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Remember Three Tenors? Here’s Carreras with Jackie Evancho….

The 13 year-old American singing sensation is big in Taiwan. Here’s what fans are sharing on twitter (apologies for phone quality):

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  1. Norman, she turned 13 on the 9th.

  2. richardcarlisle says:

    Here’s her “Time to say Goodbye” from the concert…. mid range never sounded better to me.

    Fortunate we are the fear of “losing her voice” so often expressed never materialized… nice to see her getting this much attention– not being overshadowed by pop stars like JB.

    • Ms. Evancho continues to exhibit a very pretty sound.

      The severe hoarseness at times heard on your audio link is a concern. One hopes she will be allowed, or perhaps forced, to head home now for a long rejuvenating break. She has earned it, has she not?

      • richardcarlisle says:


        She has a wondrously supportive home to head back to and a perfect place to protect one of the greatest treasures of all time (said with zero exaggeration)… we may not agree on every issue but this is one of total accord.

        As for coarse tone concern, the times she descends from her high range to the first note of her mid range in BOTW are troubling … it may be something she can control with coaching rather than real voice damage… seems like a difficult song for her with the final notes apparently higher and more stressful than any part of ND.

        Regardless, I do find the mid range quality in much of this concert surprisingly better developed than in the past.

        Generally we should really feel privileged to live in the time of this talented, positive, richly endowed example of humanity, giving us hope for the future of our species.

      • Janey, can you provide a time index for the severe hoarseness? Thanks

        • She is very hoarse at points throughout. 38 seconds through 40 seconds, with a touch of hoarseness through 48 seconds. 57 seconds. 1 minute and 50 seconds. Moderately at 1:44 through 1:48. She is fighting it at 2 minutes and 40 seconds, but it is there. She becomes virtually voiceless for the single note at 3 minutes to about 3:05. She fights the issues through to 3:35, when she loses her voice again. She finishes very sharp, likely attempting to hit a clear voiced note, which is only one of a number of pitch issues throughout. Quite a lot of struggle.

          To answer your question, I searched for a better audio. I did not find one, but did locate a video of the song, which shows the physical strain clearly. It is below.

          I write this as someone who found her most recent performances impressive and healthy. Nevertheless, young people of this age tire. They cannot sing, travel and talk continually without consequences. This performance is one of those consequences. I look forward to a return to form.

          I would say also that I considered hard whether to comment on the audio link. She is a child, after all, and a very talented one. I decided to do so because I feel the pressure on this child from her fans to perform is immense, particularly as her videos are spread throughout the internet with lightening speed. I suspect the pressure from her contract holder is even more heightened. I cannot imagine the responsibility at her age.

          Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with saying ‘no’ and resting. Even more, there is everything right with recognizing one’s own limitations. Sometimes we may show our support by saying just that to the performers we appreciate. This is a topic that has come up frequently on this site and it is a very worthwhile one. I can think of a few opera singers who also could do right now with being told that a rest may be useful, so that we may continue to watch and listen to them for many years to come. It pains me to hear performers I appreciate struggle.

          It is important to understand that all singers are human beings. They may be wonderful at what they do, but they are not machines. Most are not 13.

          I do recognize I did not hear the entire concert and my comments must be made with that caveat. Still, it does not alter the utter exhaustion evident in the particular solo posted here.

          Here is the video.

          • Thanks Janey. This is the end of the concert and I agree that she was probably exhausted. There is a review out on the net somewhere and if Google Translate is correct the author stated that people in the crowd were saying something like “the little angel is obviously tired, let her rest”. Her management needs to take into account the distance, time zone effects, etc and get her there four or five days ahead of time so she can get acclimated. Youthful energy will only take you so far.

          • richardcarlisle says:

            To Janey:

            The final note is by far the standout flaw — making others seem trivial — and so unfortunate the end point of the concert… the note improves as it progresses, receiving some vibrato but the other issue is It could have been held longer.

            Exhaustion is the key word here and when you think back to her first concert in Houston at age ten with Mr. Foster’s management — more than a half-hour non-stop performing without a semblance of a break — truly an offense of the worst kind.

            Judging by her high-energy and very inspiring interviews it’s possible the main culprit in her overexposure is non other than Jackie herself — wanting so much to share her gift with everybody everywhere… how hard it must be for her managers to remind her she is not supergirl after all.

          • Clive Plank says:

            In fairness, Janey, Jackie herself tweeted that she was very tired at the concert mainly due to travel fatigue and more or less admitted she would prefer to leave travelling to Asian venues when she is older.
            I also felt unfamiliarity between singer and conductor was a factor.

            I see she has concerts scheduled until mid June but then no imminent new album. So I feel it would be a good time to ease the pressure and return to a normal kid life for a time.

      • everett cox says:

        I don’t hear any hoarseness. She’s not sick and she doesn’t practice enough to be hoarse. What I DO hear are too-slow tempos and too-fast tempos which leads me to believe there wasn’t enough practice for her and the orchestra. Not only that, her regular conductor didn’t make this trip so that was probly the reason for the tempo issues.

        • I agree with you on this and have noticed the same thing in past performances. If the orchestra is not in sync with the way she wants to sing a given piece I can see what others might call strain. It seems to me that she is trying to sync up with them rather than them syncing up with her. Perhaps it is time for a full run through with the orchestra so they can get in sync with her to be a standard requirement in her performance contracts.

          Part of me also wonders if sometimes the orchestras and conductors don’t take the job seriously given her age. I remember that one news review in CA slammed part of the orchestra for their dreadful performance during a concert and actually called them unprofessional.

          • I assure you that no concerts are done without one full rehearsal, maybe even more. What kind of excuses are you making for not being in sync with the orchestra? Decisions are made beforehand as to tempo and expression but the conductor is the prime mover, not only for the players but soloists. Imputing lack of professionalism on the part of orchestral players, isn’t that a bit off the top? Are you not aware of how many skilled musicians auditions for one spot in an orchestra? They don’t know how to play? What is your point?
            And incidentlly, there were no tempo issues but breathing issues. Sorry..

          • CJ, I know that her first performance in Pittsburgh did not have a full rehearsal. See the link below…


            He only met her three hours before the concert and states that they didn’t rehearse everything.

            I expect that there were more than just this one.

            If the orchestra and/or conductor is obviously using a wrong tempo then yes, I do blame them.

            In regards to lack of professionalism, there was most definitely a review that said it. I don’t remember if the reviewer was talking about the entire orchestra, some part of it or a single person but I do remember reading and thinking how demeaning to be called out on it in a newspaper review. I thought it was in either the LA Times or SF Gate sites but Google isn’t pulling it up. I’ll try to find it later today.

          • CJ, Here is the link…


            The song being referenced may have been one that her guest Josh Page sang as I don’t recall Jackie ever singing that song and they didn’t use the word unprofessional but what they did write certainly got that point cross.

        • richardcarlisle says:

          @ Everett Cox

          The sound we’re finding is not hoarseness but a lack of clarity– sounding more like a non-beautiful, ordinary voice tone… likely from exhaustion… infrequent slight pitch flaws are also evident.

  3. KinginBlack says:

    It’s too bad poor cellphone quality is the best we can get, mixed with rain hampered sound equipment. This duet would sound great in a studio.

  4. Ghillie Forrest says:

    Guess no concert is safe any longer from cell phones.

  5. HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

    I’m trying to paste a photo from the Taiwan concert but don’t know if it’ll work. A review is 1st, then the photo.

    I may be reading too much into it, but the photo, taken at the concert’s end, appears to show genuine mutual respect & admiration between Carreras & Jackie, as though he loved introducing a new, young singer to the world.

    Of course he’s a very gracious man, & loves to work with younger singers, so it’s kind of expected. Still, there appears to be genuine chemistry between the two. Jackie was very grateful to be asked to perform with him.

    As I said on the other thread, we’re all subject to the ravages of age (or as Indiana Jones said, “it’s not the years, it’s the mileage!”), but Carreras obviously still loves to sing, has a rich voice (not the smooth, warm, gorgeous lyric tenor he had when younger, but passable) & is still able to put lots of emotion into his singing. We can overlook the problems like diminished range, wide vibrato & occasional “pitchiness.”

    Considering the conditions – the rain, a large outdoor venue – the outcome was very good. The recordings we’ve heard have also been from cell phones, not the highest fidelity. Jackie had the additional difficulty of trying to work with David Giménez-Carreras (José’s nephew), a conductor with whom she was unfamiliar, who seemed to set the tempo of her 1st number, Lovers, too fast, & spent the rest of the concert setting the tempi too slow. The beauty of Jackie’s voice still shone through, despite what may have been occasional hoarseness (hard to tell with the equipment & conditions).

  6. Time to Say Goodbye for Carreras who can barely manage a simple Ave Maria although heavily miked, ih a severely truncated arrangement, with the strings barely pucking out the accompaniment. (Who needs a full orchestra in that case?)
    TIme to Say Arrivederci to a young singer who obviously has bitten off more than she can chew.
    To study Italian diction meanwhile is a must (Chinese perhaps don’t care) but please don’t learn it from Carreras.
    No amplification excuses for the audible strain and chopped up syllables in the Ave Maria, please.
    The wobble at the end of Time to Say Goodbye was almost as wide as Callas’ towards the end of her career and must have been embarrassing to listen to as this concert was.
    Crossover should be practiced by those singers who have some base to crossover from. Otherwise it is a dangerous liability for young people. Occasional ventures into it as in highschool musicals might be OK and should not cause lasting vocal damage. But a heavy schedule of public performances without any real technique is a poor idea even if it is making loads of money and making some people “happy”.

    • CJ – I do not believe there is any need for negativity toward Ms. Evancho. She did not “bite off more than she could chew.” She could not know what was expected or what may happen with the conditions at the event to which her management agreed. It is of course not “time to say arrivederci.”

      The fact remains that she has a wonderful talent. While it is good to realize limitations, it is also good to understand possibilities. I think we have always agreed that a reasonable work schedule is important and I hope this event makes that clear to all involved. No one anywhere wants this child’s voice to suffer. I am rooting for her, but she has a long road ahead. Honest evaluations combined with genuine support will be very important.

      I will add that there need be no excuses from her fans. It does no good to blame either of the Carreras men, particularly since that blame is misplaced and unkind.

      • I am sorry, Janey, but “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen” applies here. Expensive tickets are being sold, often starting from $100. This alone should demand accountability. Any other performer has to undergo scrutiny. Why the exception here?
        I don’t blame the girl herself but the people who are putting her up for all this. This concert seems to have been even worse than St. Petersburg. What are these people trying to do, drag opera and singing to the lowest common denominator? This is what they are feeding the public? Sure, this does bring memories of Three Tenors and they were decidedly unpleasant. That concert also catered to a caricature of operatic singing.
        Pedagogically speaking, there is real danger in heaping praise when it is not warranted. Later on, she may view her own performances of songs and arias in Italian and wonder why she was not put on the right track. She may also be sorry that someone didn’t blow the whistle and say all this is unhealthy. Seeing and hearing the tangible results of this high powered performance schedule, it will not be only a question of vocal rest. Perhaps you don’t understand what it means to undo bad habits, and worse when they are started and reinforced in one’s early years.

        • I appreciate the response, CJ. I do often find myself in agreement with your points, but perhaps prefer a gentler approach. I also believe it is important to both be honest with critique and to recognize and acknowledge talent and potential. Of course, unwarranted praise is never wise, but criticism need not necessarily be delivered harshly. With respect…..

          • I am listening to the rest of the concert, and with all due respect, such vocal unreadiness should not have put on the stage in that condition, simple as that. Having to sing almost a full program and evidencing strain and discomfort IS biting off more than one can chew. It is not right objectively but more for her sake ,subjectively, to apply the brakes.
            One can exploit an already developed voice but it is so off the wall to thrust a kid on the public who is not fully developed and put that kind of pressure on her. I promise you it is VERY uncomfortable not to sing freely. Thanks to the whittled down orchestration, many of her gasps for air were louder than the players. This is not correct. There was quite a bit of flatness, even in the crossover songs which were somewhat better but still it was nearly impossible to fathom the text.
            What teacher in his or her right mind would put a student on the stage in that state, no matter how talented? It would be simply irresponsible – teacher and student alike would not get away with it.

    • Mr or Mrs Cabbagejuice, I was enjoying the civility and collegiality of this string of comments when you stepped in. Presumably you’ve asked yourself, “why am I so relentlessly negative,” “why must I gainsay others so consistently,” “how is it that others make critical comments without offence when I can’t seem to do so”. Presumably your answer has been, because I enjoy lowering the tone of a discussion and I have nothing to learn from these dolts.

      Like it or not, your contribution is part of the community of Jackie Evancho comments and sticks out because of its rudeness and pulsing negativity. People who want to find out about Jackie are led to this website because it’s high up on the Google returns. So what and how you say it matters, if only because it attaches a negative tone to what otherwise ought to be positive, discussion of the the career and talent of an exceptionally talented child.

      I’d recommend to anyone who comes to these discussions of Jackie Evancho to take relegate your comments to the wilderness (ergo, when they see your handle, scroll on by).

      • richardcarlisle says:


        All Jackie’s flaws and all her strengths add up to something in high demand by many millions … can you rightfully dictate tastes for that many people and would you rather hear Jackie perform rap or bluegrass as a suitable remedy for what you state as something wrongful — even unethical — even if no one would patronize such a performance alteration?

        Your most inappropriate comments involve enunciation — a trivial flaw having no effect on music quality — and if someone invited you to a fabulous restaurant charging a thousand bucks a plate to celebrate an important birthday wouldn’t you storm out in a huff because of a typo in the menu — seems to me you would do just that.

        And for you not to notice tempo issues in this concert reminds me of your approval of that notorious performance of Charlotte Church… not too sharp, CJ… sorry.

        • Sure, muddy diction, like flattening, abruptly changing timbre (mix of head and chest voice) for no reason, air breaks between syllables, are unimportant except if anyone else tried to sing like that would get tomatoes in their faces.
          Reality checks become negativity only if one doesn’t have ears to hear. The point is to BELIEVE and be swept up in emotion. Most 13 year olds would resent being called child at that age. In hindsight, being prematurely thrust into the public eye without proper preparation may come to be seen as an injustice, not what comes from the whistles of whistle blowers.

          • richardcarlisle says:


            Is it not the true wonder here that Jackie is adorable and in high demand in spite of her flaws… why not figure the reason for the current reality rather than going on and on what is deficient and explore why she is so popular in spite of the flaws… we all know the negatives — time to look closer at the positives — there may be a useful nugget of knowledge to make note of.

          • Charles Hoff says:

            Once again CJ, you’ve muddied your own at-times knowledgable comments into insignificance. Very sad. It’s no wonder that you are unable to present any of your students as doing anything more than paying for a failed audition. You have no idea or concept of what is pleasing to the ear. What will you tell your student that asks “After all this hard work following your guidance, why haven’t I ended-up here?”:


          • richardcarlisle says:


            Having elaborated on CJ sufficiently for the moment, please allow me a brief divergence into a pet peeve: the spelling of knowledgable : the only word misspelled by every dictionary since they all add an unnecessary e after the g to enforce a soft g … which is already enforced by the preceding d… perhaps as trivial as some of what we hear from CJ, but the only grammar/spelling detail of its kind I’m aware of… and such an ironic word about which to be unknowledgable, or as the dictionaries say: “unknowledgeable”.

            Thanks for contributing so sensibly so often to the Jackie debate.

          • @Charles Hoff One of my students just sang with a local orchestra, without miking, and very successful, too. We may not have the massive publicity machine that some people can afford, but we approach the act of making music with respect, not measuring the amount of outside adulation to gage achievement. Come to think of it, that is just what JS Bach did, quietly pursuing his craft.

