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The fourth of our seasonal singles is…. Jackie!

We’re hiding here behind the firewall with the lights out and the curtains drawn.

The voice of Jackie Evancho has divided opinion on this site, not always in a reasoned way.

"David Foster and Friends" at Mandalay Bay Events Center

The child singer, now 12, has topped the US classical charts for much of the past year.

What we’re sharing today is a recording, newly uploaded, of a Japanese bonus track. It was submitted by her fan Charles Hoff. He explained that it was  ’performed first by her, a-capella (as originally written), at the Peace-Arch Memorial Concert 2012 in Hiroshima, at her solo concert at Bunkamura Orchard Hall with the Tokyo Philharmonic the following day, and recorded by Sony Japan for release as a bonus track on her “Songs From The Silver Screen” CD.

To our ears, the singing is close to flawless. Can’t comment on the Japanese diction.

A reminder: this is our third seasonal single.

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Comments

  1. KingInBlack says:

    Release the tide of comments! (In perfect Neeson voice)

    It’s a very nice song to begin with and Jackie’s voice works very well with gently rolling music. The song is “Moon over the ruined castle” it was written in the early 1900′s. It is nice to hear that people liked it Mr. Lebrecht.

    • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

      We have been advised by some Jackie fans who are fluent in Japanese that a more accurate translation for Kojo No Tsuki would be “Moon Over Castle Ruins.”

      To me it’s very hymn-like & hauntingly beautiful. It suits Jackie well.

  2. Nice. Shame about the unnecessary addition of the synth pad though.

  3. I am glad to hear her singing in the appropriate range and style for her voice. It makes all the difference. I sincerely hope she continues in this vein. It’s beautiful. She is much better suited to this more Westenra style than to a Jenkins style (Jenkins is not even suited to a Jenkins style, but that is another story). There is no pushing or forcing and no pretense.

    Why is this a Christmas song?

    • everett cox says:

      If you go to youtube and search Katherine Jenkins Cinema Paradiso or ‘Se’ that’s the most beautiful voice I’ve heard her use. Her “opera” voice is horrible. No respectable opera company would hire her with that voice.

  4. Norman,

    Do you have any information on how her current CD sales and concert ticket sales are going?

    • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

      Janey,

      Jackie usually sings in medium sized venues, ~1500-3000 seats, to sellouts or near sell-outs. Perhaps ~1/4 to 1/2 of these venues are local symphony halls. Her tickets are relatively expensive, so her income per concert is higher than most, but then again, it can be expensive to hire an orchestra. She usually does 3 concerts per month, occasionally more, plus TV appearances, etc. As you know, her audiences tend to be very, very enthusiastic.

      All of Jackie’s albums have reached #1 on the Billboard classical albums charts, except for her self-produced 1st album, Prelude to a Dream, which reached #2. She has sold ~2.4 million albums in total. Both Heavenly Christmas, recorded last year, & Songs from the Silver Screen, have charted on Billboard this season. O Holy Night & Dream with Me both opened at #2 on the Billboard general album charts; Songs from the Silver Screen opened at #7, & Heavenly Christmas peaked at #11. Songs from the Silver Screen is currently #2 on Billboard’s classical chart.

      Apologies in advance if I’m wrong about some of this stuff; it’s mostly off the top of my head. Other Jackie fans please correct me if I’m wrong. I’m still looking for links to give more details, & will post if I find them.

      • That’s right, except that you mean the Billboard 200 rather than “general album charts”. Evancho’s “Dream With Me”, released in June 2011, spent 30 weeks on the Billboard 200 and 74 weeks on the Classical Albums Chart. Evancho’s first PBS special, “Dream With Me In Concert” has sold 75,000 DVD units and is still on the Billboard Top Video Albums chart. Her second PBS special, “Music of the Movies”, a May 2012 concert video of the same songs as in the CD “Songs from the Silver Screen” has, so far, been released only as part of a Target stores Deluxe Edition of SFTSS. Also, the number above, 2.4 million, represents US sales only. Foreign sales would add a few hundred thousand more, as Evancho has had substantial sales in Canada (including a Platinum certification there for “O Holy Night” in 2010), the UK and Japan, and smaller amounts sold in many other countries. Currently, ‘Heavenly Christmas” is at #67 on the Billboard 200, and ‘Songs from the Silver Screen” is at #116 on the Billboard 200.

