her personal substance or newly demonstrated dancing ability).
Piaf, though in a different category, is for me at least the French “Voice”,.. it’s all very subjective of course.
We certainly agree about Edith Piaf being the French Voice. She is in a category by herself. There has never been anyoine like her. I do recommend however the videos of Elaine Paige’s one woman show devoted to Piaf. She literally turns herself into Piaf. it’s a most touching performance and a tribute to the great Piaf.
Judy Garland is another we agree on. What an extraordinary voice. Alas, all of the personal turmoil in her life pretty much destroyed her glorious voice when she was way too young for this to happen.
Thanks for the Elaine Page performance… you know, it’s often an easy act– sharing something loved– in reality one of life’s most important opportunities… in turn I must direct you to a youtube movie clip of Edith singing “La Vie en Rose”: stunning, adorable– unique in her use of hands and arms (with no redundancy) … extreme use of vibrato (but somehow acceptable).
I should have mentioned Canada and Celine Dion with Rita McNeil as a runner-up as that country’s voice.
Another note on Jackie’s recent Canadian performance: compare her QVC rendition of the same (Angel) song– a worrisome difference from the first note … am I the only one able to detect it?
National voice? What a silly idea – stuck in adolescent star worship, I’d say.
Please allow me to re-word: .. a worrisome difference starting with the first note…
I’ve listened to both performances of Angel, and I hear the same bad technique in both videos: the audible gulping for air every few notes, not supporting the tone properly, dropping her larynx to get that more mature, but artificial tone, straining on the high notes, etc. What’s different about the Canadian video is that the voice itself doesn’t sound the same. There’s a brittle, more coarse sound starting to creep into the tone all the way through the song (and I’m assuming that’s what you’re hearing too), and the high notes are even more strained than they are in the QVC video. That could possibly be the start of some vocal damage. I don’t know.
I’m so glad you liked the Paige performance. She really does turn into Piaf doesn’t she. i’ve heard the Piaf La Vie en Rose many times, but I still thank you for suggesting it.
@Opera Magic Unfortunately, you are right about the Canadian performance. Popular singers at the end of their career frequently have wide vibratos – Edith Piaf, Billie Holiday, etc., and are accepted and even chalked up to “expression” from mature artists. However, this should NOT creep into a young singer’s technique. There was hardly one note without wavering in this particular clip. SInging a straight tone would not have detracted from the expression.
There’s a coarseness aside from the wavering issue that concerns me… could be something like nervous tension, fatigue, slight sore throat… looking forward to the next performance, hoping it will be resolved.
Just hoping that a mechanical problem “will just be resolved” and looking the other way is an attitude most people would not have with their computers or cars. Why should it be different for the voice mechanism? I said this before here but even after the eradication of bad habits in singing or playing an instrument, they still come back to haunt one. Just imagine what is should be like to sing month after month publicly with obvious bad habits. Denyce Graves pointed out in a series of masterclasses on singing that the muscles are trained to the extent that they practically have a will of their own.
BTW, Callas was just as American as Sills who herself was not an icon of vocal commonsense. And at least Ponselle and Callas didn’t sing Italian with a thick American accent.
Thanks for your input; it’s endlessly interesting and intricate making such comparisons and I hope no anger results… what I read about Callas included a description of her teen years in Nazi-occupied Greece where she performed a sort of escort service for Nazi officers after a difficult earlier childhood…after that she eventually emigrated here… does that make her more American than Sills– I’ll do some more research…
I don’t think there’s going to be any eradication of bad habits anytime soon where Jackie’s concerned. That would mean putting her career on hold while a good teacher made her start all over again and learn to sing correctly…and that would mean an end to the whole “Jackie Phenomenon” and the money coming in for a while.
What I don’t quite understand is why so many of Jackie’s fans have such a a difficult time understanding that a voice isn’t like a tuba or a clarinet, and when a voice is gone, it’s gone. A singer can’t get a new set of vocal cords. Perhaps because these fans have no musical education (and perhaps because some of them really believe she’s an angel sent from a God who would never allow any harm to come to her voice), they think that her voice will go on forever without damage…and without training.
