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Jackie Evancho opens the Atlanta Symphony summer season

The America’s Got Talent child star is steadily becoming a fixture for the struggling classical industry.  Here‘s the first review.

The League of American Orchestras, meeting in Dallas today, may wish to ponder the ramifications.

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  1. Robert K says:

    What sort of “review” is this? It was a great concert… she was greeted with applause (how unique!)… she told fans she loved them. Nothing about the music in the least. Extremely odd review, but further proof that this truly is a personality-driven career. Nothing wrong with that, although it is more a characteristic of pop music.

    What are her sales statistics? Does she sell out her concerts? I see Il Divo frequently advertised, but they do not seem to sell at high percentages.

    • The “Review” was a little different. I think the reviewer was a little on edge.

      The reviewer did actually say something about the songs. Something that you usually never see mentioned. Read the last sentence in the paragraph below.

      “The cool, calm exterior she has while singing shifts easily into what seems to be her real persona, that of a young girl just happy to be on stage, doing something she loves. That joy of singing came through in her songs too.”

      The girl can sing.

    • A google search produces Billboard reports of sales from 65% attendance to 93%. She seems to sell about 2,000 seats per venue, well under on some and over on others with gross yields of between $130,000 and $200,000, seemingly playing with a guest tenor and a moderate sized orchestra at all stops.

      This means very little to me since I have no comparison data.

      It will be interesting to see the effect of this amount of singing on her voice as she ages.

    • Ssilver says:

      I understand that, at Alpharetta, Evancho sold about 5,000 tickets out of a possible 7,000. Most of her venues have been around 2,500 or 3,000 seats, and she generally comes close to selling out. Her three February concerts in California sold well enough for her to rank in the top 10 grossing concerts for the week in question. See:

      But the Evanchos do not schedule too many solo concert dates – no more than 3 per month, as they want to limit the amount of travel during the school year – she’s just 12 years old.

      • Thank you. Therefore, three concerts from 22-26 February sold at a bit under 80%, for about 2,000 seats per venue, at about $166,000 gross receipts per venue. I would judge that as very positive, but again, I have no comparison.

        I will refrain from commenting on three concerts within five days by a 12-year-old.

  2. She’s performing with the New Jersey Symphony on Friday too. Apparently, they had a full weekend of performances of Mahler 9 (Thurs-Sun) but ended up slotting in Miss Evancho on Friday instead.

  3. Tamara Meinecke says:

    The review is from the “Alpharetta-Milton Patch.” My guess is that the reviewer isn’t a frequent classical-music-concert listener. But remember that this was a summer pops concert, not intended for the classical music crowd. People liked it, she was charming. What’s to grouse about?

  4. Michael says:

    [The America’s Got Talent child star is steadily becoming a fixture for the struggling
    classical industry.]

    Rather than depending on the taxpayer, she can reliability generate a profit to support
    their non-profitable business.

    Folks seems to like what she does and she is staying engaged with a steady schedule of
    happenings such as:

    -Recently finished recording her new CD, due to be release this fall.
    -Jun 08, Newark, NJ, NJ Performing Arts Center, Concert
    -Jun 13, Los Angeles, CA, The Orpheum Theatre, to record a new concert for PBS Great
    Performances. Last years Great Performace concert with Jackie raised more money for PBS
    than any other performance in PBS history.
    -Jun 20, St. Petersburg, Russia, Palace Square, Concert
    -Aug 25, Philadelphia, PA, The Mann Center, Concert
    -Aug 31, Murphys, CA, Ironstone Amphitheatre, Concert
    -Sep 15, Seattle, WA, Puyallup Fair, Concert
    -Fall 2011, Release of the movie “The Company You Keep”.

    People support things when you produce what people want.

    • Charles Hoff says:

      You might have added that the August 31st concert at Ironstone Amphitheater is with music icon Tony Bennett. Tony Bennett’s orchestra will accompany him, with the Stockton Symphony backing Ms. Evancho.