        Her concerts have, so far, grossed between $105,000 and $230,000 each. She gave 22 solo concerts in 2012 and is scheduled to give 2 concerts in January, 1 in Feb., 2 in March and 4 in May. The absence of any concerts scheduled in April leads one to speculate that she plans to record an album then for release in the autumn of 2013.

        Evancho’s first feature film role is in “The Company You Keep”, in which she plays the daughter of Robert Redford’s character (if you read the novel, you’ll see that he has a late-in-life daughter from a second marriage). The movie stars Redford and Shia LaBeouf and features Evancho, Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie. Terrence Howard, Anna Kendrick, Sam Elliott, Nick Nolte and Stanley Tucci. It played at film festivals this year and is scheduled for a limited release in the U.S. on April 5, 2013.

        • Thank you both for this information. I had already known information regarding the previous CD. I am interested in the current CD that is on the chart now.

          I hope you will understand if I am interested in official sales figures from sources that measure these things, such as they are. It is fine to say certain figures, but it is a different thing to see them from a known source.

          I expect she has sold very well, particularly at Christmas, but the question is, how well?

          Another fan has suggested record breaking attendance at the Segerstrom. Is there an official source for this?

          It is difficult to parse the actual facts of Ms. Evancho’s career from the hyperbole that often surrounds it.

          Thank you.

          • Yes Addison says:

            Janey: Her latest album, Songs From The Silver Screen, was released in early October with a softer-than-expected opening. It did place in Billboard’s Top 10, but the first-week total was 43,500. That number fell by 48% the following week.

            Her first non-holiday album (Dream With Me) sold over 160,000 in its first week of release in summer of 2011. In mid-December after two and a half months of availability, SFTSS was at 131,500, moving about 7000 new units per week.

            Her hardcore fans have suggested various theories to account for the decline — she’s not being promoted effectively; the switch from operatic sugarplums to movie songs was a mistake; October was a bad time of year for a new release; CD sales are down overall (true, but Taylor Swift and Adele and others are still doing well), etc. But she is having a trajectory familiar to graduates of American Idol and other singing contest shows in recent seasons. There is a passionate base that frontloads the sales, attends the concerts, participates in forum discussions, but it takes a couple years to see how many of those people will stick and how many diehards there are.

            See also Adam Lambert, who managed this past spring to have a pop album that debuted at number one yet is widely considered a flop. It had no legs. Once his fans all had purchased their one-if-not-multiple copies within the first week, there was nowhere for it to go but down.

          • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

            Janey,

            There are some semi-official sales figures at Wiki, but they don’t include all sales, so I adjusted the numbers. Also, as Sam says, Heavenly Christmas & Songs from the Silver Screen are currently on the charts, so their numbers are still rising.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackie_Evancho_discography

            Album(CD) – Sales
            Prelude to a Dream – Wiki says 4K, but the Evanchos have said it’s less than 2K
            O Holy Night – 1.15M+
            Dream with Me – 700K+
            Heavenly Christmas – 350K+
            Songs from the Silver Screen – 120K+

            DVD – Sales
            Dream with Me in Concert – 75K+
            Music of the Movies – not yet released, except as part of a special, as Sam says

            These are US sales only. As Sam says, she’s sold well in Canada, & some in the UK, Australia & Japan. Anecdotally, she’s had download sales in some surprising places where she’s never sung, like Mexico, Paraguay, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Malaysia & perhaps South Africa. A fan also reported recently that the Dream with Me CD was selling in Italy, but I don’t have details.

            Personally I’ve always believed Jackie would eventually do better internationally than in the US, especially in east Asia, but also in Latin America, Europe & elsewhere..You are correct, however, that we fans sometimes lapse into hyperbole!

          • Thank you Yes Addison and HomoSapiens. One hopes that concert sales maintain themselves, since it appears CD sales have not (not an unusual pattern).

            Perhaps, since CD sales will not be the primary focus, it is time for Ms. Evancho to move away from the typical, derivative candy music and tackle something that would provide something more substantial for listeners to consume. This is assuming she continues to sing full-time over the next few years. I hope she does not. She has much to offer over what should be a long career. She could do some interesting things, now that it seems those around her have (thankfully and finally) dropped the big opera arias and opera comparisons.

          • everett cox says:

            Janey,

            Where did you get the idea that anyone associated with Jackie Evancho ever said she was an opera singer, or compared her to an opera singer??? That NEVER happened.

            And she still sings OMBC and Ombra Mai Fu. Her mom says she made Jackie quit singing Nessun Dorma because it was straining her voice too much. I’m sure she will sing it again as soon as she feels comfortable with it. It should be her closing number as it was with Maestro Pavarotti.