          • CJ,

            You make points worth considering and you demonstrate knowledge. If only you would express yourself in a mature, civil, and restrained way, you’d be worth reading.

            If you would care to write about 250 words of civil prose, I’d be happy to publish them without commentary or edits on Best of Jackie on the Web (

            Take up my offer and prove me wrong in my fear that you don’t really care about Jackie Evancho’s welfare and that you don’t much care either about the health of classical music, that you just enjoy being snarly and unpleasant for its own sake.

          • @Best of Jackie on the Web There is nothing uncivil in what I write. I state the facts that seem to carry a phobia to true believers. I would not bother to contribute to a saccarine dripping personality cult. It’s really over the top to luxuriate in that kind of thing, particularly after chronological adolescence.

          • @cj Thank you for proving me correct.

            You will not contribute to a saccharine (that’s the correct spelling) dripping personality cult but you are happy to contribute to a sour, dry-as-dust, anti-Jackie Evancho cult, albeit a cult with a membership of one.

            Not that you will understand this, but while we’re sincere in our enjoyment of JE’s singing and are happy to thank her for giving us that enjoyment, we don’t take ourselves so seriously that we fail to notice that aspects of our website are merely fun and celebratory, as serious and as harmless as candy floss. We are however mature enough and seriousness enough to welcome critical commentary. We understand that you have better things to do than waste your time writing about Jackie Evancho.

            About “chronological adolescence”: God help us if you are the model of maturity.

            There is nothing uncivil in what you write? Given the uniform incivility of your response to my comment, I take it you require a definition:

            Discourteous; impolite.
            rude – unmannerly – coarse

            By the way, CJ, one does not carry a phobia, let alone carry it to others.

          • Enough of the banter, keep it civil and impersonal, please. Those are the rules.

      • After reading this thread, I’m interested in finding out exactly who the people are who are posting here as music critics, performers, experts and so forth.

        First of all, Best of Jackie is a wonderful fan site for Jackie Evancho. It may be the best fan site I’ve seen. Since the owner of that website is posting here, many Jackie fans will find these pages.

        I first found out about Jackie about a year ago and she is the reason I have rediscovered this musical genre. I agree she’s not perfect and don’t mind reading critical and concerned comments.

        So then. Exactly who are the critics? It seems to me that a people who are true experts in the field wouldn’t want to critique a 13 year old girl anonymously.

        Janey – Do you have a last name or website I can visit? You seem to be a reluctant admirer of Evancho at some level, though more negative than positive I suppose? I only ask to know more about you since you’ve claimed to be an expert in the genre.

        cabbagejuice – OK. Who are you and why should I care what you think? You’ve been more negative than positive. It’s your prerogative, but you seem to take anonymous shots without end. You might want to consider that the little Evancho girl has a really large, international fan base and many will end up on this website. They will read what you have written. You will help them form an opinion of the people in classical music in general. So far you’ve been the worst ambassador for a musical genre in history, though I doubt this was your intent. If you ever want your students to be able to reach out to the Evancho fan base, you might want to rethink your approach.

        Joanna Debenham – Your comments seem to be the best thought out of any. I believe you are a true expert in the field. The only Joanna Debenham I’ve found on the internet calls herself the English Nightingale (as opposed to the Swedish Nightingale). Is this you?

        Like “Best of”, I’m only here to find out what true vocal experts think Jackie Evancho might do to improve her craft. Perhaps there are coaches other than Yvie Burnett that might be helpful. (Joanna?)

        I think it was mutually beneficial for Sumi Jo and Carreras to reach out to Jackie. Many of us found out about them through Jackie.

        • richardcarlisle says:


          If Jackie made more effort to be technically perfect the main result would be a more disciplined and possibly less interesting performance… let her write her own ticket and continue being herself — she has better intuition about real entertainment than most “better” trained opera-style singers and it would be bad strategy to try impressing the very few “snobs” out there.

          And why state Janey is negative when she has made so many positive comments and has concern only about over-exposure and Jackie’s future health… please reread.

          • Thanks Richard,

            I agree completely about not needing to impress “opera snobs”. Jackie is quite capable of impressing the masses by herself. She is the only performer I’ve seen in my life capable of bringing me to tears. I was amazed by this when I watched her perform on youtubes of AGT and have wondered exactly what sort of magic made this occur. My wife, on the other hand, thinks she’s good but is not overcome emotionally by her performances. Apparently only a percentage of the population is moved to tears.

            I freely admit to being terse. I’m a design engineer and I think that the definition of terse must have the word “engineer” in it somewhere. I appreciate people who know things and discard quite easily the posers who claim to know something, then don’t. It’s my training and my nature.

            So now you may see why I asked to find out exactly who these people are that are attacking a 13 year old girl instead of offering constructive criticism. I have read Janey’s posts and many are decidedly negative. A few are positive, but most are mixed. It’s the danger of of posting on an open forum on the internet. Everything you say is here forever. I am willing to give this Janey person, male or female, tall or short, the benefit of the doubt. I do still want to know if the criticism is coming from knowledge or pure opinion. It’s not too much to ask. She may sell shoes for all I know.

            Btw, I searched for Richard Carlisle and found out you’re a character on Downton Abbey. I liked the show and appreciate the comments. :-)


          • richardcarlisle says:


            Downton is not me; I tired of its plot overly steeped in tragedy after a while… loved Upstairs Downstairs too much I guess… glad to see the man with my name had a decent role.

            I’m an artist sculptor designer inventor (20 patents in environmental packaging, hand rehab devices and soilless food production).

            Understand that CJ has turf to protect with a voice coach career undermined by success of lesser-trained performers; Janey loves traditional opera like the beat of her heart but manages to fit Jackie into the big picture with some effort.

            Lucky you didn’t meet some of the real nastys in past threads– vitriolic a la unforgettable… at least they’re still fresh in my mind.

            We are fortunate to witness Jackie bringing joy and hope to so many, ourselves included..

        • @Larry – I have not claimed to be any “expert” and I think you will find that my posts do not read in such a way. If those reading find my commentary to appear “expert,” the problem is not with me. I have 20 years of opera attendance, which does provide a sense of singing.

          I do not reluctantly admire Ms. Evancho. I see that she has great talent and I was impressed with recent performances. There is nothing reluctant, nor would I say “admire.” One admires police officers, astronauts and trauma surgeons. One appreciates singers. I have stated my concerns about Ms. Evancho performing at this level at her age, but she is not my child and there is nothing to be done on my end. I have long wished her a long and successful career. She appears to be a sweet child/young lady.

        • Yes that is me.

  7. peacemaker says:

    What we see in this video is recorded in a cell phone,their are more people setting in the higher benches ,since this is a football gymnasium in Taiwan with huge capacity of people. All they show is in the front seated orderly. I quest more than 50,000. Mr. Jose Carreras, who know by Taiwanese. He sing in their dialect,while Jackie English translation of Ombra Mai Fu. Which they love so much. They love her and Mr. Carreras. Were so proud that your bring joy and peace to other countries thru music.

  8. I was on stage at this concert in Taiwan, I haven’t not heard Jackie’s singing before but I have to say, I don’t really like it. I can’t really explain why I don’t like her voice, maybe it’s because Carreras was also in the concert and his artistry level is just so much higher then a 13 year old. I can tell she is got a lot of talents and a bright future. That’s if she doesn’t lose her voice before she turn 18

  9. richardcarlisle says:


    Are you really equating composing and performing…..hmmm.

    And when your student reaches significant audiences with significant orchestras you’ll have material to make your points convincingly and till then what you’re describing has a long road ahead.

    Also, it is not valid to say Jackie had a promotion machine at the suburban Evancho residence when she started competitions at age eight… talent trumps machines, you should know.

  10. Please do not attribute to poor technique what is clearly the result of poor recording technology.

    This is a live performance, and as such is not perfect. However there are Piano recordings made by Piano Maestro Slastislav Richter that contain errors, so continue to pour scorn on Miss Evancho who is 13 is not fair.

    Listening with my technical ears firmly attached, there was one moment when her breath control, support and placing let herself down.

    This is not a simple Ave Maria. It is set as a Grade 7 piece, by the Associated Board so is not exactly beginner’s standard, and even Maestro Carerras sings flat in one place.

    Having said that, the overall effect is wistful and charming.

    I am normally very circumspect about young singers who perform in such prestigious venues. I have few concerns about the way Jacqui Evancho sings as at the moment her voice is even, for her age and size she has good breath control, and if she continues to sing in the way she does she should have a long career. The thing she gets right is that she does not drown her voice in a warm bath of vibrato. Other young singers should take note.

    • Hi Johanna, For a Grade 7 piece, how would one mark diction, intonation and breathing between syllables?
      However this is not a kiddie examination but a professional venue where all of that stuff should have been mastered a long time ago. (And if Carreras went flat it is not because it is high up on the ABRSM list. Schubert just wrote songs. It’s hard for Americans to understand what seems to be at times, rigid, even arbitrary classifications.)
      No one is pouring scorn on an adolescent (not child). But foisting a caricature of opera on the public, starting with the Three Tenors is my main objection. It was bad enough with their trotting out Nessun Dorma, but a young girl without any formal training singing that in public? Doing O Mio Babbino and Pie Jesu without chopping up syllables is not beyond the range of a young person.
      Perhaps you didn’t listen ehough but the timbre shift now is really troubling, somewhat reminiscent of boys at that age whose voices are beginning to change. It goes back and forth from a kind of full tone to a falsetto.
      In this condition full concerts 3 -5 a month are really too much and the strain now is showing. Suchlike can wait but it looks like the need to derive as much as possible from the cute factor before that stage is over.

  11. @Joanne With respect, I cannot agree that the problems with Time To Say Goodbye are from recording equipment. She is completely exhausted, voiceless at points. I have given no opinion on Ave Maria because it is difficult to hear and therefore greatly appreciate your comments on that. I listened to Pie Jesu and found it well done.

    I mention Time To Say Goodbye only because I believe it seemed to show clear signs of exhaustion, particularly in the voice. It seems to me that after singing six songs her voice began to fail. I do not have your experience, but that cannot be a positive sign. I have now seen that she has concerts on May 9, 12, 16 and 18. Like you, I believe she is a tremendous talent, but I fear for her given this schedule.

    • Janey, second question of the day for you. Considering Jackie’s age what would you consider to be an appropriate number of concerts to perform per year? I too sometimes wonder if she isn’t taking on too much.

    • Janey and everyone – I found better quality recordings from the Taiwan cocenrt on the channel of “n07252004″.
      but the channel does not have Con Te Partiro. The recording is still from the audience, rain sounds and everything. Still, Se and Music of the Night come out beautiful; O Mio Babbino Caro less so.There are some recording distortions, and some possible breaks or pitch problems, quite mild. Not sure it is exhaustion. Her voice is changing because of the obvious growth spurt, and she needs to adjust. Before reading the comments here I actually was pleased to hear proper maturation in Ms Evancho’s voice, remaining rich and with a pleasant tone. She has beautiful tone and musical phrasing, or whatever it is that makes her more pleasant to listen to than almost any other female singer given the same repertoir. Not sure what the experts here who are very critical of Jackie’s voice are hearing. Obviously those like me who buy her recordings and go to her concerts do not have a good enough musical ear to hear the flaws.
      We should only hope that the concert schedule remains reasonable; it is not normal for a youngster to be the breadwinner for the family and herein lies the key concern.

      • The point about how many concerts should be permitted per month to avoid vocal strain is still putting the cart before the horse. Do as many gigs as possible but ONLY after the technique is stabilized. Even if the lack of consistency in tone comes from a parallel stage that young boys go through vocally, well, all the more reason to be cautious and prudent.

    • richardcarlisle says:


      While CJ and I mud wrestle semantically and toss linguistic spears we both have you to thank for elevating the tone of this and other threads.

  12. Please do not dismiss ABRSM exams as “kiddie exams”. There are many adult learners who take them.

    By the time one gets to Grades 6-8, these exams are accredited to NCF level 3, about an equivalent standard to Al level, and this I hasten to add is on the technical features of the music alone. Musicians can choose to perform music from these syllabi in their professional diplomas as own choice pieces i.e. when they become Licentiate or a Fellow of one of the Music colleges provided it is part of a challenging enough programme; the standard expected in performance is somewhat higher.

    I have learnt that people who phrase remarks “with respect” often show little. The recording on the hyperlink was of extremely poor quality and add the rain, then I believe what you were hearing was the limitation of the equipment.

    The question of too many performances in too short a period of time is a concern, but provided she gets enough sleep, eats a healthy diet and keeps adequately hydrated she should not face any problems. Amplification is used in these concerts, and given her vocal technique appears to be very sound, providing after the tour she gets a break, providing she does not catch a cold, she is almost better performing a batch of concerts, having a break, then working for a batch of concerts again.

    • @Johanna As Janey pointed out, the flaws were not the result of the recording equipment. The proof is in the above. When Carreras sings there are no audible gaps where he attempts a legato. In many of her songs, the phrases and even words are chopped up due to lack of air.
      I don’t know how the Ave Maria passed muster with him, though. The two of them are not in synch. Sometimes her voice sticks out, othertimes his without rhyme or reason. This is what bothers me, just putting an act together and relying on the name-pulling power of the protagonists. Who cares about little details such as text and phrasing? Just make a pleasing sound, quasi-operatic in his case, and that should be enough. Well, it isn’t.
      We do use the ABRSM in our school as a kind of guide. I actually enjoy the selection of new and often unfamilar material. But at times, I can’t understand the criteria of choosing works when some pieces from a higher grade seem to be easier than a lower one. But I do conform to the idea that it is not WHAT one does so much in music but HOW it is done.

  13. Victoria Clarke says:

    This is exactly the reason why I have given up singing, despite doing my degree and my fellowship diploma, there’s nothing left. People are only interested in bells and whistles and celebrity culture.
    I’ve been left disillusioned by the whole thing.

  14. May I ask a favor? Please let me know if this is a fair and complete summary of what this “elite group” of “raw talent enthusiasts and perfectionists” has taught us?

    CJ, “a big deal is being made out of very little substance”. Jackie’s followers are “useful idiots”. Evancho knows nothing about proper pronunciation. Her breathing exhibits no technique at all. A singer who needs a microphone has no business singing operatic arias Jackie “can barely sustain a phrase”, “can only float some medium high notes in a falsetto at the end of a song”, cannot produce full tones, is a manufactured package who would be singularly unimpressive were she to sing unrecorded, without accompaniment, and without amplification. Jackie produces sounds “never heard before on the earth” because sound engineers are working wonders with material that wouldn’t pass a basic vocal examination. They take Jackie’s “squeaks” and transform them into “full, round tones”. Evancho is being consciously packaged to appeal to middle aged to elderly men who are attracted to prepubescent (and now adolescent) girls. Mass hysteria induced by marketing hyperbole explains her success. Katherine Jenkins can sing, Jackie Evancho cannot. Tricks are used to fool the ignorant: “flick of the head, raising one’s eyes to the sky”, glottal stops and sighs “to give an extra kick to the sound”, “ultra slow tempo, enough time to breathe between words and an ultra serious demeanor” Jackie Evancho is a fraud with less talent than a number of CJ’s students.

    Janey. Jackie is being overworked, is ill-prepared to care for her instrument, over time is in danger of losing her promising career. She has talent and promise but this are at risk of being squandered

    Victoria Clarke. Hard work, years of study, and excellent training are no guarantee of a career in music at all, let alone a successful career. It is a rule of thumb that the most popular are seldom the best. “You are watching products, not artists.”

    Richard Carlisle. There is potential and even present quality in Jackie Evancho, but also significant flaws. Jackie is overworked and risking her voice.

    HomoSapiensLaptopicus. Jackie’s is a high quality voice. Especially considering her age, her poise and professionalism are remarkable.

    holywells. As a sound engineer who has analyzed Jackie’s recorded voice, he finds no manipulation beyond the type of controls that are the sum and substance of recording engineering.