It’s interesting that you mentioned Denyce Graves, as I’ve heard her live several times over the past ten or so years, and her voice seems to be deteriorating too. The last time I heard her live was in 2009, so the voice may have gotten back on track since then. That last time I heard her, she was having some definite pitch problems and that lush, glowing sound she once had was no longer there.
I’ve got to agree with you about Sills. As you say, she wasn’t an exactly an “icon of vocal common sense”.
Denyce Graves has been very ill for an extended period with a number of things but primarily a thyroid issue. It has caused countless vocal problems, which I’ve read were worsened when she continued to try to sing before she realized she was ill.
Did you see the movie clip video I mentioned — her arms and hands are unforgettably, uniquely expressive… I’ll paste the link if you’d like.
So well versed as you are in multi genres (and similarly tone sensitive), I wonder if you have an opinion concerning the American crooners– who has the richest tone of the following– Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Dean Martin, Robert Goulet…for me there’s one who soars above the others in richness of tone (not to compare other qualities– just tone).
You must have seen the post about Renee Fleming; I wonder if you consider her the all-time most important American soprano or would Sills be the one (or perhaps comparisons are inappropriate).
Yes, I’ve seen that movie clip video of Piaf quite a few times. I keep going back to it..and yes, her arms and hands are so very expressive.
Of the five crooners you mention, I’d say that all were crooners except for Robert Goulet, who really was more of a Broadway singer, although he did record some pop music. It’s comparing apples and ornges, but I think Goulet would be the one of the five whose voice I like the best. Among the actual “crooners” however, I think Perry Come was bettter than any of those four you mention. In my opinion, Dick Haymes had a better voice also…and Russ Columbo, who died tragically at a young age in a freak accident with an antique pistol.
I don’t think I’d pick any one soprano as the most important American soprano. As to the ridiculous notion of Fleming being rude to the Evanchos, I think it’s just that; ridiculous.
The fascinating thing about music is its complexity and the endless directions we may turn to explore and learn… its sheer beauty should have appealed to more of the great poets — a worthy subject compared to the redundancy of love poems numbering thousands through the centuries.
OK, the crooners… should have included Perry Como and Dick Haymes (fine voice, acting — State Fair– perhaps lacking vibrancy and leading to a relatively short career).
Good to have your opinion and I’ll offer mine as far as tone quality goes… the one whose sound rings in my ears when the music stops is Dean Martin; his joviality (after all, he started as comedian Jerry Lewis’s straight man) is persuasive as well, especially compared to the brilliant presentation but unhappy manor of Frank Sinatra.
This opinion is recently formed… Bing was for me the “king” through the decades but somehow I’ve become more and more a tone fanatic — and Dean for me has that… but as for Bing– have you seen the clip with Grace Kelly on a sailboat singing “True Love”?
It’s good to share extreme admiration for Edith Piaf, including her use of arms and hands… must look at that clip again!
Interesting you feel no soprano deserves top billing in our country… may I ask then worldwide… I value your opinion in this matter more than mine.
Thanks for sharing.
@richard carlisle I read quite a lot about Maria Callas but NOWHERE did I come across “escort service”!!! If that were true, she and her family would have been prosecuted for collaboration with the enemy after the war. On the contrary, they even sequestered two British officers in their home . There seemed to be one Italian soldier who heard her sing through a window and gave her some of his rations from time to time.
It is interesting, however, that Callas had to travel all the way from New York with plenty of singing teachers to Athens, to fortuitously stumble on one of the best exponents of “bel canto”, Elvira de Hidalgo, who became her teacher and mentor for 5 years.
It was probably Wikipedia; I’ll try to relocate it if you have trouble… it was more of a de facto “escort service” where she did accompany officers apparently on a purely platonic basis and only ones that were known by her mother possibly.