          • @Everett Cox

            Let us not rehash this. I simply will explain the reasons for my comment.

            In all early appearances she was announced as an opera singer. Were the people on America’s Got Talent associated with Ms. Evancho? I believe they were. I watched an interview during which Ms. Evancho was asked when she first started singing opera, and she answered the question (I do not believe Ms. Evancho herself has ever called herself an opera singer and it has been pointed out that she corrected interviewers occasionally).

            Most tellingly, the first video uploaded of Ms. Evancho by her family is titled, “7 yr Opera Child Star sings from Phantom of the Opera.” See below. Ms. Evancho’s career has been debated far too often here, so this sort of information has already been discussed.

            This is ancient news and pointless to argue. It happened. It is thankfully over and Ms. Evancho has moved on successfully. Defensiveness serves neither of you well.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TSIGOKjOZ4

        • Richard Herger says:

          For the sake of completeness, here is the original NBC-TV interview from AGT.
          In it, the interviewer mentions opera at 0:10, but the polite youngster just answers the question about “when”.
          The interviewer again brings up opera at 1:15, and the 10-year old very politely explains CC to the adult.
          Then at 1:35, the adult interviewer ignores the previous explanation, and brings up opera again, with the 10-year old very gently making the correction again.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3XvsFIuDW4

          • Janey, why would you suggest that Jackie should tackle something “more substantial”?
            A glance at almost any recent operatic album – be that an opera, or arias / highlights from, or a collection of arias… from almost any well-known opera star will show sales significantly below the levels Jackie is still achieving, so it would only make her numbers look worse…

          • @Anon

            Ah, but I suspect you would not find that to be the case should you deign to examine global or overall sales.

            No matter, sales are not the point, or should not be. How much money does one need, truly? The child deserves to reach her full potential and use the gift she was given to the full extent she can. She deserves to grow and reach new heights. That is the goal of any artist. We shall see in the near future if she develops into a true artist, or not.

  5. everett cox says:

    I can’t believe you actually gave Jackie a compliment(“the singing is close to perfection”) wow Norm you’re getting soft in your old age lol. But of course you had to call her a “child singer”, which she hasn’t been since her tonsillectomy at 9 years of age. After that she became a singer who just happened to be a child(Jenny Lind, Julie Andrews).

    But you went halfway so I’ll give you that much. Well done Sir.

    • Yes Addison says:

      I don’t see anything wrong with that description of Lebrecht’s. There may be some 12-year-olds out there who would be capable of operating a motor vehicle without incident, but if you saw one behind the wheel, you would still think “child driver.” The little boy competently conducting the Strauss overture (posted here recently) is a child conductor. Etc. Hang in there. She’ll be a teen singer soon enough.

  6. everett cox says:

    BTW I apologize for my last post earlier this year. My wife tells me to sit back and think about a post like that and I didn’t do it. I let my emotions get the best of me. I know that Jackie herself would have been sad to read it.

    Again, my apologies Sir.

  7. I don’t understand why a fan of classical music would call this “flawless”. Even if you are grading Jackie by pop standards, it doesn’t make any sense that the vibrato is constantly turning on and off, that even with a close microphone in a studio environment you can barely hear her low notes, that she sings in the same vocal range as an adult male tenor, or that she has (or fakes) the timbre of a mature adult woman. A 12 year old should sound like a 12 year old.

    Now I’m not saying any of this is a bad thing, I’m saying that these are things that are not present in good classical singers or good pop singers. She does things well that others don’t, and others have problems that she doesn’t have, but “flawless” doesn’t make any sense to me as a description of this singing, especially form the person that wrote “The Life and Death of Classical Music”.

    • Jake

      Jackie seems to do some very unconventional things with her vibrato, timbre and tone, and has masterful control of all three. It’s like Sumi Jo said after singing “Con Te Partiro” with Jackie in St. Petersberg. “I expected her to sing the notes, but I never imagined that she could mix her tone and timbre to so closely match my own.”

      On your comment that “A 12 year old should sound like a 12 year old. By what definition? Compare a 12 year old Jackie, with a 12 year old Julie Andrews. Julie has it all over Jackie in technique, but Jackie has the more mature pure voice. She has no reason to fake the timbre of a mature adult woman. She has such great control of her timbre and tone that she can sound like a 12 year old, or anything in between, any time she wants. It’s just another natural attribute that set’s her apart from other singers, and she doesn’t know how she does it! Neither does anyone else. Some European scholars have speculated that Jackie my well be inventing new ways to sing.