    • richardcarlisle says:

      Don’t confuse flaws with what really counts, and as I’ve said a few times that you apparently missed: her music regardless of technical perfection reveals a character/personality combination so angelic in quality and possibly more so than has ever been known … perhaps she IS an angel.

      Wasted discussions on her musical ability sadly miss the point of what we have in our midst… the mere fact of all her success not turning her into a hapless and hopeless brat should serve as a profound indication of what a singular treasure is her personal wealth.

      CJ should spend more time looking at the interview videos and try criticizing THEM… haven’t we heard the music flaws enough… to say she has no right to perform with her technical imperfections is totally inappropriate until such time that you, CJ, are in a position to dictate what millions of people are allowed to want — right after you have been elected absolute emperor of the world and beyond.

    • Gosh, I’m really flattered you spent all that time reading my posts but also took most of what I wrote out of context. I said I enjoyed the Bridge Over Troubled Water as a complete product. I agreed with those who said JE is exceptionally talented. What I don’t understand is WHY you are SO preoccupied with this subject.
      I don’t have a problem with her as with those who are pushing her to perform a taxing schedule even for seasoned artists. I resent opera being trivialized and brought down to the lowest denominator. I am faintly amused but more perplexed at her fans who can’t take any hint of criticism even when it is constructive but weave such a web of mythological proportions. This was a sound that was supposed to emanate from the heavenly realms and not subject to the laws of physics that the rest of us mortals are subject to.
      The recent concert was a reminder that even angels get tired and maybe could use some technique, the theory and practice started in the 17th century and was demonstrated over the centuries to be fairly reliable.

      • CJ, My post was an innocent request for clarification and correction. I’d like to know if I understand correctly what is being said on this blog about Jackie Evancho. Yes I do care what you and others say here. There are a number of things I’m well versed in, but the technical aspects of singing is not one of them.

        I am confused about why you should be flattered. You are surprised at my taking an interest in what you say? That’s an oddly self-conscious and unselfconfident concern. You position yourself as knowledgable and even expert. I’m looking for facts about Jackie Evancho. I visit this site and read yours and others’ comments because I want to understand why I enjoy hearing Jackie and I’d like to know how she is regarded by professional musicians and teachers of music.

        Concerning my taking you out of context. The context of these statements in no way modifies or mitigates what I quoted. You have uttered these sentiments repeatedly, in so many contexts indeed that it’s impossible not to know what you intend by them. You are denying the denotation or connotation of what you wrote?

        Why am I so preoccupied with this subject? More than once that question has been asked of you! My preoccupation is understandable I think. I heard Jackie sing. I liked what I heard, so much so that I spend a fair amount of time attempting to say thank you to her and, in my own little way, by boosting her career. I visit this blog in part to keep up on what is being said about her.

        You make the assumption that fans can’t take criticism of her. If you include me in that you are dead wrong. I have only ever in my life wanted to know the truth of things. If I learn here or elsewhere that Jackie is a fraud or that those of us who praise her are a threat to her, I’ll shut down my website and stop buying her CDs.

        • @Best of Jackie on the Web After choice comments from you, such as “…that you just enjoy being snarly and unpleasant for its own sake”, I am supposed to even give you the time of day?
          If you actually read my posts, you would have seen quite a bit of a favorable response to her and even concern for her wellbeing. But you intentionally ignored those. The “big deal made out of very little substance” had to do with a minimal amount of singing while hanging 100 ft. in the air. And in the end it was only part of an act with a lot of other things happening on the floor of the circus.
          I believe what endears Jackie to her public is a smoky timbre that has continuously sounded above her age. This sound is well suited to music of a more sombre nature and she has the expression to go with it. (She also knew how to turn it on in an early recording of Ombra Mai Fu with David Foster when she changes her facial expression.) She was lucky to get onto the stage before becoming self-conscious with a lot of support no doubt, and has a natural flair for phrasing.
          Contrary to what some of her most ardent and even aggressive fans have been promoting, she hasn’t emerged from the head of Jove fully formed. There are marked similarities in the repertoire and style of Aled Jones and Charlotte Church. But so much of art anyway builds on what has come before. It couldn’t be otherwise. Kids start by imitating their elders.
          The problem with thrusting out a preteen on the public is naturally the lack of technical preparation. Her adamant fans insist that this is a preternatural sound that doesn’t need to be trained in the manner of opera snobs who are jealous that a little one can cock a snook to all that and turn the whole edifice of snooty learning upsidedown.
          I was willing to point out the unattended to flaws but the comeback is always, they are not important!
          What really bothers me in the above concert as what this thread is about, is the prostitution of opera and even the attitude “a little one will show them”.
          Well, a 13 year old can do better in an aria such as O Mio babbino as demonstrated by a certain Patrícia Janečková without chopping up syllables and actually pronouncing the words right even though it isn’t her native tongue either.
          So what are the promoters foisting on the public? I said before I don’t blame Jackie but maybe sometime in the future if she does actually go to music school with all those snobs in the making, she might be perplexed why she was not put on the right track and at least obvious mistakes corrected.
          And according to an Amazon poll, older men are very strongly in her fan base. Someone remarked that they see in her a kind of grandchild figure. I personally see all the adulation going around as being creepy and over the top. But that is my opinion.

          • @Best of Jackie on the Web By way of an addendum, I realize I didn’t explain my reactions to a subject that some people mistake for preoccupation.
            Anything vocal interests me so I have a rather large personal library of books on singing. I had been listening to opera from early on thanks to a windfall of old 78′s from a grand uncle whose legacy of records somehow, if not mistakenly, passed to me. After all these years I am still an incorrigible non-stop auditor and if I have to describe my musicianship, I would say I am a listener first. Musical sound moves me to try to make some if myself. And that has always been the case.
            If a vocal anomaly or phenomenon emerges so outside mainstream theory and practice, then it must be examined. I need to know its nature and if there is anything to be learned from it which perhaps previous generations have missed.
            What has been evolving for me is the exception proving the rule. And the above concert is an example. I don’t know how anyone can describe Carreras with ‘sublime breath control’ at this stage. Both singers are really in default here. The lack of preparation for such an event is inexcusable. The Ave Maria sounds like it was slapped together at the last minute.
            But all told, maybe adequate practice would haven’t helped either. And judging by the PR and other reactions, it didn’t seem to matter anyway.

          • Kris W. says:

            CJ, surely you are not suggesting that a great multitude of discerning, intelligent listeners of Miss Evancho are unqualified to define beauty for themselves?? Perfection,(such as you are demanding it) regardless of artform, does not exist. If you believe that her concert tickets are excessively priced based on her performing ability (or lack thereof), then don’t attend. If you don’t feel that she is a capable performer, then stop listening. Anything, but please stop railing on and on about how deficient she is as a singer…as a fan, I find her singing to be absolutely beautiful. It’s that simple…it’s your right to disagree. I thoroughly enjoy listening to her singing the arias. You clearly do not…again, that’s your right. But please don’t tell the rest of us that ENJOY her voice and her singing that we are not entitled to make that decision for ourselves. Again, if you don’t like her voice, why are you listening??? Perhaps you could reach out to the Evancho’s and Jackie’s reps and offer your professional services…just a thought. Would that help with your validation issues? Please move on from Miss Evancho and find something in life that will bring you more joy than this relentless negativity…it’s really very unhealthy.

      • Chris Hoover says:

        re “…theory and practice started in the 17th century…” Maybe a good bleeding would help her…

  15. There is a fundimental difference with a tenor with years of training in the Bel Canto School of training, and what can be achieved by a thirteen year old.

    Her functional anatomy and physiology is completely different hence she sings with the bell like quality of a treble and not the smooth controlled legato with the sublime breath control that Carreras posesses.

    Her vocal folds have not grown to attach themseves to both sides of the larangeal-cryoco cartiledge. Having said that, she is clearly singing without tension in that area or she would not have the bell-like clarity or level of control.

    She has not got the same kind of musculature controlling her breathing apparatus, but for a girl of her age, it is pretty good.

    She is going to need to take more breaths plain and simple and that will disrupt the legato line.

    If her voice sticks out, then blame it on the sound-desk. Both singers are singing with amplification.

    Oh and Cabbage Juice, I spell Joanna without an ‘h’. It is the UK spelling of the name. The other bit of balderdash is that 13 year old girls don’t sing with falsetto, that is a technique reserved for adult men. When a similar technique is used in the adult female voice it is called flautino, and I do not hear any evidence of that.

    Given I am a Drammatico Spinto/Dramatic Coloratura Soprano I know what flautino technique is as I teach it and use it when my full head voice runs out (for notes above Eb6). I would have thought given her age she is mid transition.

    I am normally a sceptic as far as young singing progidies are concerned, but there is something about Jackie Evancho’s technique that does not set off my “Oh Dear Radar”, and believe me, it is normally set off very easily, and when it is, I cringe.

    • Joanna, for what it’s worth, I found your statement very interesting and very helpful.

      I forgot to ask CJ what aspect of Jackie’s singing he finds exceptionally talented in. Really, it’s an innocent question. I just want to know.

      • richardcarlisle says:

        CJ is female… yours isn’t the first miscalculation.

        Jackie is no kind of fraud and it will be an interesting test of her character — entering the teen years — so distracting to Charlotte Church.

        Efforts like yours by quality people like you have helped Jackie’s career till now and now some concerned effort of an opposite nature might help her avoid brutal schedules like next month’s… just a thought.

    • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

      Joanna D-

      At the risk of veering too far off-topic, I’d like to ask you if the way this 10 year old sings sets off your “Oh Dear Radar”:

      There are other vids of her available. She is very expressive & has lots of stage presence. Like Jackie, her voice is much “older-sounding” than her age. But all the roaring & growling she does scares the heck out of me. That kind of stuff can be dangerous even for a fully-prepared adult’s voice, let alone a 10 year old’s. Not to mention that the subject matter of the song is a bit creepy for a young girl (JMHO).

      I believe she’s 12 now, & I’ve seen vids where she’s singing more safely, but also some where she’s doing the same things. I won’t post them all, but they’re on YouTube if you’re interested.

      • richardcarlisle says:


        I survived ten seconds of a bespectacled musical temper tantrum and feel strongly urged to recommend Rhema Marvanne…(youtube — several) who also lacks a voice in Jackie’s league but radiates genuine fulfilling and likeable entertainment…. she might make you wish you hadn’t met the scary memory you suggested.

        • richardcarlisle says:


          I do appreciate your exploratory spirit…. please recommend others you find interesting.

      • richardcarlisle says:

        Here’s Rhema Marvanne’s Hallelujah — about as good as she gets.

    • @Joanna I see you have corrected your previous spelling of Jacqui. My userrname is without a break. But no matter. And what you respectfully called balderdash (remembering your previous insinuation about “those who use the word respect show little”), are you saying that adolescents can only float tones and not sing mixed ones? (If you must call the latter “flautino”, go ahead. but for the sake of argument, “falsetto” is also used in such a context.)
      If there is only one color to be expected from kids, why is there such a difference in two timbres when JE is going back and forth between them? One is the deep smoky quality that has endeared her to the public and the other is floating the tone. The first sound does come at a price, with the much remarked upon “jaw waggle” and here in Ombra Mai Fu it is veering to one side. Do you call this healthy?
      I’m personally amazed you can sing full voice up to a Eb6 and from what you wrote in a previous thread, with all the vowels intelligible throughout the range. (Most sopranos move to the head voice in the passaggio about an octave lower, which is more than adequate to project high notes.)
      However, I wasn’t the only one who disagreed with you. Fabio Fabrici wrote:
      “That’s two different phenomenon mixed up. One is actually producing actual vowels above a certain range that is not suitable for it. See Cabbagejuice’s comment. It’s pretty much impossible to produce all vowels intelligibly over the whole range, at least for opera singers who have to sing with a certain loudness.”

      • Correction: “former” should be used instead of “latter”- flautino for floated tones, not mixed.
        Also I just listened to the link provided by HomoSapiens of Mara Platt a ten year old who does not sing in a heady voice but just the opposite. Kids have an amazing capacity for imitation and might even pass their contrived sound for a free, that is unmanufactured, one. Hmmm.

        • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:


          Same question for you: do you think Mara Justine (Platt)’s singing is healthy?

          I suppose I’ve already given myself away. Yes, she triggers my “oh dear radar” when she sings like that. But I was interested in what trained professionals say about it.

      • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:


        As I’ve tried to tell you before, Jackie’s palate is not level, & she has ALWAYS opened her jaw to the left. This is quite common in human beings. Surely you can appreciate how much more of her right front teeth you can see in the OMF vid you posted than you can see of those on the left. The jaw angle was evident on the very 1st vid we have of her, taken just before her 8th birthday:

        Tony Bennett’s palate is also angled, & is higher on the left. His jaw opening is angled as well, though it’s more subtle than Jackie’s. Presumably you’d agree that that doesn’t seem to have shortened his singing career, which has lasted more than 75 years. It’s most obvious here at ~1:40:

        Jackie’s brother Jake is evidently aware of her angled palate, as can be seen starting at ~2:33 here:

        Carreras’ jaw opens slightly to the right, though it is also less obvious than Jackie’s. This can be seen especially beginning at ~1:20 here:

        In summary, it is most likely perfectly healthy for Jackie’s jaw to open slightly to the left. Time will tell if this is a problem later.

        The jaw waggle is something different, perhaps reflecting unnecessary tension in the jaw. Vibrato is produced by rhythmic contractions of the hypopharyngeal musculature, though because these muscles are usually involuntary without training, singing teachers may say vibrato “develops naturally” at a certain age with enough breath support from below. This is a subtle example (I’ve seen a more obvious example, but can’t find it just now):

        Jaw waggle in some children disappears as they get older, but in others it does not. Again, time will tell whether Jackie is in the former or latter group.

        Incidentally, I also found the longer version of the Jackie vid where she explains that she’s a classical crossover singer, not an opera singer, then sings the fragment of the Phantom Main Theme:

        • I feel so sorry for this young lady, deprived of her childhood and forced to imitate a lirical voice.
          She has simply got a fake voice, with nice high register but if you listent to her middle register, it is completely missing of power, body and colour.
          She is a TOTAL fake like any pop-opera singer on the move: Bocelli, Brightman, Jenkins who are completely losing their voice just because they have to strive to sing into a mic.
          This was Beverly Sills at 8 years of age

          • richardcarlisle says:

            One word in your post is worth noting…. the word is “nice”.

            Jackie is what she is and probably won’t be devastated if you refuse to attend her concerts or buy her CD’s… her voice qualities are a good blend with her personality and she provides desirable entertainment… too much for you to understand possibly.

            Jackie entertained numbers of people just like Beverly Sills at the same age, soon after that entertained millions more.

            Fake?… perhaps you can start a class-action lawsuit and sue her for fraud, cash in big time.

          • @sardusorpheus See my recent comment about telescoping the air and pushing it downwards to achieve a murky quality, air pressure actually creating a trembling in the jaw and in the sound itself.
            I always maintained this is unhealthy. She doesn’t always sing like this and has a nice high register as you say. But the habits have become quite ingrained by now, and after all, the timbre of the voice deemed expressive by her fans, is one of the main attractions.
            To compare, others have cited links to youtube vids that show other kids imitating adult voices quite convincingly , so doing so is not an unusual phenomenon.

        • @HomoSapiensLaptopicus From the person who said that Ombra Mai Fu begins with a G5, citing a slight momentary variation in what is generally a free production by Carreras in Nessun Dorma, you must be scouring youtube looking for obscure information that can back up unimportant arguments and defense of a certain manner of singing.
          It’s possible that some already established singers might have a jaw anomaly but it could be trained out of kids and not bad habits reinforced by constant performing.
          You can read about vibrato here:
          About Mara Platt – obviously she is imitating her elders but should be stopped ASAP from spoiling her voice at such an early age.

          • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:


            Of course Mr Jones, in your link, is incorrect about vibrato. He defines it as “slight variation of pitch resulting from the free oscillation of the vocal cords” – which, of course, is just wrong. My previous links of flexible laryngoscopies while singers are using vibrato prove it’s created by rhythmic contractions of the hypopharyngeal musculature, which may or may not involve the larynx.

            These muscles are usually involuntary, so asking a singer to “rhythmically contract the hypopharyngeal muscles” will get you a blank look. Teaching vibrato must therefore involve excellent breath support from below & letting its “natural” development occur.

            The frequency of sung tones is roughly 100 times faster than the frequency of vibrato, depending on the pitch, type of singing, etc. If vibrato were related only to the vocal cords (folds), its frequency would change with different pitches. IT DOESN’T.

            Some sort of sympathetic vibration with the vocal cords MIGHT be believable if it occurred at some multiple of 2, like, e.g., vibrato was at 1/128th of the frequency of the sung note. It doesn’t happen that way, however.

            Mr Jones is right about some of the other things he says. But there is a LOT of scientifically inaccurate information on singing on the web, including that on his site. If you want more reliable information, AVOID Mr Jones & look at

            Here are some laryngoscopy vids proving that vibrato involves rhythmic contractions of the hypopharynx (including the epiglottis). As you know, the larynx is – or should be – motionless, so when it appears to move on the vids, that’s just the scope moving up & down, principally caused by rhythmic contractions of the posterior tongue.




            The last one is of Shirley Ocampos singing OMBC.

          • richardcarlisle says:


            Thanks for elaboration, but it’s still pitch rather than volume?

          • Mr Laptop, I didn’t write the article and so don’t agree with everything but thought it was a good introduction. I never learned “vibrato”, nor teach it either. It is a byproduct of healthy vocal habits. Sometimes a choral conductor might bug me into singing with less vibrato, but developed voices usually have a hard time blending into less than professional choirs.

          • richardcarlisle says:

            Interesting how I’ve had the impression it was totally controllable by a performer of any category (no question it’s controllable by all string players)… and how come in a given note by a singer it will start with no vibrato and as it continues the vibrato smoothly increases till it reaches its maximum at the end of the note… seems there’s more to this subject to be explored where singers are concerned…how about it Joanna?

  16. HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

    People here have been saying Jackie’s voice only sounds the way it does because of extensive electronic processing. I may have posted this vid at one point before (can’t remember), but it’s during an interview in a fairly dead sound space with no obvious audio processing. It’s from AGT, recorded sometime in Aug 2010, where she sings a fragment of the Phantom Main Theme.

    It starts off with her saying “..opera singer,” but just to clarify, there’s a longer vid I couldn’t find where she addresses the issue. The interviewer asks her about being an opera singer, but Jackie corrects her, telling her she’s a “classical crossover singer.” She also mentions “popera,” but on other occasions she’s said she doesn’t like that term.

    Incidentally, you can tell Jackie has absolute pitch, because without an external reference she sings it in the usual key of E-minor. Also note her subtle register changes.

    Yes, I know some say children of this age are “not supposed to have register changes,” but Jackie’s were extremely obvious a year before, on her self-produced album Prelude to a Dream. The songs would have sounded better without them, but she needed falsetto register to sing anything above Eb5..

    • richardcarlisle says:


      Jackie’s pitch is 99.9 rather than absolute… even though her last note in “Time to Say Goodbye” in Taiwan is off pitch and attributable to exhaustion, her last note of “Pie Jesu” performed on AGT where she comes down an octave (distance makes for a tough target) misses noticeably… the next performance of the same piece was perfect– done a short time later guesting on a TV show… other pitch errors were so minute I didn’t make note of their appearance.

      • richardcarlisle says:

        Sorry, the Pie Jesu note she came down to was the second-to-last..

      • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:


        Pitch control when singing & absolute pitch are two totally different things. You can be very good at one & not so good at the other. Here’s Wiki:

        “Absolute pitch (AP), widely referred to as perfect pitch, is an auditory phenomenon characterized by the ability of a person to identify or re-create a given musical note without the benefit of a reference tone.”

        Absolute pitch just means you don’t need an external reference like a tuning fork, pitch pipe or musical instrument to ID or create a given tone. “Perfect” pitch is more confusing, since it might imply good pitch control as well. Jackie’s pitch control is very good but not perfect, especially since her voice has been going thru the changes of adolescence.

  17. Please will you differentiate between “head voice” and “flautino”.

    My passagio for going into “head voice” is at F#5 and the next register shift is at Eb5 my melba point before entering the appoggio is at Eb4 and my bottom note (for performance purposes) is F#3.

    The way that voices are describe by people who use Classical Training is very different to how singers who use contemporary techniques describe things. (I should know, I teach both even though when performing I tend to stick to the Bel Canto Style)

    I do not like jaw waggle in singers. I have not really seen it In Jacqui Evancho’s performances. Jaw Waggle is a lazy technique to force vibrato. A healthy vibrato is produced via the support muscles and is not usual in young singers.

    I have not said that there is only one voice colour in young singers, there will be a mixture of colours, because as in the case with adolescent female and adult female voices there are different registers.

    Snr Fabrici is quite right about the production of vowels as due to the proportions of the naso-pharynx, above G5 most vowels are a variation on [a] however much the singer tries. Due to different proportions in the male physiology, the adult male voice does not present with the same problem an octave lower.

    To condemn a young singer when in reality she is affected with what is a universal phenominum is patently unfair. It smacks of clutching at straws to make ones point.

    • “Universal phenominum”, hmmn, does that have to do with the “larangeal-cryoco cartiledge’? I must be a freak because I don’t have one of those.

      • cabbagejuice, The cartiledges sirrounding the vocal folds are fused in two parts, the larangeal crichod cartiledge and the larangeal thyroid cartiledge. I was having a poor spelling day yesterday and pick me up on something so petty demeans you.

        The bottom of the vocal folds are anchored to the larangeal chriochoid cartiledge, and therefore getting the correct angle of tilt via the musculature and ligaments of the larynx counts for everything.

        • @Joanna You’re rather free in demeaning comments yourself. Despite what you wrote, I never ‘condemned a singer’ or anyone, or ‘clutch at straws’. What’s your definition of demeaning? You throw around meaningless terminology like confetti, nevertheless.
          You wrote that “Her vocal folds have not grown to attach themseves to both sides of the larangeal-cryoco cartiledge”. You fused crico and thyroid together but there is nowhere in the literature that the vocal folds are unattached and somehow become so at puberty.
          Here’s another of your off-the-wall pronouncements that doesn’t appear anywhere either, in Celletti’s or Reid’s books on Bel Canto: “Vibrato was considered as an ornament in the Baroque period.”
          Vibrato is not the same as the Baroque shake or quick repetition on one note.
          Vibrato is the natural oscillation of a tone in singing also used in string playing at least since Leopold Mozart described it coming from the human voice, or unnatural as the case may be in unhealthy voices, too fast or too slow, but it is not achieved by pushing the jaw down.
          You got it wrong. Instead, the dark, smoky quality is being manufactured by telescoping the air and sending it downwards, not forward. That is why the jaw shakes. When understood thus, it all makes sense,
          As for the performance of Handel or any of the other arias, the point was to reshape them into crossover style, whatever that is supposed to be. That is why one cannot argue with these people and when they use classical singers to prop up their arguments, it just passes into absurdity.

          • Celliti and Reid are not the only authors who have ever written on the subject on Bel Canto

            I also never mentioned the Shake, which is a completely different ornament altogether.

            I am Licenciate of the Royal Schools of Music in Singing and have studied the physiology of childrens voices. If you want to read a good book on that subject I suggest you read Dr Jenevora Williams book on the subject. It has a very useful bibliography section in it relating to the teenage voice too.

            Far from being some kind of amateur, I know my subject. It is how I make my living.

          • @Joanna One might call that argument by “pulling rank” as they say in the US. I don’t use my own qualifications, famous teachers I studied with or that I earn a living from music (all true) to prop up my arguments. I let the facts speak for themselves.

  18. Having watched the video clip that Cabbagejuice suggested, JE (Jackie) she does shake her Jaw in order to force Vibrato. This is unnecessary and her performance of Ombra Mai Fu would sound better without it; it’s a Handel Aria and many performers are attempting to sing with as clean a sound as possible, yet JE adds vib! – Bizzare!

    I said I was critical of young singers, and in this case I don’t like, but at the time of the Cirque Soleil Concerts I did state that I did not like her vibrato even though the rest of her voice impressed me.

    • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

      Joanna D et al

      I was under the impression that as Händel wrote it, the initial G5 of Ombra Mai Fu was meant to increase in volume AND vibrato. But perhaps I was misinformed. There are several places where some singers use trills as well. Were these written by Händel or not?

      • You are correct, Vibrato was considered as an ornament in the Baroque period.

        Trills and other ornaments would have been expected, and no Handel would not have notated them in the music, musicians of the period (including Senesino for whom the Aria was written) were expected to extemporise their ornaments. When singers are taught to perform Baroque music in Conservetoires and University Music Departments, they are taught how to do this and many start to learn these techniques before then.

      • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

        Here’s a really nice OMF, with the intro, sung with very subtle vibrato. Back then, opera singers didn’t need the garish vibrato they always seem to have today.

        • richardcarlisle says:


          Mesmerizing indeed… why can’t all tenors have more of his spirit and less of their ego… THANKS — at least something in this thread makes total sense.

          • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:


            Some months ago, someone (can’t recall just who) wondered what would have happened had Pavarotti lived in Caruso’s time & Caruso in ours. Would they both have become as popular as they did?

            Pavarotti’s voice was (probably) sweeter & warmer, while Caruso’s was (probably) bigger & more powerful, but also harsher. I have this idea that they both would have succeeded in the other’s time, but who knows? It’s just fun to speculate.

          • richardcarlisle says:


            I find enticement in contemplating Pav’s voice merged with the Great One’s spirit… perhaps accustomed as I am to Jackie’s rich clarity and golden character the male equivalent would be just that.

            Pavarotti’s wondrous voice was propelled more by ego, Caruso’s power seemed to rise from the earth… there was some colleague resentment with Pavarotti demanding top billing, etc and I’d like to research sometime the real nature of Caruso’s popularity.

            Perhaps much more should be brought to public attention regarding any info available… there might be some valuable insights for today’s tenors from the career of Enrico Caruso.

        • Where in tarnation is an intital G5 for Ombra Mai Fu???
          Handel wrote it in the key of Eb for Baritone and so starts with a Bb3.
          Soprano voices and boy sopranos sing it in the key of G and octave higher than Caruso who begins it on D4, a note higher than C4. This is not the best recording of Aled Jones as a youth but quite adequate for the sake of discussion. At least one can make out the words.

          In keeping with related silly comments about vibrato, this is also completely off-the-wall:
          “Back then, opera singers didn’t need the garish vibrato they always seem to have today.”
          FIrst of all, in no way is the voice of Caruso comparative to what he actually sounded with such primitive equipment. The truncated sound of orchestral instruments gives that away.

          • richardcarlisle says:

            Early recording equipment that surely chops some subtle aspects of resonance layers didn’t necessarily reduce evidence of more overt vibrato sounds… reminds me of that intense vibrato discussion a few threads ago– and my current opinion regarding all that business: vibrato MUST be a variation in pitch rather than volume since it can be so readily produced with a violin that can hardly vary volume with the technique employed to create vibrato on that instrument where pitch is so obviously varied by wobbling a fingertip on a string when creating vibrato.

            Unfortunately that logic doesn’t necessarily carry over to all other instruments or for that matter to voices but it does apply to all strings.

          • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:


            Ombra Mai Fu is sung in several different keys now. The main part of it, starting with the long high note, is in the KEY of G. I misspoke when I said it STARTED with a G, it’s actually a D5 as sung by Jackie & a D4 as sung by Caruso. I apologise.

            “Händel wrote it in the key of Eb for Baritone.”

            HUH?? Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought it was written for a castrato, not a baritone.

            Obviously, Caruso would have sounded MUCH better in person or on modern recording equipment, but even on his operatic recordings, he used a much more subtle vibrato than what seems popular today. On his neapolitan (& other) songs, he used even less.

          • It makes more sense for King Xerxes to be a sounding masculine character. but the Baroque period did have its idiosyncrisies. In its early to mid 20th century revivals, the title role was sung by a baritone. It does appear in the key of Eb in my mezzo-soprano album and I used the same score for baritones to sing an octave lower.
            First of all we should be talking about the same system for pitch. OK, if middle C is C4, then yes, sopranos would sing it generally beginning with D5.
            I really don’t know where you get Caruso or others “using” more vibrato these days. To interfere in indirect processes is not a good idea in singing. Some voices do sound naturally more vibrating as it were, according to the physical setup that does include the the non-static role of the diaphragmatic muscles. The idea is to produce a free voice that is well supported from the bottom up.

          • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:


            Actually, I agree with you about a voice for King Xerxes, I always thought it was really odd that a castrato would portray him. A baritone really would make a lot more sense. Baroque peculiarities indeed…

            When I was commenting on Caruso’s vibrato I just meant it was narrower, with less pitch variation, than what I usually hear among opera singers today (though my impression could be wrong). It was *very* different from, say, what you hear from an older Carreras. With recordings of Caruso’ operatic pieces, his vibrato is more prominent (slightly wider) than with his Neapolitan songs, but still appropriately subtle.

            I also agree with you that it’s better if you’re not consciously aware of the vibrato, perhaps just subconsciously. Personally, I find a wide vibrato distracting, but too fast is also unpleasant. It’s not always easy to get it just right, but (JMHO!) Caruso did.

          • richardcarlisle says:


            Thanks for adding to a comprehensive understanding of vibrato about which I had so little clue for so long… in summary, it is not overt and noticeable — you can listen for and find it if done properly but it does not stand out as a prominent feature.

            If you get a chance to hear Kitty Wells you’ll find a majorly offensive use of it… she’s undoubtedly on youtube.

  19. richardcarlisle says:


    The rug has long-since been pulled from under EVERY bit of negatizing you’ve wasted thousands of words and hours of time expressing in regard to Jackie’s performances… as Laptop just pointed out quite clearly you have no right to hold her to opera standards since she stated absolutely she IS NOT AN OPERA PERFORMER OR INTERESTED IN BECOMING ONE… so take your efforts to critiquing Anna Netrebko, Natalie Dessay and many others that would probably listen to some of what you might have to say.

    Do I hear rap performers criticize her for not keeping a high-energy cadence like they produce? Do I hear folk singers criticize her for not writing more of her material? and do I need to offer more examples to make the point?

    The slight praise you have provided hardly makes up for the insulting myriad of negative comments you have hurtfully applied over many months– changing registers, blah blah blah … her style of performance is what it is and there is a market obviously and her only appropriate criticism will be declining popularity when that time should come.

    Enough babbling, CJ… you have been, still are off base criticizing anyone for not being what they state they are not from the outset… if opera performers want to join up with her it’s not because she IS an opera singer but rather that her popularity will draw more attention their way.

    • Richie, of course you are right. This concert was not only great but a milestone in the history of music. It should be repeated at the Met, Covent Garden and the Bolshoi but the snobs who go there wouldn’t understand nor appreciate.

    • Ah yes! Finally, Mr. Carreras has found someone to help him become popular and “draw more attention” his way! Egads.

      • You were right in the last thread, not to bother arguing with Evancholists. I will try to restrain myself in the future.

        • Ah well. It is an interesting conversation and topic and I do share many of your concerns. Nonetheless, it does tend to go off the rails, doesn’t it?

        • richardcarlisle says:

          I’ve heard that one before… what kind of world would it be without such arguments?