    • “People support things when you produce what people want.”

      Kim Kardashian, the Jersey Shore kids, and those wonderful souls who sponsor those profitable pitbull fights agree.

      Was that not what you meant?

      I would suggest sticking with the “her voice is beautiful” argument. This most recent argument has too many other interpretations.

      I do not count her on the same level as those above. Simply illustrating a point.

      • Michael says:

        Your interpretation is exactly what I meant. Like it or not, it is real world reality and few people consistently conduct themselves based on any set of ration principles. Good people are not good about every thing and evil folks are not evil in every situation. Folks support both the beautiful and the vile. No group is exempt.

        The point I was trying to make was about the comment from our host: [The America’s Got Talent child star is steadily becoming a fixture for the struggling classical industry.]

        I find it sad that the classical industry is struggling as this is what I grew up on and continue to enjoy along with other genres. Classical/operatic performances are, for various reasons (some self inflicted, some not), generally not profitable and need some subsidized assistance to continue. Jackie’s and other non classical performances do not have to be sellouts to be profitable for themselves and the venue. These profitable performances help offset the losses taken during classical/operatic performances. Everyone benefits and the venue does not have to rely on the taxpayers and become a slave to the political whims of the day. Capitalism at its best. Yet some folks on both sides of the fence seem to think this is a bad thing and relish being derogatory towards and making fun of anyone who is not in the same sandbox. Because of such fanaticism / tunnel vision, they disrespect and alienate the very folks that cause no harm but can be of help or at the very least, might be supportive. Everyone loses.

        • Brian Fisher says:

          League of American Orchestras data suggests that government or taxpayer funds make up 4% of orchestral funding in 2009, the last available data. You are confusing an European model of funding with an American model. Funding problems do exist, but they have little to do with relying on “taxpayer subsidies” at this point.

          • Michael says:

            It is my understanding that these studies include federal but not state local and indirect tax subsidies. But leaving that aside, I did mention that some of the problems are self inflicted. Many receive excessive salaries and/or compensations or choose to create extravagant and excessively expensive performances in the name of art, knowing or not caring that it cannot be profitable (artists and engineers can be so creative but often lack business scene).

            The more that it is run as a profit minded business, the better chances of survival for the future enjoyment for the public and the livelihood of the artists. As a person that has long worked in private business, we often provide goods and services at a loss because the costumer is also buying goods and services that result in a net profit to us. This is a model that most businesses use to some degree, especially retailers and could be a helpful model in the support of the arts.

            The arts will always need private charitable help, and that is okay. The more that it uses workable business models and the less it is associated with government, politics and taxes, the more private folks and organization are willing to help.

          • Many good points with which I agree. This is, of course, the cause of dissension over the Metropolitan Opera, which is following much more of a business model than most opera companies or perhaps any other. It is an interesting question.

            The government funds I mentioned do, in fact, include all levels, from local to federal, according to the site. The very positive point is that most classical arts organizations clearly understand the new realities and things have shifted very quickly. I wish it did not have to be as it is, but nevertheless, we are in a new reality.

            I would not like artistic decisions to drop to the level of the Kardashians, however. It is a fine balance; sometimes arts organizations have a responsibility to provide access to things that the public has not yet experienced but may enjoy. Arts should provide entertainment, but also something more. There are plenty of avenues for simple entertainment with no further value. Humans’ hearts, souls and brains must all be nourished. I do not feel you should wish for Ms. Evancho to leave any of those three out in a quest for sales.

      • richard carlisle says:

        Janey, seems like one interpretation of your point might be that Jackie in popularizing (vulgarizing?) fine music is drawing some of the Jersey Shore audience… that might actually be but it would be interesting to know from where her audience is coming.

        Regardless of who the audience is the main drawing card is easily at least for me summed up in a single word, the word central to all forms of promotion and advertising– ENTHUSIASM– it’s shown in her smile before she sings and the larger smile when she’s through with a performance; in her awkwrd but forceful arm gestures and even moreso in her interviews.