      Me personally, I’m just grateful that I lived long enough to hear such beautiful music from someone so young, and to see her grow, improving vocally, all the time. Right now her voice is constantly changing. She seems to be leaning toward being a mezzo soprano, one minute, and a light lyric soprano the next.

      I appreciate Norman’s use of “flawless”, in describing Jackie’s performance, and I also understand why and how he means it. For one, I think that since Jackie has been singing for the last 4 and a half years, and has never had any vocal problems singing the way she sings. To me would indicate that she is for real. I would agree with Norman about her recent choice of music. It does suit her, and it’s easier on her voice, until after her voice settles.

      Who knows what she will do after that. She’s asked Sumi Jo to sing “The Flower Duet (Lakmé)” – Léo Delibes. Sumi Jo tweeted her back and said she would love to do it with her. Now, all they have to do is find the time and place when they are both in the same city, and either one is free. Here’s the song she wanted to sing the most, on the new album, and Sony said yes.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lb9bt1obX8

      Enjoy,
      Russ

  8. Friday Bridge says:

    Billboard Classical chart lists three of her CD’s in the top 200. Specifically, 2nd, 5th, 7th.

    http://www.billboard.com/charts-year-end#/charts-year-end/top-classical-albums?year=2012

    Concert halls are now selling out, maybe not each one, but several in a row now. Ticket price is in the higher end of the range, not with Elton John or the biggies, but it would probably surprise people. I’ve lost the link I use for that data.

    • @Friday Bridge

      Thank you for that link. I must be honest, however. Without sales numbers, placing well on the Billboard Classical Charts means very little. As we have seen, classical audiences buy very few CDs. One would think that a singer starring at the Metropolitan Opera in 12 performances to 3000+ ticket buyers each performance as only one out of many productions each year would sell thousands of CDs. Alas, that is not the case.

      Any pop-leaning singer promoted vigorously on television is going to vastly outsell classical artists who rarely receive even a peep on any major media source. More important, we all know a movie soundtrack is not a classical album. Therefore, including especially this latter CD on the classical chart is akin to placing an eighth grade student on the sixth grade basketball team to ensure the student’s stats stand out.

      While the statistics you demonstrated are important for young Jackie and even more so for her label, they are not reflective of sales influence or power. I pray that she is proud, and that the label is happy, however, since it appears she continues to do well, particularly with her concerts.

      • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

        Janey,

        This is slightly old (from March 2012) but still relevant. I knew I’d seen it then but couldn’t find it until just now.

        http://www.billboard.com/charts/classical-albums?begin=11&order=position#/news/hot-tours-elton-john-cirque-du-soleil-ricardo-1006483352.story

        Briefly, Jackie did 3 concerts in southern California, Feb 22nd, 24th & 26th, 2012 (typical for her, 3 concerts per month, bunched together). Gross receipts from those concerts were $499,542.. She sold 6002 tickets of 7567 available, or ~79%. These numbers are probably pretty typical for her, but I’ll keep looking for more info that’s specific.

        Also, her Songs from the Silver Screen is back up to #1 on Billboard classical albums chart for 5 Jan 2013. It’s #122 on the Billboard 200 of all albums but I still haven’t figured out what that means for absolute sales numbers (sorry – will keep trying).

      • Janey,

        I don’t know if this will help you, but the “official” RIAA numbers for all of Jackie’s albums, from OHN to SFTSS is actually 3,239,267, not 2.2 million, as reported by many. Source:Billboard Year end totals.

        Best Regards,
        Russ

  9. Sandra Festian says:

    Janey,

    I flew out from Michigan to LA to hear Jackie perform in the spectacular Renee & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall this past Monday, Dec 17th 2012. The theater was packed. I have been told that Jackie’s concert of Dec 17th sold more tickets than any other performance at that venue since it opened in 2006. Jackie’s vocal development is unbelievable. Her high range with an even shimmering vibrato and her warm buttery low range are blended seamlessly and she sings with great pathos. My favorite of the evening was “Music of the Night” from “Phantom”.

    • jerrygwhunt says:

      Could not agree with you more Sandra.It is hard to convey the live Jackie experience, the beauty and sheer joy that emanate from Jackie as she emotes her songs. Music of the Night was a favorite of mine also,I wonder how many eyes were dry after she finished her version of Oh Holy Night.