          Oh well, deprive us if you will, CJ.

      • richardcarlisle says:

        “Egads”– indicating a strong implication the same crowd would have shown up without Jackie?

        Would a “hmmm” be offensive in response to egads?

        • Yes, precisely. Perhaps the sarcasm throughout my comment was not clear?

          • I should have said, “Yes, precisely, that is what I meant with regard to the crowd.”

          • richardcarlisle says:

            Jose Carreras is becoming frail with age and all but retired with no visible upcoming schedule I could find… are you in some way confident in denying Jackie is directly to be credited for an opportunity to make a successful public appearance and gain possibly multiple thousands of dollars all of which would not, could not have happened except for her drawing power?

            This in no way demeans him, which is what you feel I’m implying — his career has been exemplary — to be remembered by any and all opera enthusiasts including me (not saying I would sit through five hours of Wagner)… but that doesn’t change the fact this particular event was a windfall not possible in any way but for Jackie’s current status in show biz.

          • Mr. Carreras’ voice may be failing. Nevertheless, he keeps a busy schedule and is beloved, particularly in Europe and Asia. That you do not know his schedule is no evidence of a lack of one. He sings in theatres from 1000 seats for intimate recitals to arenas throughout the world. He invites young singers because he is one who believes in the need for those established to promote the next generation. Ms. Evancho should be immensely grateful for the opportunity she was given and her fans should speak with greater humility, knowledge and respect.

          • richardcarlisle says:

            Your spirited love of the essence, all things connected, all people associated — in the field of opera — such a love can be rivaled only by the passion shown when CJ presents an opinion– a standard of adoration heretofore absolutely unknown regarding either topic… anything said is something misconstrued as an insult destined for counter attack. provocation… this is free discussion inhibited only by handcuffs, ball and chain, chastity belt and mouth gag in a figurative sense at least… why not ease up and seek truth rather than win arguments … attend to learning as intensely as teaching… know-it-alls are known for not knowing all that much and not knowing how to know anything more… you know?

          • Yes Addison says:

            Wagner and Carreras had little to do with one another. He never sang a Wagner role on stage, to the best of my knowledge, nor made a recording of any of the operas. Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini, Giordano, Bizet, Massenet were more his turf.

            He did start out with as beautiful a voice as a man has had in the last 50 years, and we had him in his full glory for several years in the 1970s, but he was already into serious vocal trouble when still young (several years before the leukemia battle that is sometimes blamed). Yes, he will be remembered for his great natural gifts, exciting performances, inspirational quality and decency, but also as something of an operatic cautionary tale. Much of what he chose to sing and the method with which he sang are controversial, and it’s reasonable to say he squandered capital prematurely.

            He remains a worldwide icon, one of the most famous living names associated with the opera world, and such people draw enthusiastic crowds even when no longer singing at their best. I’m sure he has no trouble filling theaters. Jackie Evancho’s participation brought her own fans in, but there would be a crowd for a Carreras appearance anywhere.

          • richardcarlisle says:

            I said — in no way demeaning to him — that the crowd would not have numbered 30 K without Jackie … to dispute that is to call black white, to assess who did a favor for whom is a matter that gets into the sensitive subjective arena.

          • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:


            “Ms. Evancho should be immensely grateful for the opportunity she was given and her fans should speak with greater humility, knowledge and respect.”

            I agree 100%. It should be noted that even though we fans don’t always live up to those ideals, Jackie herself was extremely gracious toward Mr Carreras, thanking him repeatedly in public, & saying how honored she felt to be asked to sing with him. He in turn was gracious toward her.

            Mr Carreras is aging, & his voice isn’t what it once was. However, it was truly remarkable when he was younger, & he’s done so much over his career that he deserves to go out the way he wants. He clearly still loves to sing & expresses great emotion, He also seems to be a true mensch, having survived leukemia & now doing charity work for that cause. In addition, he displays the above mentioned grace toward others, including young singers like Jackie.

            Mr Carreras certainly deserves respect from Jackie fans & everyone else.

  20. KinginBlack says:


    A little off topic but it has been bugging me. Why Cabbagejuice? Do you just really like leafy greens, and their juices?

  21. richardcarlisle says:


    You know I admire your intelligence and enjoy learning often from your contributions but your credibility rather crash landed when you said “darn good” concerning that BOTW from Charlotte Church and I have to add your rave review for Jackie’s BOTW was another controversial item… this was her only performance completely lacking in joy and stressful in her high range and coarse when she came down to her mid range.

    Full of surprises you are for sure.

    • And your assessment of perfect pitch didn’t even get off the ground. If you can’t hear flattening in this concert, well, you should have your ears auto-tuned.

      • richardcarlisle says:

        Never said perfect pitch, Laptop did… the last note of “Time to Say Goodbye” was off pitch as I stated earlier; let’s pay attention and quote accurately.

        And repeat the Taiwan concert at the Met…. wow– you actually did manage to miss my point; hard to say whether it’s worth another try.

        • Quote by richardcarlisle: “Jackie’s pitch is 99.9 rather than absolute… even though her last note in “Time to Say Goodbye” in Taiwan is off pitch.”
          How do you calculate that – number of notes divided by flattened ones? (And there were quite a few!)
          There is really no way to assess such a thing except perhaps in laboratory controlled conditions.
          This not only has to do with pitch recognition in the manner of piano tuners but the range in which a note might still be considered acceptable and conversely, being widely off the mark.
          It must be that crossover criteria are different from classical.
          Flat is not flat, diction is unimportant, and how one breathes between syllables is irrelevant.
          There WERE operatic arias in the above concert and even an opera singer!

          • richardcarlisle says:


            How about a break—- 99.9 is a FIGURE OF SPEECH….duh?????

            Also, don’t go missing the point — again — Jackie can borrow and restyle any aria she so chooses and not sing it with opera-perfection specs and still state with validity she is NOT an opera singer and thus not to be in fairness subject to the manner of negative criticism you lavish so generously… opera arias are frequently re-styled including instrumentally… hardly fair to say Jackie is not to be granted permission to do so.

            Her version of ND as a guest of Britain’s Got Talent is a musical moment of exotic love of material restyled including non-audible jaw waggle (I can forgive that trivia, you should also if you have any interest in enjoying some of the finer things in life)… if you blind yourself to that kind of musical moment you can only be fooling yourself to adhere to technical perfection over the pure magical effect of that performance — so beyond any part of her BOTW that you seem to enjoy.

            Open your ears, CJ — not to mention your heart.

          • richardcarlisle says:


            There was also a cleanup crew quite likely (in addition to an opera singer)… are you enlisting her for that description as well BECAUSE THEY WERE THERE?

            Suppose there was an acrobat act as part of the performance… would that individual be labeled an opera singer also because an opera singer was present?

            Jackie is a unique concert soprano — says she’s not an opera singer and I believe her, you should also.

          • richardcarlisle says:


            It is also worth mentioning that partial quoting to make a discussion colleague look as inane as possible is hardly a policy worth pursuing when it comes to avoidance of chaotic confusion.. to finish the quote so that it makes sense let me refer you to Apr 24– the comment is addressed to Laptop —

            Jackie’s pitch is 99.9 rather than absolute… even though her last note in “Time to Say Goodbye” in Taiwan is off pitch and attributable to exhaustion, her last note of “Pie Jesu” performed on AGT where she comes down an octave (distance makes for a tough target) misses noticeably… the next performance of the same piece was perfect– done a short time later guesting on a TV show… other pitch errors were so minute I didn’t make note of their appearance.

            I’ll remind you 99.9 is a figure of speech meaning not quite perfect.

        • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:


          Just to clarify, I don’t use the term “perfect pitch” any more, since I find it confusing. I said Jackie has absolute pitch, meaning ONLY that she doesn’t need an external reference to sing a given tone.

          Jackie’s pitch control is very good but not perfect, especially since she’s been going thru adolescence. It seems her pitch control may suffer a bit if she’s fatigued.

          • richardcarlisle says:


            Thanks kindly for that clarification…CJ wanted a quantification spreadsheet rather than accept 99.9 as a figure of speech… shame to waste time on misunderstandings.

          • Um, folks, a small point, but just because someone does have perfect pitch – doesn’t mean they will sing or play in tune!! The former is a sense of it, and a sensitivity to it, which doesn’t mean the latter will always occur. Just because you are a trained and qualified Advanced Motorist doesn’t mean you won’t sometimes nudge over the speed limit or do something daft.

          • richardcarlisle says:

            A valid point, Anon… any elaboration is appreciated in two recent topics: pitch and vibrato… thanks.

  22. richardcarlisle says:

    To Joanna —

    Before this thread ends I want to offer a humble and heartfelt thank you for contributing elegantly and factually so often… and the same goes for Laptop especially after that Caruso video.

  23. richardcarlisle says:

    An excellent new HD video of the One Drop suspended performance…

  24. Robert Janke says:

    I showed several of CJ’s posts to a colleague at my university in the English department and she thought it was written by a female. Interesting. I often wonder why cowards choose to use a Pseudonym
    rather than their name. If what you say is worth anything then you should stand behind it, not behind a pseudonym. Is there anybody out there who is a psychologist who could explain [redacted: abuse].

  25. Robert Janke says:

    If some of my comments were abusive then compared to CJ’s comments perhaps much of his postings should be redacted. I don’t think it can be considered abusive to suggest to other bloggers that they should ignore CJ’s comments because he seems to feed on getting people upset. I also wonder how something can be abusive to someone when you don’t have a name to abuse?

    • richardcarlisle says:

      CJ is female and did give her name once on a previous thread.,.. I like to think of her as the Mount Everest of Moxie with glints of humor on some of the steeper slopes … lovable in her way, that she is and if she screens the public for anger management candidates so be it.

  26. richardcarlisle says:


    In your Apr 27 comment to Laptop you inspired another lovingly lobbed linguistic spear in the form of a question concerning logic..:WHY IF BAD HABITS CAN BE TRAINED OUT OF CHILDREN DIDN’T ESTABLISHED SINGERS WITH BAD HABITS GET THOSE FAULTS FIXED WHEN THEY WERE KIDS… as one of your credibility crutches I presume you’ll appreciate this tidbit of support as I wait in a state of anticipation for your whopper of a rational explanation that will undoubtedly convince someone somewhere that you’re right-on-right-again as you always believe yourself to be.

    • @richardcarlisle I was just luxuriating in the sunshine of your loving comment when this one came along. First of all, I don’t really see the problem in the examples ctied by laptop and of course would not even begin to speculate where and when some singers (he managed to collect) developed an asymmetrical jaw. (And please save all those anatomy videos. They are really beside the point and remind me of digestion.)
      If a kid doesn’t have an asymmetrical jaw all or most of the time, then there must be muscular tension causing it, not structure. So it’s more than probable this bad habit can be weeded out but NOT if it being constantly reinforced by repetition. That’s where you guys fall short. You think that technique is not important. The voice in discussion here is supposed to be an transcendent phenomenon that no known rules need apply. My interest in the subject is to determine if this is the exception that proves the rule – precisely what is being evolved here.

      • richardcarlisle says:

        Nice spear dodge CJ (applause — I THINK I heard some).

        Let’s have something entitling you to continue basking…

        • richardcarlisle says:

          Note the lack of quote marks– I just like basking over luxuriating, no need to accuse of a misquote.

          • richardcarlisle says:


            The beauty to behold where you’re concerned is your ability AND willingness to discuss (refute?) any topic anytime and if I say tar is black you will certainly do the research to discover somewhere sometime someone discovered a convincing amount of brown tar.

          • @richardcarlisle Looks like you read my mind. I was thinking “basking” but wrote “luxuriating” instead. No need to junp and write 3 separate posts…
            About “black tar”, ever eat any? We just got a jar of black and white sesame paste that has the consistency of tar and looks like it too but tastes really good!!!

      • richardcarlisle says:

        WHITE tar– even more divergent than brown… GOOD ONE, CJ !

        • Tahini is tan colored (not exactly white) sesame paste in this case mixed as a Middle Eastern specialty with nigella sativa, or black sesame – maybe not to everyone’s taste. But such issues, namely taste, are not disputable, yes?

          • richardcarlisle says:


            Me dispute— never … TILL YOU START… send me some sesame paste, I’ll let you know…

            Also, when will you add tenacity to your coaching skills?

          • richardcarlisle says:

            And how about paranoia immunity 101… if ever there was — still is — a dignitary in that field…!!!!!!!

            If an Oscar is some day awarded in that category it’s yours hands-down.

          • You can’t teach tenacity. Either you have it or you don’t.
            Come to think of it, so much of musical talent is there or it isn’t.

          • richardcarlisle says:

            Of course– guess we’ll just have to continue admiring you for yours as you continue your monopoly.

          • @richardcarlisle Nothing to admire really, tenacity, that is. I don’t know if it comes from having to withstand and confront varied difficulties in life (an understatement) or the fact that one survives them precisely because one was born with a stubborn character.
            There is in our circle a remarkable elderly woman who conducted a local choir for decades. She as the elder was the stronger of two sisters, the younger who deferred to her throughout their spinster life that they shared together.
            The elder started going downhill with MS, at least 10 years ago but still unable to use 3 of her limbs is as feisty as ever. The younger one who stayed with her a few days a week simply gave up and succumbed to a heart attack.
            I see in the two spinsters a similarity between myself and my younger sister who also gave up after some trauma 6 years ago. I hate to wind up like S, though. But I am sure that I would not give in either. That thought bothers me.

          • richardcarlisle says:


            To worry in the future about anything unchangeable is so wasteful when you have much in your present to encounter in the active way you always choose to proceed … we can do much more when concentrating our energies on now than on any other time past or future UNLESS it’s a future we can change– listen up, alcoholics and company.

  27. richardcarlisle says:


    I would like to attend a Carreras concert and need some hint as to time and place.

    To say he sings with greater proficiency than I do and to say his career has been examplary (I already said that earlier) gives you questionable grounds to say I don’t look up to him as a performer and don’t respect him… why not outline the process for proper Carreras worship so you won’t be offended by whatever degree of insufficiency I’m being accused of..

    • richardcarlisle says:

      My spelling is not all that exemplary.

    • richardcarlisle says:

      OK, found his schedule– unfortunately only Europe and Asia… not material for any form of dispute I hope.

      • @richardcarlisle I was also thinking of Jose Carreras and wonder what I would have done in his place. His latter career is somewhat similar to Maria Callas who concertized after the sheen of her voice had simply worn off. Callas did not go into crossover however. Maybe those were different times. Most probably she would have seemed ridiculous trying to sing musicals or jazz.
        The contrast between the voice as it was and the way it is now is too great for a person as myself to go and hear him. Crossover though is fabulously profitable. Singing with Brightman or with any of those icons of popera, this is not what he would have done in the 70′s. Maybe it started with the lure of the Three Tenors and West Side Story with Bernstein. I would still buy the original track, not the one with him and TeKanawa.
        He does make quite a lot of money for charity, so he is contributing to society probably in a big way. I just have a hard time listening to a voice that is more or less in shreds with his trying to mend the different timbres together.

  28. richardcarlisle says:

    I’M SORRY– Sunday mornings tend to give me thought diarrhea and I have to dispense just one more… that being the contributors to this thread are so extremely blessed with an opportunity to contact culture in multiple ways: contributing, learning, picking arguments apart and returning them to senders and exactly where else does this kind of opportunity get presented… and why ever does anybody become angry over any part of it rather than become thankful.

  29. richardcarlisle says:


    Have I been kind enough to deserve a response to a vibrato question…. let me try– I’m still confused after that discussion some threads ago: now, it seems to me if a stringed instrument produces vibrato it can only be through change of pitch since wobbling the finger on the string cannot vary volume… so is pitch change always the source of vibrato for all instruments as well as voices or are there exceptions?

    Waiting with open-non-argumentive mind, thanks.