        Just imagine if classical performers could show a fraction of her enthusiam in their interviews and performances– instead of using extreme serious intent in so much of what they do– striving for perfection above joy and thus appealing only to a small population segment of perfectionists rather than a larger group that looks past perfection for something more human and joyful.

        • Yes Addison says:

          Richard, if you don’t think classical singers show enthusiasm in interviews and performances, I suspect you’re basing the perception on received wisdom and stereotypes rather than first-hand experience.

          The problem isn’t that they (they = Jonas Kaufmann, Anna Netrebko, Joyce DiDonato, Juan Diego Florez, et cetera) are not enthusiastic. All of the ones I’ve named and many more are very enthusiastic, engaging, and attractive people in recitals, concerts, and interviews. They’re just not little girls. They’re adults, and the music they perform — while it truly brings pleasure and joy to many, many people who are not pretending to like it so as to demonstrate superiority — is at a different level of accessibility from, say, “When You Wish Upon A Star” or “All I Ask Of You.”

          And that is why there are not people writing all over Amazon about how Joyce DiDonato is a gift sent down from heaven, and upon hearing her voice, tears began streaming down their faces and they experienced something that could only be described as miraculous. (For which I daresay she is better off.) Certainly not because she lacks enthusiasm. Zeal, even.

          • richard carlisle says:

            Russ, I’m difficult to read I’m sure, but take another look and it should be clear that I’m asking Janey if she thinks Jackie is “vulgarizing” fine music… something I hope Janey doesn’t believe but I wondered and therefore asked.

            Could you clarify the specifics of the difference between giving want they want and giving what they enjoy… if “enjoy” applies to performance artistry then what does “want” refer to?

          • richard carlisle says:

            @ YS

            You make age seem the determining factor… why then didn’t Hayley Westenra (with an even more interesting voice) gain greater popularity with her youth and why is Holly Steel getting very little attention at a similar age and there are other young performers today making much less of an impression than Jackie and less than the classical performers you mentioned.

            Shirley Temple may be said to have capitalized on the age factor (even more youthful) but Jackie in contrast is using a much more adult technique in her performances and trying not to be a little kid who sings but someone trying to be mature.

            Jackie is good in spite of her age rather than because of it and what makes her great is her spirited approach that exceeds even that of the classical performers you mentioned (and that I’ve seen as well).

        • No Richard, my contention is that giving people only what they want often means a complete loss of artistry. Audiences deserve not only to be entertained but also challenged; that is where classical performers shine. Pop artists provide quick, easy fun and entertainment. If she truly wants to be an artists of any type, Ms. Evancho should be striving to do more than that. She may be; I was commenting on a hypothetical – the idea that her concerts will sell because she is “giving people what they want.”

          There are of course many classical artists who perform more obscure pieces and also sell very well.

          Your characterization of classical performers in interviews and performances is simply incorrect, but I have no need to belabor that point.

          • richard carlisle says:

            Janey, I can’t help feeling Jackie radiates more enthusiasm in what she does than the average classical performer and it’s not just her young age that makes her interesting, but opinions like mine and yours can’t be accurately quantified, qualified or resolved and let’s just get to the central core problem: financial support for the best of fine music is lacking and what can be done to improve things.

            If in your words people who want to be challenged are the ultimate followers of the finest music then the approach to increasing audiences is of course to increase numbers of such people and where else to start but with the young and in the network of schools.

            In rural schools where a percentage of youngsters comprise offspring of beer-guzzling rednecks the thought of classical music is quite distasteful and opera is believed to be the first name of Ms Winfrey… so for the schools to be a source, they need familiarization as well as a significant interest booster– a campaign comparable to promotion of environmental protection and recycling — a long-term process for sure… perhaps Jackie and other young performers might in some way serve as catalysts.

            It would be a sweet dream come true to build audiences rather than rely on government support for the best of music.