    • I, too, had the honor of being at the Dec. 17, 2012 concert at Renee & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. I couldn’t not believe that her performance was live, how good she sang! My heart melted on her first song, “Pure Imagination”. Tears and emotion overwhelmed me during that song. I am so glad that I got to attend. The concert there was sold out, as I had checked the night and day before the performance. I’m so glad I got a seat. Her concerts will always be memorable to me. Thank you, Jackie!

  10. Nobody knows what kind of singer Jackie Evancho will finally evolve into. Right now she seems to be developing into a Deanna Durbin type (1930s and early 1940s). She has a brilliant voice (as did Durbin), and sings a wide variety of music. I am most impressed with Miss Evancho’s performance assurance. She sings and interacts with her audience (and remember virtually all of her YouTube postings are LIVE performances in front of LIVE audiences) like a performer who has been performing at a highly professional level for decades. I see bits of Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby and Al Jolson in her self confidence. Her technique and phrasing are beyond any of her contemporaries decades older than her. Her voice is original, not an imitation of others. We should not call her a classical or classical cross-over singer, but a Broadway type of singer who does sing occasional classical pieces very well. She seems to have a limitless future, but can she continue developing and maturing? I think she can, and I certainly hope that I am correct.

  11. everett cox says:

    “Shimmering vibrato” I don’t quite know what that means but I hope that when her voice is finished changing, her vibrato reverts back to the sound she had when she was ten years old. That was the vibrato that brought tears of joy to almost everyone who heard her sing.

    • Stephen Runnels says:

      Those tears of Joy continue to this day. Jackie now takes full command of the audience from the moment she walks on stage. A gentle touch in voice reaches out to every person who attends a Jackie performance. There is no discussion about how the song is performed, or technical aspects. Every soul in the room is absorbed in the magical performance they are witnessing. This is not hyperbole nor is it over effusing generalities. This is from being in the presence of such an amazing little girl with an incredible, sweet, and commanding power in her voice that just does not falter or weaken, no matter how many times she sings a song, no matter the foibles of the sound system or orchestra, Jackie always gives herself to her music, and that gift is given to every person within the sound of her voice.
      In that, Jackie Evancho is truly flawless.

  12. I don’t know anything about proper vibrato technique, only what sounds good to my ear. I do hear a difference between her 10-year old vibrato and what she does now. I’d say she uses it a little more sparingly now, and it’s more consistent across her registers, but it’s sometimes not quite as fluid sounding as it was at 10-years old. On the other hand, at 10, she sometimes forced it, and I recall wishing she would sustain a note longer, and use vibrato as a garnish, if that makes sense (and hopefully that won’t make anyone laugh at me).

    She also does something now that I don’t care for, but only on some songs. It’s a kind of breathy singing, which I hear lots of singers do, but she holds it for too long – probably more than half of the note. “s……iIent n..ight, …..oly n…ight.” I just chalk that one off to experimenting with singing styles. She’s just a kid, and will fall into her own way of singing in due time. Imitation, it seems to me, is something she really should do at this point, as long as it’s just to try things out without letting someone else’s technique define hers (if you track back, you can see how she’s zig-zagged her way toward a singing that is becoming uniquely her own). It seems to me that we all grew up emulating certain observed behaviors. Your parents lay the foundation, but you build the rest of the human you eventually become.

    As for flawless, Norman did say, “close to,” and my ears second that. I hear only pitch-perfect and beautiful sounds coming from that petite little girl. I hear the vibrato “flaw” (if it can be called that, as apposed to merely imperfect) that Jake refers to, but it’s nothing that takes away from my enjoyment, nor is it anything I want to focus on, as over-analyzing what is otherwise lovely spoils the experience. If she sounds beautiful, best to let it be and just sit back and let it wash over. It’s not a tryout or judged recital, it’s music.

    • Beautifully commented on, Saffie.
      (regarding your comment on January 5, 2013 at 5:01 am)

    • everett cox says:

      Well said Saffie I agree with almost every point you make. I too have noticed a change in her vibrato and to my ear it was not for the best. Maybe it was a natural change, maybe not but her 10 year old voice and vibrato on Dream With Me was the best I have ever heard. Her vibrato is tighter now which doesn’t sound as natural to me, like it’s more forced.

      Whatever one thinks about some of the song choices on Dream With Me, from a purely vocal standpoint it was a tour de force. Jackie needs David Foster back in her camp but until she satisfies SONY/SYCO with 5 albums that’s not likely to happen.

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