  30. Maybe you didn’t see my post of yesterday but I cited this resource for learning about vibrato in the singing voice:
    Leopold Mozart compared the use of vibrato in string playing as having been inspired by the human voice, giving a kind of warmth to the tone but it should be inconspicuous.
    The rule of thumb is when one actually hears a vibrato, it is already an unhealthy sign. It could be too slow or too fast depending on the cause.

    • richardcarlisle says:


      Thanks for the reference…. is there a general answer — do you know if it’s a pitch change only and always — not a volume change for voice and instruments?

      You must read today’s tribute from the cello student — what words alone can transmit direct to our hearts.

      • richardcarlisle says:

        Seems vibrato is pitch change only… but why not hear it— you mean it should be subtle and appealing obviously…. various opera singers I’ve heard use it quite noticeably– it starts after the note has been held for about half a second without it then it increases smoothly and becomes audible to the extent the note is enhanced and takes on a kind of variable coloring.

        An old-time country singer Kitty Wells used it to the extreme non-stop on every note — just spectacular overuse and the only country performer to do so.

        Thanks again for the reference– very readable, not too technical.

        • I just stumbled upon a remarkable recording of Victoria De Los Angeles and Jussi Björling from1959, shortly before he passed away, in the love duet from Madame Butterfly:

          Both voices are especially matched for one another. Compared to Villazon or even Di Stefano, the tenor is virtually vibratoless and the same for her. That doesn’t mean the tones are not oscillating but they are under the radar.
          I was thinking about the even pressure of the bow on a violin while the player is vibrating the tone. By way of acoustics, I think there is some variation in volume as the pitch goes up or down, however slight, the same for singers. But an expert opinion should be brought in for this.

          • richardcarlisle says:

            Thanks CJ– a worthy way to start the day is the Butterfly love duet… if there’s one piece anyone vaguely interested in opera should invest familiarization effort: an intercultural tragic romance that might have provided more motivation for the Pearl Harbor attack than any other issue.

            Happening here his pleading effort to gain her confidence, cause her to defy family pressure against their love/marriage…. “Vieni, vieni” (come to me) and starting at 12:00 up to 12:40 she goes higher with each line expressing concern, building anticipation… and THEN joins him in a victorious emotional “capture” followed by his lifting and carrying her to their nuptial bedroom…. WOW to put it mildly.

            Complete with rich melodic themes and all that meaning it could well be opera’s greatest moment notwithstanding snobs declaring Puccini is for beginners… as for vibrato — hardly escaping my radar — with its slow tempo and subtle oscillation — a wondrous compliment to such a glorious moment.

            Bjorling’s Nessun Dorma has received great acclaim, well worth checking out… again, thanks for the treasure, this object of wonder.

          • Hi again. It seems you know more than you are letting on, namely the duet from the Butterfly and the ACTUAL WORDS!
            I was thinking that the first impression of singing is the sound and not the words. I remember being transfixed by Galli-Curci, Lucrezia Bori and other singers from 20′s and 30′s on 78′s. Later when I was more developed in listening, I discovered the texts.
            The relation between word and music has gone back and forth like ping-pong in musical history. In German Lied, the poetry is indispensible and woe betide if all those consonants are not done and dusted. But really, most people don’t know Italian opera and a lot of the texts have been tailormade to the music. So I can understand how and why people may be moved by expression and timbre although it really isn’t the be all and end all of singing.

          • richardcarlisle says:

            Allow me to peel off a layer in this story– go back in time and place — to a pre-performance lecture at Lincoln Center in the eighties…. a slightly rounded brunette in her forties, reflective glints from her eyeglasses metaphorically punctuating vital info with her so vivaciously in love with her subject detailing what I described in my comment… no, I’m not fluent in Italian but a beneficiary of the blessing of good teaching that the lecturer bestowed on a group of about forty people being properly prepared for a performance of Madame Butterfly.

            A pebble tossed into still water generates ripples never ending in time or distance… teaching is that pebble.

          • richardcarlisle says:

            I should add: … , an open mind that water.

          • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:


            Yes, thank you very much for that beautiful De Los Angeles & Björling duet from Madama Butterfly. The vibrato is indeed more subtle than some, especially by Björling.

            Vibrato is defined as variation in pitch, while tremolo for instrumental musicians is a rapid variation in volume, or repeated notes, without change in pitch. As we have discussed, its meaning is different for singers.

            As to Björling’s Nessun Dorma, as mentioned by richard, I’ve always loved the “slow” version from 1944.

          • Wow, what an extraordinary performance, also given that he came from a remote town in Sweden but sounds as Italian as Chianti! I love his lyrical top, strong and secure. without all the baggage of the lower range that so many tenors carry to it.
            I don’t normally pay attention to vibrato while listening to singing and in fact, shifting one’s attention to it distracts from the total performance, but one can hear here that a lower voice does have a slower one as is the case with violins and cellos. Tremolo in voice usually means a too fast oscillation, occuring more with women than men whose faults lie in the other direction, wobble, which is too slow.
            Tremolo in piano is a fluctuation of two notes, usually octaves. Strings can quickly repeat the same note by the use of the bow.
            Many tenors take the high note of Faust’s “Salut demeure chaste et pure” in falsetto that I love too but Björling does it fully supported but not bleated out as again many tenors are wont to do.
            Arias like these are the jewels of Western CIv that I hope will remain as part of its legacy, if barbarism will not prevail, not only for the music but for the content, a tribute to womanly purity and modesty.

      • There is probably a volume change as well, though slight, but I don’t know the mechanics of it.

      • About the tribute to Starker, this is really worth quoting from him:
        On Teaching:
        “After the standing ovation, eventually people sit down. But teaching moves through generations. If you believe in the principles that represent the truth in the masterpieces, then you try to preserve those principles. They can be preserved only through teaching.
        A recurring comeback and criticism, is “Oh, where are your CD’s and famous students?”
        Most musicians are not lapping up fame and glory but quietly plodding along.
        Thanks, Janos!

  31. HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

    BTW, this is a clip of Charlotte Church recorded in Oct 2012. At ~5:40, with no warm-up (other than speaking), she sings a brief fragment of the Flower Duet (not sure if it’s the soprano or the mezzo-soprano part). It’s on a talk show, so the acoustics & equipment obviously aren’t designed for this.

    Under those conditions, her voice sounds pretty good. It certainly doesn’t appear to be obviously damaged by her early career or technical flaws.

    • Indeed, there is still a voice in there waiting to come out showing a nice quality, not damaged goods. She did make her choices for more popular music though. I would bet there was plenty of warmup as she knew the words and sang it in the right soprano key.

      • er… and the ton of reverb added to it suggests the sound engineer knew exactly what was coming…

  32. richardcarlisle says:

    Sad to think this could happen to Jackie– bleached hair and a bulky sweater to hide the fact she’s become bulky… perhaps someone could politely suggest some management?

    • richardcarlisle says:


      Thanks for that Bjorling ND– beautiful emotion dedication-driven rather than by ego except the second Vinchero with the middle syllable held for EIGHT SECONDS (Pavarotti four, Jackie six plus her extra vinchero with another six)… amazing example of what’s possible in the human domain formed with the human spirit.

      • Holding or keeping a floated tone is NOT the same as a fully supported one. The first is much easier. If you want ego-inclined tenors, you can check out Mario Lanza.

        • richardcarlisle says:


          OK, EGO; and don’t leave out narcissism all with an interesting resonant tone rather weak in the low register…. what about Luciano– humility level a strong point or ego of a different sort altogether?

          Eight seconds is forever in any type of note — try it yourself… of course the higher the note the less air expended.

          • Oh dear radar, you simply haven’t been around voice students. If a kid can hold his or her breath under water for a half minute or more, a floated tone can be kept for at least as long. I understand how much you would like to be a loyal fan, a true believer, but pulezze, to compare a kid to Pavarotti and Bjorling, that’s ridiculous!!!

          • richardcarlisle says:

            Hold off with your animated criticism… I’m not the one whe put any value judgment on note holding; for all I know there’s some kind of taboo against holding a note for six seconds… just reporting factual numbers and make of it what you or anyone else might… Pav seemed tired after four seconds, just wondering– sure you can explain.

            And voice coach or not what makes you think holding breath under water equates to holding a note anyway…
            YOU DO KNOW HOLDING A NOTE EXPELLS AIR AND EMPTIES THE LUNGS… time to backtradk on thIs one my dear as your credibility crutch swings into action (Clark Kent in a phone booth preparing for another heroic role).

            Mud wrestling aside for now… as for Charlotte Church who had every advantage except talent — she even had good luck at least when she started out– her first album was pretty good, impressed me but then there was np competition I was aware of so I was an easy mark at least until her first Christmas album a few months later, which all but ruined the entire season– either bad choice of key(s) or no pitch control whatsoever….been all downhill after that, hard to say if she blew it or was an overachiever and shouldn’t have done as well as she did.

            What she DID do was establish a path for young artists– even younger than 13– like Connie Talbot proving records can be sold in good numbers by a five year old… she all but vanished after making quite a splash but give her credit for the success while it lasted and who knows if she’ll re-emerge some day.

            And then along came powerhouse Jackie whom we’ve discussed beyond adequately.

          • According to richardcarlisle “the higher the note, the less air expended.” Oh, in that case Maria Callas’ long high Eb in Mexico was a cinch! As for “try it yourself”, I did sing the solo of Weber’s “Peasant Cantata” that calls for a long high C. I told myself inwardly to “play it cool” and it turned out fine. There is also the Lux Arumque by Whitacre that calls for a much longer note than in Nessun Dorma or the Weber piece. However, according to you and the upsidedown physics used to defend or support anything your fan does, this is nothing. Or at least Jackie can be placed on the same level as Pavarotti and Bjorling.
            Well, she is NOT. And surely not in their own repertoire.
            To sum up, her appeal comes from three factors, one is the fetching smoky timbre of her voice, that to my mind has been at least partially manufactured. The second is the emoting she puts into the songs, which to me is also somewhat contrived. And the third is the cute factor as with any prodigy will not last forever.
            Refined singing or interpreting a song or aria is not done via the above raw qualities alone, although it can start from there and provide an emotional basis. The text and relating to just that, coloring the words, making them come alive is the art. Giving an overall impression by emoting is simply not enough in opera. She does better in her own repertoire but most of the time it is difficult to fathom the text in English. As for the operatic arias, like Nessun Dorma, Ombra Mai Fu, O Mio babbino, even the garbled Italian in Time to Say Goodbye, are really below standard and by now at her age, they shouldn’t be.

        • According to richardcarlisle “the higher the note, the less air expended.” Oh, in that case Maria Callas’ long high Eb in Mexico was a cinch! As for “try it yourself”, I did sing the solo of Weber’s “Peasant Cantata” that calls for a long high C. I told myself inwardly to “play it cool” and it turned out fine. There is also the Lux Arumque by Whitacre that calls for a much longer note than in Nessun Dorma or the Weber. However, according to you and the upsidedown physics used to support anything your fan does, this is nothing. Or at least Jackie is on the same level as Pavarotti and Bjorling.
          Well, she is NOT. And surely not in their own repertoire.
          To sum up, her main appeal comes from three factors, one is the fetching smoky quality, that to my mind is at least partially manufactured. (The above “Phantom of the Opera” at 10 shows an already trembling jaw that could only come from air pressure put upon it. to make such a sound, with reference to the other kid singers cited here who also are splendid imitators of an adult sound.)
          The second is the emoting she puts into the songs, which to me is also somewhat contrived. And the third is the time-bound cute aspect.
          Refined singing is not just conjuring up emotion and moving an audience. It is also conveying the message of the text, making it come alive by coloring the words. Admittedly, she does have musical talent and a flair for phrasing but most of the time it is difficult to fathom the text in English.
          When it comes to operatic arias and even the garbled Italian in Time to Say Goodbye, it is below standard for her age and status as an international performer.

          • PS there was a computer glitch so I thought I had to rewrite the post by memory. Upon opening the computer again I didn’t see my post so resent it. The first can be cancelled. CJ

          • richardcarlisle says:


            Interesting points well repeated from previous discussions… I ONLY mentioned note-holding not as a comparative judgment issue but as something abstractly interesting that for me provides a kind of integrity/dedication index in the way a performer relates to music in a performance.

            And if you try holding a note for thirty seconds under water may I suggest you first determine if a lifeguard is on duty… such an intriguing explanation for your rescue requirement.– annals of lifeguard documentations welcome interesting events for the record.

          • richardcarlisle says:


            An honor to have such an elaborate description direct from the source… when you mentioned a relaxed high range it reminded me of a performance of Angela Gheorghiu that really seemed unusually comfortable at the top, much more impressive than a soprano looking “overworked” striving for her high range.

            It so intrigues me to hear vibrato being “fed in” as a note Is held– as if the performer has total control over the timing and quantity of vibrato and I still don’t know if that’s the case or whether the increment in vibrato during a note occurs without any intention of the singer.

            Thanks kindly for your effort in illuminating a rather complex art.

          • richardcarlisle says:


            If you will allow me to interrupt your misquote– I did not say high notes are easy to hit but rather that they use up less air per unit of time and are therefore easier to hold once reached… just try holding your lowest and your highest to see how fast the lungs empty respectively.

          • richardcarlisle says:


            Your sum-up really is clear, well-stated…. such good form you’re in today– BRAVA! (and remember about the lifeguard)

          • @richardcarlisle You accuse me of of a certain kind of pedantry and you come up with lifeguards. What I was really getting at was the muscles needed for holding a breath are also implicated in exhalation. (Now run to Grey’s Anatomy to prove me wrong.) Choral exercises use holding breath and then expeilling it. (i don’t use choral exercises, no need to go into that now.)
            Floating a tone however, is one of the most pleasurable activities, like zen, when the air feels like a standing wave, not going out or coming in.
            The minimal use of air was practiced by the Schola Cantorum. A candle was put in front of a chorister. If the flame went out, too much air was being used.

          • richardcarlisle says:

            Lifeguards are at least subliminal proof we would not be happy about losing you.

          • richardcarlisle says:

            Be sure to check the Peggy Seeger post for an offbeat treat!

          • richardcarlisle says:


            Note floating sounds nothing less than exotica — a tuneful meditation — should try to learn it, glad you introduced it.

            Authority that you doubtless are in voice technology you I hope will eventually understand that Jackie’s success is less dependent on her flawed singing technique than her gracious stage manner, her life style displayed in countless interviews full of joy and good intentions in all her off stage activities.

            She sets an example for everyone to follow, a leader not in song necessarily but in life in general… and her audience loves her as a role model for children and grandchildren — not to learn to sing but to live beautifully.

            That’s the bulk of her appeal, the rationale for her success… her singing gets her in front of the public, her magic does the rest.

          • @richardcarlisle Millions of kids are cute and beautiful but they didn’t rack up $2.5 million by being that way. I would not say to my children, now follow the role model of some public figure, be like so-and-so, even if she happens to be their age. You forget that so much of the product is skillfully coached and prompted although in this case as may have been with Shirley Temple as well, she is truly guileless and kind. The difference here is that kids are not lining up to imitate Jackie. Instead her fan base (and her ardent protectors) have a large percentage of elderly men. They are the ones who swoop down when there is the least bit of criticism about her. They are the ones chasing every new concert and pictures of her in this dress or the other.
            If I were a parent, this would freak me out. From what you said above and others like you, I am not off the mark when I say it looks to me a personality cult.

    • I don’t know enough about the career of CC, but it looks like she also had to navigate the smoothly flowing streams of adolescent adulation into the harsher seachange, the turbulence and uncertainty of competing with one’s peers outside the realm of protected wunderkind. Most, if not all prodigies starting from Mozart, describe it as a real crisis and a few don’t survive it.
      After listening to this clip, I really do feel sorry for her. She seems to have had real talent and no bad habits that I could discern. Going from the fantasyland of being a public idol to terra firma is stepping out of the looking glass. Those behind the scenes have been slowly but surely building up their knowledge and technique, not prematurely exploiting those talents for a short term gain.. At her age, like the hare who ran ahead of the tortoise, she is actually behind her peers and probably couldn’t catch up even if she wanted to..