          • catmando says:

            Janey I suggest you go to one of her concerts and see for yourself how she performs for her fans. There is a two-way love affair between us that has to be seen and felt to be believed.

            As far as giving people what they want, she does that through her voice and her total onstage persona. She also mixes up her repertoire so that she doesn’t sing the same songs over and over and get stale which would communicate to the audience.

            But I must say I’m surprised you people are still talking about Jackie. She’s not an opera singer so why would you bother with her??

          • RIchard,

            You have solved the problem! Why did no one think of this!? Classical musicians should build audiences! Incroyable!

            You know what they should do? They should start looking at transmitting their work over the internet and in movie theaters! I bet if they tried, they could sell lots of tickets. OMG! Maybe even MILLIONS! Do you think it’s even possible that, gulp, they could sell more tickets to ONE OPERA than Ms. Evancho has ever sold!!??? That would be!

            OMG – You know what else??!! Maybe the symphonies and opera houses could work…. IN THE SCHOOLS!!! We should mention this idea to them!


            What government support, pray tell, my friend?

          • richard carlisle says:


            Sure the Met is financially self-sufficient; why not return Ann’s 30 million and with Mr. Gelb’s fascination with mismanagement you don’t think government support is on the way– even with the 30 M– surely someone will believe your claim the Met has done everything conceivable and is now long-term solvent, having sold more tickets than Jackie, who might eventually be kind enough to help the Met stay off food stamps with her own contribution.

            When I mentioned schools that means children in grammar school being taught that opera is an important part of our culture so they won’t grow up fearing and hating it — now too often the case… if you’ve recovered from your fit of reactionism perhaps you can receive a new thought.

          • Richard,

            What you call “reactionism” I call being done with your condescending, uninformed comments criticizing classical music. I was not speaking solely of the Metropolitan Opera. There are opera houses worldwide that transmit their performance and there are symphonies that do the same. Dudamel has been incredibly successful at it. The Metropolitan Opera sells over 200,000 tickets to each of it’s cinema presentations. It has indeed far outsold Ms Evancho with only one performance. I would surmise that Covent Garden and La Scala could say the same. Certainly, the Berlin Philharmonic could, based on their webcasts.

            Of course additional government support is not on the way for any classical organization anywhere in the US. The government is not going to provide support for US arts organizations, unlike the assistance provided to many in Europe. You may believe what you like about Gelb and Ziff, but I believe you need more than this one source. With a budget of well over $300 million, one person’s gift is important but only one aspect.

            I will accept your suggestion that government support is “on the way” as confirmation that your previous comments on the issue were incorrect.

            If you possessed anything beyond Wikipedia knowledge you would also be aware of programs by opera houses and symphonies all over the country working with elementary school students as well as high school.

            This is my final comment to you.

        • I take exception to your suggestion that Janey is vulgarizing anything. It was uncalled for! You seem to be trying to pick a fight, and being a fan of Ms. Evancho, I resent it. There’s a big difference between giving people what they want and giving people what they enjoy listening to because of the artistry of the performer. I’ve had many arguments with Janey in the past, but I came back here because I like the tone of the conversation, which I think has been very pleasant. I don’t think she deserved your implication, at all!

          You need to understand that to a trained Classical performer, perfection is a joy for all!

          Best Regards,

          • Thank you wholeheartedly, Russ. That was very kind of you. Mr. Carlisle has a particular way with words.

          • richard carlisle says:

            Russ, I meant to ask Janey if Jackie was tailoring classical music to fit the vulgar tastes of the Jersey Shore audience… does that in any way accuse Janey of vulgarizing anything?

            In your sentence: ” There’s a big difference.”.. the logic is strange — “enjoy listening to”… isn’t that what they want? What are the specifics differentiating what they want and what they enjoy?

            Thanks for taking part/returning.


  5. “The cool, calm exterior she has while singing shifts easily into what seems to be her real persona, that of a young girl just happy to be on stage, doing something she loves. That joy of singing came through in her songs too.”