One of her quotes I recently read: “It takes more than a good voice” (paraphrased)… you know I guess that she had two stages in her professional career– one first while she was overweight and next after slimming down, leading to critical controversy which was better… she is slim in the youtubes I’ve seen, would like to see excerpts of the earlier career.
@richard carlisle I have the Stassinopoulos and the Michael Scott books on Callas. The Greeks during the war did not place a welcome mat in front of the Germans and Callas’ family was no exception.
It’s interesting to speculate why and how Callas lost control over her voice. My take on it is when she did slim down, taking about a year to lose about 100 pounds, the support mechanism that she was used to was different and she couldn’t adjust to the new conditions. The “set up” is everything in singing. When you change one small detail, everything else can go awry. The late 50′s were a time of personal upheaval for her. She was forced to do it on her own without the substantial encouragement of her husband Meneghini. Her new liason didn’t take her singing seriously and even made fun of it. She gradually lost confidence and every cracked note reinforced her decline and despair. In general, the earlier recordings are better.
The 1958 youtube of Vissi d’arte seems magnificent to me — the way she soars to her high range toward the end–what more is there to love… there are critics apparently that found something positive in her slim mode, but we have different sources and this shows the different perspectives that come along in familiarizing oneself with the wonder of fine music… we are fortunate indeed.
Maria Callas had a very difficult life (escort or not) and we can only be thankful she was able to give us so much.
@richard carlisle I don’t know what “different sources” you are talking about since over the years I read just about anything I could get my hands on about Callas and have a substantial collection of her recordings. As a teenager in Greece she was awkward, ungainly and fat, spending morning until night at the studio of her teacher, even in violation of curfew. She would have been the most unlikely candiate for an “escort”, German or otherwise!
The weight loss stabilized around the middle of 1954 and there are excellent recordings after that. One of my favorite is the Traviata in Lisbon live from1957. The unmatched “Mad Scenes” that I lived with for years from the LP was made in 1958. Another notable recording from that year is “Medea”. A beautiful, touching Bohème is from 1956 and last but not least, Carmen, done in 1964.
I hope you are not trying to construct a straw argument that “some people think her slim mode was not as good as her earlier period”. I never said or implied that.
The reference is in the Wikipedia Callas biography under “Deteriorating relationship with her mother”.
It’s good to know she performed well in her 1964 Carmen… I’ve had the impression that everything was sub-par in her 60s performances, especially mid-sixties.
You did give the impression at least to me that her performances when she was heavier were superior; but I understrand that you are saying this is untrue…. what I did read (possibly in wikipedia) was that something improved in her slim condition but I can’t remember the specifics.
No straw argument here as for as I’m concerned … thanks for sharing your knowledge.
Correction: … far as I’m concerned…
“Being outside of one’s comfort zone” to me is a better description of what might be regarded as overdoing or exaggeration. When the area of competence is so wide and even great, it is more like nit picking to look for faults. And this can be applied to any great singer or even instrumentalist.
Renata Tebaldi was practically faultless except when her coloratura wasn’t. Sutherland was gorgeous but sacrificed the sound to the words. Maybe a similar complaint can be lodged with Fleming that the timbre trumps all. But not always. I just listened to a recording of hers on youtube that can be placed beside any fine interpretation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0FHqgOauxA&feature=related
It has the stamp of her personality but very convincing and well done.
I prefer to look at the glass half full and in fact over 95% full is more than good enough for me.
The Wikipedia reference is based on a rumor that perhaps it will never be possible to trace back the source. So it shouldn’t even be there. But all circumstantial evidence, not the least, guaranteed family and public censure, point to it being a despicable slur. Maria’s relationship with her mother suffered from the distance put between them for more than 2 decades. Maria, for all her dramatic insight, tended to see things in black and white – all good or all bad. Some association with her mother later on, however superficial, may have given at least one of them some mature perspective.
Whatever her mother’s personal failings, she DID give her daughters piano lessons they could not afford, took her to the best singing teachers, so without Evangelia there would not have been such a career. Even Callas’ comment about allegedly singing to make money as a child, is a piece of pity-party improvisation.