      • richardcarlisle says:

        First paragraph wondrously stated, CJ… really well said, who could have said it better– not me.

        Couldn’t agree less about the real talent however.

        • richardcarlisle says:

          Check out Peggy Seeger — some lesson in pitch control AND unique tone.

  33. richardcarlisle says:

    Typos– whe should be who, backtradk should be backtrack, np should be no

  34. If you have a high Eb (I have) then provided the support mechanism is there, and the vocal tract is in the right shape, it can be floated off with ease. To sing it any other way is problematic. The same is true with high Fs,

    Warm the voice up, know where they are in your voice, keep the vocal tract long, the soft palate high , support to voice, and just sing them without tension.

    High notes are best sung relaxed. That way a singer can land on them ppp and crescendo to con tutta forza and end up ppp again.

    This is not something I advocate in young singers and is “strictly for the grown ups” for physiological reasons. Each and every singer has their own vocal ceiling, some are higher than others, mine is very high, but if I did not relax my way onto the high notes keeping the muscles in my shoulders and back of my neck relaxed, they would not sound.

    As for eight seconds is for ever on any type of note – that depends on just how much training you have and how secure your technique is. Here I agree with CJ “playing it cool” secure in the knowledge you have good technique is exactly the way to approach that high C.

    As far as vocal vibrato is concerned, a lot has to do with the size of voice. Young voices really shouldn’t have any. Soubrette Sopranos will have a little and it will increase as the vocal fach gains weight. Trying to squash what is intrinsic is not good, but adding it by wobbling the jaw is not good either. If any is to be added then it is to be added at the breathing level in the same way that a wind player would.

    The deep postural muscles in the abdomen (the diaphram is passive during expiration) so it is the transverse and oblique abdominal muscles that aid the intercostal muscles here, and on which the singer needs to focus their attention are large enough to add a touch of measured vibrato that is tasteful, and keeps the “wobble” to one note without giving the listener that feeling of “is this a trill or bad vibrato”. This is probably the last area of breathing and support technique one should learn. Steady supported breathing where there is no tension is the initial aim.

    Developing sufficient muscluature has cost me two dress-sizes, but it has been worth it for the control. Looking at the size of Jackie Evancho, she hasn’t got it, and neither would I expect it in a 13 year old. It wouldn’t be that good for her at that age either. She has talent, but needs to work with her body.

    • @Joanna All of the above (and below) sounds OK to me!
      PS, about musculature, in the early 90′s I was like a lot of people around here caught by the Carmen bug from the Saura movie, so enrolled in Flamenco class. One day at home I was doing the exercises with the arms that require the shoulder blades to be as close and immovable as possible. Then I thought, why not combine it with singing? It really shocked me when a sound came out much bigger than I was used to. Of course, the chest is kept high and noble anyway in flamenco and opera but this was a hitherto unexplored area. And I think over the next few months or years I did increase my blouse size but also singing volume because of that. I think I must have watched the Tabacalera scene hundreds of times over the years. I like gypsy and this kind of folk singing as it is so free and honest.
      To relate to a comment of yours below, what ticks me off about ths subject of the thread is not the girl herself but the personality cult that has grown up around it. As I mentioned before my personal interest is to find out if this is a transcendent phenomenon hitherto unheard of in musical history dropping from heaven that somehow all the great teachers have missed over the centuries, putting to shame all those snotty classical music snobs or just another exception that proves the rules.

      • I’m no Classical Music “snob”!. I hate it when I get labelled as such: – and I do, due to the way I sing.

        I listen to music from a wide variety of cultures and periods, and when it comes to singing, I’m interested in teaching it in a healthy and fun way that suits the individual concerned.

        That’s where the study of pedagogy has come from, and like you with the discovery in your flamenco class, if I “discover something” by chance doing something else, I attempt to work out why (there is normally a good reason)

        CJ you strike me as having a lively enquiring mind. I have issues with the “cults” that child stars generate. Look at what they can do. Lena Zavaroni, dead as a result of an earing disorder. Jack Wilde (Artful Dodger in Oliver) Alcoholic. The Psychological effects of youth and fame is something that the parents of children who achieve success have to guard against. Some are successful, others get it very wrong.

        Good luck in your quest!

  35. Poor, poor kid :(

    • richardcarlisle says:

      Not to mention happiest, happiest… there are those who like to go forth and make something of their lives…

  36. Yes you do use less air at the top, but to be honest, I don’t have much problem at the bottom either as I’ve learnt to support the voice properly.

    Eight seconds isn’t a problem. I think learning to play the oboe, Cor Anglais and several recorders including those with longish tubes (knick-bass) comes to mind has come it a bit handy… that and the swimming.

    Technical control helps allow a performer to express their innate musicality as they no longer have to concentrate on that side too much, it becomes automatic. I only really focus on technique when I’m teaching.

    • richardcarlisle says:


      I can believe a trained professional will hold a note without much effort for eight seconds the way Bjorling did in ND but the question persists WHY … for me the long note was impressive where Jackie’s six seconds was adequate and appropriate and Pavarotti at four seconds left me with a short-changed feeling.

      There is much expression involved with note timing and I wonder how much priority it gets with professionals, whether it deserves more.

      • Since this question has been yet unanswered, I’ll jump in. Holding a note for the sake of doing it, is cheap theatrics. When it is part of and crowns the overall expression, then yes, it gives the added punch.
        Nessun Dorma, however, is not Ave Maria. A floated tone held for even as long a 20 seconds would be meaningless in the context of that aria. Also, musically speaking where there is tension and release (that the average listener is not aware of) a note that is on the way to resolution but hasn’t gotten there yet, is the highwire act of the tenors who sing this aria. So it is silly for a young girl to sing such an aria in a floaty manner.
        Incidentally, this is the only criticism of the duet with Bjorling and De Los Angeles, their holding an unresolved high note at the end that was NOT written by Puccini. It leaves one in mid air.

        • richardcarlisle says:


          Appreciating your general dissertation on note holding may I be allowed one specific question — aside from all theory and any sort of rationale — and be as subjective as you like and here it is:


          A simple multiple-choice will do — just your gut preference (without bringing Jackie into it) …

          • richardcarlisle says:

            Having no preference is unacceptable… a slight edge at least must be provided!

          • richardcarlisle says:

            And for your latest comment– indication of a remedial need to understand the difference between personality and character… also, if I respect Abraham Lincoln’s concept of honesty do I have to wear a stovepipe hat… some really serious re-thinking applies here and your grade for today a D minus– to be kind.

            Imitation and character guidance — SO different.

          • @richardcarlisle I don’t know how ANYONE can feel shortchanged with Pavarotti. His nearly whispered “splendero” is fabulous, the first time the stanza ends. Maybe women prefer gentleness in a guy rather than how he finishes an aria.
            On the road to the top note there are difficulties more strenuous than the conundrums of the opera itself. One is having to change the syllables on a high A that both Bjorling and the Pav do splendidly. It’s a stready buildup of strength and endurance that Pavarotti divides between the B and the A so he finishes almost after the orchestra. (This is the Paria 1997 recording. I couldn’t find 1995.) Bjorling stays on the higher note. I think I do prefer Pavarotti so far.
            I don’t know what you are getting at with personality and character. The latter we really don’t know about except being in close contact with someone. There have been stars who emitted sweetness and light on the stage or in films but were completely opposite in real life.
            It seems Deanna Durbin was also a nice character. You can check out the new thread on her as she just passed away at the age of 91.
            Related to this is the Vissi d’arte from Tosca. The high Bb might be difficult but it is more treacherous to negotiate the Ab and G after that. You’ll see that on the Durbin thread.
            AND, incidentally NO ONE grades me, so you take your D minus and comb your hair with it.

          • richardcarlisle says:

            Incident 1) Someone is injured — artery severed — approaches someone for help with a tourniquet and gets help and survives and sends money to person who helped …. person who helped sends money back with a thank you note for being trusted and given a chance to provide help… that’s CHARACTER.

            Incident 2) Someone is injured — artery severed — approaches someone for help with a tourniquet and gets a slap on the back, is told a hilariously funny joke, has pocket picked and watches person run joyfully off in the distance…. that’s PERSONALITY.

            There are books covering the subject with better examples… why not try a few?

          • @richardcarlisle Your examples or incidents must have been taken from Stupedopedia.
            But I do have a real life example of a character being at complete odds to a friendly, cheerful public persona. My cousin back in the 60′s bumped into SS, a cowgirl on Philadelphia TV, on the elevator and heard her talking contemptuously about those little ba*****s that she has to cater to.
            This was a shock to her but also a reality lesson not to believe anything about what the media wants you to believe about public figures: actors, singers, their families or anything that cannot be personally verified.

      • I just want to bring this to your attention: Note holding for 20 seconds a-ha: Summer moved on
        Studio version:2:52-3:12
        Live version: 6:30-6:50

        BTW, I love Jackie, especially the concerts she did with David Foster.
        The concert in Taiwan was not that good, the orchestra played a bit too fast sometimes.
        Also there were definitely signs of hoarseness in Jackie’s voice,
        which worries me a bit. Jackie, take care of your voice!

        • richardcarlisle says:

          Her most memorably endearing (however “untrained”) performance was the age nine OMBC in Massachusetts — clearest tone, stunning.

          I find all the coaching and refinement techniques worrisome… that she will start feeling like a scientist rather than artist… time will tell, meanwhile we have many worthy treasured recordings.

          • What me has blown away is her live performance of Nella Fantasia
            I find it even better than the version of the CD “Dream with me”. Yes, in case you didn’t notice, it is another recording, but only her voice seems to be recorded again, the other instruments are the same as in the live performance, it seems it was only remixed, so there is a little less piano on the CD Version. On the other hand, on the Audio CD which comes with the DVD “Dream with me” is the same as the live performance.
            Now you can go to youtube and type in “Nella Fantasia” and compare her performance with that of other singers. I can say, for me Jackie is the only one which I really enjoy to listen performing this song, she is the only one who achieves to touch me emotionally deep inside with this performance.
            To the other interprets: This song is not a vibrato competition, it is not about to exhibit your technical skills, it’s about that you become one with the music and be a medium to transmit the emotions which are already in the music, what most are lacking is just sensitivity.
            We should be thankful to Sarah Brightman, that she realized that this theme from a movie with music from Ennio Morricone has the potential to be used as a wonderful song and that she was so persistent to get permission from Morricone to use it. We should be thankful for the artist who made this beautiful lyrics. We should be thankful for the wonderfull arrangement wich was made from the David Foster team, also the bridge at 2:26-2:41 in the video is beautiful (I think this was not a part of the original composition and I have not heared this part in performances of other artists). The crown is Jackie singing, this not only left me speechless, but even brought me to tears, that’s something what doesn’t happen often to me. The last time this happened to me was
            10 years ago with the music of another singer.
            Yes, I’m one of those that have been warned about here in the forum, a middle aged man. @CJ, let me assure you there is nothing “creepy” about this, I normally don’t have preferences, for me it doesn’t matter if it is a male or female singer, young or old. It is just Jackies singing which makes the difference.
            I also think I do understand a little bit about music, I’m one of the “amateurs” that have been warned about here. So I think I do her a little more than the average listener, for instance the little flaw at 3:33 in the video, I don’t know if many of the professionals would have noticed this (it’s not in Jackies singing, but in one of the instruments).
            And to the opera geeks (“why does there have to be audible breathing between syllables”) I say, it is fine the way it is, why should it be supressed, did Jackie say she wants to be a pure opera singer? Go here and listen to the (intentional auditible) breathing of Michael Jackson from 0:46-1:26 in the video Earth song
            The auditible breathing seems to be intentional here, because later in the video from 3:05 to 3:18 the breathing barely auditible. So let the singers breath as they like to.

          • @luta What professionals see in a voice is not necessarily what others do. To put it simply, is there exploiting a short term goal at the expense of the long term?
            To give an example, Maria Callas appeared in the studio of Elvira de Hidalgo in Athens at the age of 15. She was already prodigious, auditioning with the aria, “Ocean” by Weber. The prudent teacher she was, Hidalgo was impressed by the gorgeous waves of sound but they needed to be refined and shaped with hard work. This is what the public doesn’t know about.
            These days a young Maria would have been whisked away by the first agent, promoted and marketed worldwide as the latest sensation. After about 10 years, she did suffer burnout, a clear and present danger for singers. There are others in living memory who have been at the top but whose delicate vocal cords gave out whom I won’t mention here.
            Nella Fantasia is objectively impressive for an 11 year old girl. The test is if the voice is on a firm basis and improving. The Taiwan concert, the subject of the thread, doesn’t bear that out.
            You fans may be satisfied with what you say are unimportant details but evince a shaky technique like flattening, audible breathing between syllables (not good for any type music) and the most disturbing to my ears, what seems to be register change out of control. (I never believed in that middle to low register in the first place.)
            OK, you say the girl is ambitious and driven. Many young performers, instrumentalists and dancers just yearn to be on the stage. Hopefully they have coaches to put the brakes on ambition that can compromise or even put an abrupt end to their dreams.

          • @CJ

            >>What professionals see in a voice is not necessarily what others do. To put it simply,
            >>is there exploiting a short term goal at the expense of the long term?

            You are correct in this regard. I’m not a special opera fan, but I like classic, pop and rock music all the same, in all genres there is good music and bad music, good performances and bad ones.
            So I do not have the same standard of how a voice should sound, as a opera admirer might have.
            The thing is, that Jackie has now this wonderful voice, which I like as it is (this does not apply to the Taiwan concert but to the other performances she did, i.e. the ones of the Dream with me DVD).
            Because of this it is okay that she performs now (and puts now her music on the market) and not only after further 10 years of training.
            I know of another female singer whose voice I loved in her debut album (where she did not have that much experience), but in later albums I did not like her voice so much anymore.
            The main problem I see is that she could perform too much and burn out. So in my opinion it wasn’t a good idea to do this concert in Taiwan, she is clearly not in her normal form there.
            Maybe she didn’t sleep enough the night before the concert, was exhausted from the long travel or got a cold or something. You can hear this already in the first few seconds when she sings the Ave Maria in the video at the top:
            0:39 starts singing
            0:39 pitch okay
            0:40 pitch too low
            0:41 pitch okay
            0:43 terrible hoarseness
            0:44 pitch too low
            0:45 pitch okay
            0:45 pitch too low
            0:55 pitch too low
            0:56 raises pitch
            0:57 pitch okay
            The pitch deviations are small, but audible. Normally in the other performances I know of, her pitch was always perfect (except at one performance at the last note of one song at AGT, I don’t remember which one it was). Now, a lot of other singers have this small pitch deviations always, so I normally don’t make much fuss about it, but here at the first seconds of that Ave Maria you could already hear that Jacki is not in the form she usually is. When I listen to something like this it makes me suffer with her. So this should be alarm bells that Jackie needs some break to relax and get back to her real self.

            >>Nella Fantasia is objectively impressive for an 11 year old girl.

            IMO, thats not only impressive for a 11 yo, but for any age. But again we might not have the same standards, how a voice should sound. It is a bit like when a professional bodybuilder tells you how a beautyful body has to look like, you might (rightfully) not agree with that assessment., because it is everybodies right to like it according to his or her own subjective standard.
            For instance, I for my taste do not like so much vibrato in a voice. It should be there, but it should be subtle like here from another promissing young singer
            The older professional opera singers use often a bit too much vibrato for my taste, but for you as an opera admirer it is probably just the other way around.