    Norman, I’m sending you a repair bill for my laptop. When I opened your link and read that passage in the review, I burst into uncontrollable tears of joy all over my keyboard and fried the motherboard.

    I’m glad I kept my old desktop so I can still keep up while my laptop is in for repairs.

  6. richard carlisle says:

    Like a new designer drug excites the teen world, Jackie ignites the older crowd without the intrigue of illegality… ruined desktops are a small penalty to pay, better than long jail terms… send me the bill, Tom.

  7. Brian G says:

    In fairness to Atlanta, their summer season is nothing but pops stuff. It’s this, Il Divo, and the Matrix.

  8. catmando says:

    I can’t believe NL has not put up a thread about Jackie singing in St. Petersburg Russia with Hvorostovsky and Sumi Jo tonight. And Dmitri dissed her pretty badly on his FB page. Wonder how that’s going to work when he confronts her parents… Hey Norm you were asleep at the switch on this one.

  9. catmando says:

    Soundcheck this morning with Jackie and Sumi Jo and they sounded awesome!. Jackie was right with Sumi Jo in pitch and volume. They will duet Con Te Partiro. Dmitri was not there. Massive sound system.

    People are starting to stream into the Square. The concert will start in a little over an hour.

  10. catmando says:

    Concert just started 9:PM St. Petersburg time. Broad daylight. Orchestra is playing and they sound great! Sarah Hicks conducting.

  11. catmando says:

    Link to the camera. Can’t see the stage though;

  12. catmando says:

    The concert just ended. The webcam wasn’t great but everyone sang beautifully and Jackie more than held her own. Dmitri has a monster voice. Sumi Jo sings so beautifully and of course Jackie is otherworldly. I hope some of you watched it on that link.

  13. Jackie otherworldly? Damn, I hope someone had the good idea of putting her in a harness wearing an angel costume and floating her above Hvorostovsky (inferno) and Sumi Jo (purgatorio) for sheer Dantean effect.

    You gotta love Jackie for the sheer amount of comments she generates, Mr. Lebrecht. Great to have pint-sized talent like Jackie to sell like beer in a pub.

    • TomV,

      It’s a good thing you are not a baseball pitcher. You’d be known as the screwball with the screwball! I’m just dying of curiosity as to what Sara Hicks bare shoulder had to do with anything? This is Europe, in the 21st century! It’s much more casual over there. Today’s people prefer different to conformity. I prefer my Opera and Music hall events in Europe for that very reason. I enjoy being with people that love music, yet could care less about not wearing a gown and a Tux! I also note that according to Janet, I believe she said that Opera was doing very well in Europe, not so good in the US! Just maybe the US Opera companies need to model themselves more closely with the way they do things in Europe.

      Oh and you assessment of Sumi Jo and Jackie’s duet was the biggest lie Ive ever seen anywhere in my life. They were magnificent together, and it was fun to watch. I can only imagine the energy flowing from one hand to the other, when they were holding hands. The final verse was a completely etherical experience for both of them! Probably the first time for Jackie to experience that, with another singer Plenty of magic in both their vocal cords! Of course you didn’t like it. The important thing is that Dimitri Hvorostovsky, Sumi Jo, Conductor Sara Hicks, and the Orchestra loved it! So did the audience!

      You certainly proved that you are no gentleman, and I wouldn’t hold my breath on Norman agreeing with you, because I’m 100% sure, he was not pleased with your post, as your last line is deliberately insulting! I can’t have any respect for a man who says such things about a 12 year old girl. Jackie earned her place on the world stage, with her performance in St. Petersberg. It doesn’t matter that you don’t agree, or even what you think, because no one who knows great music would agree with you! I would suggest you do your own beer selling, dressed in one of those red monkey suits with the brass buttons. Maybe a clown would be better though. Yes, a totally disingenuous clown! Pathetic, but still a clown, none the less! Perhaps you should consider laying off the coke for a while, until you are able to think straight! The only thing here that’s otherworldly, is your brain. It’s lost in space!

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