About her early (until about the mid 50′s) and later periods, there are divided opinions. Some believe that her interpretations of Norma, Medea and Tosca deepened over the years even with some vocal flaws, more in live performances than recordings made in a studio. She had an amazing facility in her 20′s, could sing practically anything, Wagner one night and Donizetti the next. With the heavier roles and the more verismo approach to them, this ease was sublimated. The Carmen, BTW, was a studio recording, also with some questionable vocal practices, but very intense and convincing.
Thanks for sharing your vast knowledge– giving me better directions to explore in her recordings.
As for Renee Fleming, I admire her innovative approach in what I’ve heard of her work, but do you think she overdoes it at times… her version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is an extreme example, and I wonder if you think she went to a similar extreme in any of her operatic performances.
Unfortunately the internet is “the gift that keeps on giving”. In other words what you have to say to the world in text or video is basically there forever. I don’t believe for one second that the moderator of this website along with the “adult” posters on this website and others don’t fully realize this concept. One day in the not to distant future this obviously talented and confident young person will have the opportunity to read your words (her parents probably have). Words and phrases like “yuck factor of the singer”, “creepy”, “freaky”,“Jackie-effect is one of pain and horror”, “circus act”, “good show for all the pedophile child pornography consumers out there”. Many on this site purport to be concerned about Jackie Evancho’s long term mental and physical health for a variety of reasons. I guess you should also ask yourselves about how healthy it will be for her when she gets to read that nasty stuff about herself.
I agree that much care should be taken not to insult the girl or put her down. The pornography comment was already attacked several times. The “circus act” comment though, was by one of her fans. Those who should really be questioned are those who thrust her in the public arena. And there are unavoidable nutcases in a pool of millions of viewers. On the other hand, the exuberant quantity and quality of praise is not healthy either.
Whatever the case, prodigies are forced to compare themselves with peers their own age once they pass adolescence. The reality that will hit them with a thud is proportional to how high a cloud they were walking around on. And when that happens, they can only thank those who put them there.
I don’t understand all this debate about Jackie’s vocal technique and where that technique will lead her.
Everyone will have a definitive answer in a few years from now, and the people that have studied vocal technique (and proved that they understand what they have studied) will not be surprised by the outcome.
Proponents of vocal technique will not convince Jackie’s fans of anything until that day comes. You cannot use logic, anatomy, physics, or any of the related domains of vocal science to win an argument that is couched largely in terms of emotional content. As the general concert-going public has consistently demonstrated, technical proficiency is not a necessary precursor to fame, sales, or entertainment value. Society has always allowed famous performers to get away with things that any music educator would chide their students for doing, and that’s fine. Society has allowed true artists to find success as well.
I am not coming out in favor of either side of The Jackie Evancho Technical Debate. The technically-knowledgeable know what will likely happen to her, the technically-ignorant do not, and neither matters at all because we aren’t going to affect her career from this forum. But I think it’s probably safe to say that Jackie’s supporters aren’t heading a conspiracy to spread bad technique to every child, and likewise her non-fans aren’t going on irrelevant rants about technique solely out of jealousy. That would be ridiculous.
Again, I’m only calling them ‘irrelevant rants” because technique is not important to the majority of her audiences, and has nothing to do with her purpose in the arts. She has never been billed as a technically proficient singer, nor has ever operated under any preconceptions of being some kind of example to any young person who is studying classical music.
Author, novelist, broadcaster, cultural commentator.
Follow him on FB: Facebook and on Twitter @NLebrecht
More Lebrecht @ normanlebrecht.com
Enter your email address:
February 20, 2014 3 Comments
February 20, 2014 Leave a Comment
February 20, 2014 23 Comments
February 19, 2014 2 Comments
February 19, 2014 1 Comment
February 19, 2014 31 Comments
February 19, 2014 4 Comments
an ArtsJournal blog