            >>The test is if the voice is on a firm basis and improving.
            >>The Taiwan concert, the subject of the thread, doesn’t bear that out.

            I agree with you on this. We should forget the Taiwan concert asap and only remember this as a warning for what can happen when a 13 yo girl is pushed too much. What the body and psyche of a 13 yo girl can endure has limits.

            >>You fans may be satisfied with what you say are unimportant details …

            It is just that other details are important for me. Regarding technical skills:
            There are a lot of professional Opera and Crossover singers which are not perfectly in sync with the music, I will not give you names here, because I do not want to write negatively about other performers.
            A lot of them are often a split of a second too early or too late (there are parts of the music where this doesn’t matter so much, but other parts where it should be as perfect as possible).
            Another thing is the pitch: a lot of professional Opera and Crossover singers dont ever get it quite right during a few minutes of a song.
            Jackie has shown that she is able to do both (not in the Taiwan concert, but in a lot of her earlier performances).
            For me, her live performance of Nella Fantasia with David Foster is even better than the studio version of the Audio CD of Dream with me. With most artists it is the other way around.

            >>OK, you say the girl is ambitious and driven.

            Not only this, for me she is exceptional. And I say this from the perspective of someone who likes both classisal and contemporary music, not someone who is a solely into opera.

          • I just have to add something to my comments about the pitch deviation in my previous posting, that sounds worse than it actually is. I regret that I posted this but it’s unfortunatelly not possible to editafter posting.
            In fact pitch deviation can be a stylistic element in the music. Here is an example from the pop music genre (sorry I haven’t found a better one) Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy
            When he sings “alone” at 1:05 he starts below and raises the pitch, the same he does at 1:20, 1:27…
            So pitch deviations can be intentional, it can give the music a slightly different flavor.

          • @luta The criteria I am talking about are not opera standards but good singing in general and what would be healthy for a young adolescent. The phrase “age appropriate” is dismissed as though it doesn’t apply to a kid who has enough inner emotion as it were to project a song like many of the darker ones she sings or operatic arias like Ombra Mai Fu, Nessun Dorma, etc.
            The problem most of you fans (and I imagine her promoters) have missed is an almost predictable forcing (time to emote!) to achieve sombre colors. That is why the lists for pre-college repertoire and the selections for the lower grades of the Associated Board RSM do not tax the singer in the early stages with heavy repertoire.Even Mozart in his operas gave light arias for the up and coming ingenues. Of course those classical snobs don’t know anything. This is a phenomenon that transcends their stupid traditions and rules. .
            The approach was wrong from the beginning with Ombra Mai Fu and didn’t improve over the years up to and including the Taiwan concert. so you can’t say the latter was an exception:
            In the latter the jaw is being pushed to the left and shaking with the tone.
            In the Taiwan concert that aria was also flat. You could also make your own excuses and do a spreadsheet on that as well.
            Why after all this time and hundreds of performances, why doesn’t it turn out right, the same with O mio Babbino, etc? Oh, maybe those classical snobs had a point with not only the art of singing but the craft. Julie Andrews’ classical training stood her well for a long career in musicals.
            Today singers do both but the criteria for good singing are virtually the same: unforced breathing, vibrato-less sound, an unbroken line from bottom to top, etc. The symptoms of vocal un-health as though a doctor would be examining them are: audible vibrato, constant breathing within a line, marked changes of timbre and jaw waggle. But please don’t let me or any opera snob rain on your parade.

          • I think I have found what could be an explanation for the pitch fluctuations:
            It could be caused by the large distance between the source of sound and the recording device combined with changing wind speed and/or wind direction.
            According to my calculation with a distance of 100 meters (as it seems to be in the video at the top of the page) and a change in wind speed from zero to 4 meters per second (a light breeze) in a time of 0.5 seconds a sound wave of 400 Hz from the sound source would be recieved within this 0.5 seconds as 403 Hz at the recording device.
            This frequency difference is about an eighth of a half tone step (for most mortals not audible).
            However if the change of wind speed per time is larger (i.e. wind turns to oposite direction) this could lead to audible pitch deviations.

            An interesting scientific article about pitch deviations is also here:

            “If timbre has a sufficiently strong influence on perceived pitch and if listeners
            elect to concentrate on the unison between the singer’s voice and an instrument char-
            acterized by a timbre which is different from that of the instrument selected by the
            singer as reference, the listeners may perceive the singer’s pitch as off.”

            They say that the percieved pitch of a sound depends not only on the fundamental frequency but also on the timbre (especially “brightness”) of a sound.
            This means that 2 sounds with different “brightness” which are percieved as “in tune” at the source of the sound generation could be percieved as having a small difference in pitch at a large distance, because the “brightness” of the sound is reduced at large distance.

            I even found a better recording of the Ave Maria in Taiwan:
            What seemed to be a terrible hoarseness in the video at the top when she sings “Maria” at 0:43 between “Ma-” and “ria” is not audible in the other video at 03:25.
            What seemed to be hoarseness in the video at top from 0:59 onward doesn’t sound like hoarseness in the other video (03:42 onward) but like failure of the sound equipment.
            Also the pitch deviations are less audible than in the other video.

            Bottom line is, we better should not judge a performance on the basis of a video which was taken in open air from a distance 100 meters away from the source of the sound.

          • richardcarlisle says:


            Thanks for your well-investigated comment; good to think Jackie made far fewer pitch errors than credited to her.

            You did mention one early on that I think may be what I noticed in her AGT performance of Pie Jesu (light purple dress) where she comes down an octave to the second-to-last note in the performance … would like to see if we agree.

          • @luta It’s amazing the number and quality of excuses JE fans conjure up and their irrelevance, too.
            To start off, WHY are the gaps in sound positioned exactly between syllables and not anywhere else? It’s not just a question of pitch, vibrato, timbre or breathing but all those things put together without which a singer, young or old should not be onstage until ALL of them are sorted out.
            The important word here is LEGATO favored by the composer and pianist Chopin, and who used to base his own cantilenas on what he heard in the best singers of the period. Joining up the notes in an unbroken line is BASIC to any instrument, wind or string, and not confined only to classical singing. The new improved vid of Ave Maria has such color shifts between timbres that is seems totally out of control.
            But you really didn’t comment on the Ombra Mai Fu done over a period of 5 years, I suppose, that still hasn’t confronted nor solved basic problems in singing it. Instead, there is ample evidence of compounding bad habits.
            This Taiwan concert was really putting a fast one over the audience with the announcers drumming up enthusiasm like barkers in a circus.

          • @richardcarlisl
            Jackie made a pitch error at the last note of “Time to say goodbye” (italian version)
            The note starts at 03:13 which she gets perfect
            but at 03:18 / 03:19 she cannot hold it any longer and slips.
            The only real bad error I can remember from all of Jackie’s performances.

          • richardcarlisle says:



            At 2:00 she is at a high note and at 2:01 comes down to a much lower note that is off perhaps a half tone sharp…you can compare to any other Pie Jesu she sang — she got all the others exactly right.

          • richardcarlisle says:


            I’m re-entering this as I’m not sure it went through….


            At 2:00 she is on a high note and at 2:01 comes down to a much lower note that I feel she missed– slightly sharp… if you listen to any other Pie Jesu she sang they were all perfect in this regard.

          • @luta Are you sure that wasn’t a fly or a gnat buzzing by the microphone to lower the pitch? It would be a shame if a true believer cannot claim perfection for everything their idol does. My trained ears must not be as keen as yours however. Ombra Mai Fu was flat much of the time but it is not the notes themselves but the faulty approach behind it.

          • @richardcarlisle Any pitch deviation in Pie Jesu is insignificant compared to the audible vibrato in the middle range. This has not been taken care of in the ensuing years, but it is a bad habit nevertheless and does distort the tone.

          • richardcarlisle says:


            Thanks, but you haven’t answered my question about Eva’s latter”shout” song we recently sampled– whjether that could be good for anyone’s voice?

            An attempt to arrive at mutually understood definitions of personality and character should hardly be considered “lecturing”… and here’s another sample: owning a recently purchased used car powered by tow truck is a result of salesman personality with a lack of character.

          • @richardcarlisle
            [At 2:00 she is at a high note and at 2:01 comes down to a much lower note that is off perhaps a half tone sharp…you can compare to any other Pie Jesu she sang — she got all the others exactly right.]

            Yes, I noticed this, however I wouldn’t say it is an error. It’s just a technical flaw. I think this was her first time that she had performed this song, and she probably had not enough training and confidence to do the one octave + one semitone step at once with accuracy, so she “played it safe” and went the one octave step and aproached the seminote from above, but it is barely audible and it also doesn’t bother me that she did it because in other genres than opera it is quite comon to sing this way. For instance Katie Melua makes it nicely, in “Nine Million Bicycles” she quite often approaches the notes (intentionally) from below

            [Are you sure that wasn’t a fly or a gnat buzzing by the microphone to lower the pitch? It would be a shame if a true believer cannot claim perfection for everything their idol does. My trained ears must not be as keen as yours however.]

            CJ, you could do me a favour and try out your ears here:

            I just did the test and the result was
            “At 500 Hz, you can reliably differentiate two tones 4.8 Hz apart.”
            (Test taken with open window and street noise)
            “At 500 Hz, you can reliably differentiate two tones 1.2 Hz apart.”
            (Test taken with closed window in silence)

            Less than 0.75 Hz: Exceptional ear
            Less than 1.5 Hz: Very good
            Less than 6 Hz: Normal
            Less than 12 Hz: Low-Normal
            Greater than 16 Hz: Possible pitch perception deficit

            Let’s assume a singer can differentiate two tones 1.5 Hz appart.
            Then (s)he will also often sing with a pitch error (s)he can percieve
            (that’s when the singer realizes that he must increase or decrease the pitch).
            For people with normal pitch perception abilities the singing will sound okay,
            but for people with very good or exceptional ear the pitch will sound not in tune.

            A singer can only sing that good as (s)he can also hear the pitch difference.
            This doesn’t mean that the singer can then also automatically always sing within this pitch error intervall, this still needs training and practice, but it is a precondition.

            Jackie can surely hear better than I do, otherwise I would more often hear pitch deviations in her singing, but normally I hear none, it is only in very rare instances, that she doesn’get it quite right sometimes, but this she hears by herself.

            Another nice test to try out is this one:
            I personally do not have perfect pitch but can quite good hear relative pitch differences,
            I got 11/12, 11/12 and 12/12 with the third try
            (I couldn’t believe that I was not perfect with it so I had to do it 3 times)
            This was quite difficult because it was just a sequence of random notes, normally when it is whithin a meaningful melody it is much easier.

            I think the ability to hear relative pitch is even more important for a (instrument playing) musician, it makes the life much easier (just playing “by ear”), and also for composers (just writing down the melodies which are in the head instead of trying it out with an instrument).

          • richardcarlisle says:


            Thanks for your tests (looking forward to trying them) and for patience going over this… the Pie Jesu was not done the same way again by Jackie so I assume she considered it an error as I did; it’s my most sensitve area in music, along with tone and resonance qualities… interesting that no one else pointed it out.

            Hope you like the HL vocal competition performers.

          • @luta I’m really sorry but objectively distinguishing pure pitch in a test as opposed to imitating and reproducing are two different things, but related of course. Children have an amazing capacity to take in the environment from day one (or even before). They can speak multiple languages with perfect inflections at an early age.
            Jackie started off as a very good mimic of Phantom of the Opera (shown above) and other songs she heard. There are other kids who superbly replicated adult voices cited on this blog and many more on youtube. Most learning starts from imitation anyway but doesn’t end there, nor should proceeed in that direction. Many times in vocal studios you get students who want to sound like their idol but have to be weaned away from being a carbon copy of someone else, even if they LOVE that sound (or their friends, parents or the public, too). This is NOT a sure technique and notorious for breaking down at some point.
            The point about pitch reproduction in singing is there is a physical feeling as the counterpart to the sound. One feels the notes in different places in the mask or wherever. I am sure that when I was 3 1/2 singing “Little Girl” at the Philadelphia Convention Center alone on the big stage, I got the pitch right but if told to identify it on a piano would not have been able.
            Most of the time pitch does not come in a pure state but with mix of overtones and formants that color the sound, so a piano A 440 doesn’t sound the same as a violin A 440, or the fact that human voices have an almost infinite variety. Kids learn how to tune their own instruments: flute, cello or whatever but it doesn’t mean they can tune a piano. And neither can kid singers.
            After replicating a tone for several thousand times, a singer pops it into the slot where she FEELS it should be. This is the mechanism behind singing in pitch and it is quite amazing too, but not any less than language itself.
            I would even go as far to say that when the voice is in a state of flux, pitch reproduction changes. I know as it happened to me when my technique was being changed. It’s not just a question of momentary tiredness but a fundamental problem in the case being discussed here that has not been properly attended to and now more than ever is showing the results of such procrastination.

          • @CJ
            [The point about pitch reproduction in singing is there is a physical feeling as the counterpart to the sound. One feels the notes in different places in the mask or wherever.]

            And this feeling is induced by the perception of the sound in the ears.
            Before you can get different feelings (of sound with different pitch) you need to perceive
            that the pitch is different. So it makes perfect sense to objectivelly test the ears,
            to see where one’s own limitations are.

            [I am sure that when I was 3 1/2 singing “Little Girl” at the Philadelphia Convention Center alone on the big stage, I got the pitch right but if told to identify it on a piano would not have been able.]

            How do you know you got the pitch right, do you have a recording of it?
            People like performances of little kid’s of 3 1/2 because they are so cute, not because they are as good as adults.
            See for instance this video of a 3 yo violinist
            This kid surely also thinks his pitch is okay.

            The problem is that one can easily get a wrong perspective as a child (I don’t will list my achievements as child here). Even if you are better in music than all people you personally know of (say all the other 1000 kids in your school), this means considering the current world population, that you are “only” one of 8 million others.
            If the gifted child is lucky it will have parents which are at least capable of recognizing it.
            Then are still many things that can go wrong, i.e. well-intentioned educaters which will provide the child only with “kid-appropriate” stuff (gifted children in general do not like this at all).

            See for instance Sarah Chang, according Wikipedia she was 5 years old when she performed the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor. I wouldn’t say this is appropriate for a 5 yo child. Here is a nice recording of her performing it (as adult)
            I even prefere her interpretation now over David Oistrakh’s which I heared on vinyl as long as I can remember.

            Jackie was lucky that there had not been well-intentioned educaters in her life, which prevented her from singing the songs she likes most, which also includes “Ombra mai Fu” and “Nessun Dorma”, otherwise she would still be singing only “Jingle Bells” today and not be where she is today.

          • @luta I don’t know why you found the need to disprove my musicality at the age of 3 1/2 but those who were there said I sang on pitch. The reason I was picked was the older girls in the dance school I was going to couldn’t carry a tune. So they decided upon in the end the youngest pumpkin, me. I had to decide between dancing and piano lessons and settled on the latter. (It’s also interesting you mention how people like child performers not necessarily for their skills but because they are cute.)
            But really, pitch is one part of a sound package and the surest way to err in that direction is to be overly conscious of it. In fact, I am not bothered by or even conscious about pitch imperfections per se but mind very much the way the sounds are produced. When the notes are not floating on the air as it were in an example of Ave Maria (not sung by Jackie) it could sound flat even if it isn’t thanks to the mix of overtones, due to the pitch-intensity effect.
            I am troubled not so much by the pitch deviations in the Taiwan concert (more a symptom rather than a disease) but by the constant shifting between timbres. (And I did listen to several different recordings taken from various angles.)
            Your comment here is not interesting so much but astonishing:
            “Jackie was lucky that there had not been well-intentioned educaters in her life, which prevented her from singing the songs she likes most, which also includes “Ombra mai Fu” and “Nessun Dorma”, otherwise she would still be singing only “Jingle Bells” today and not be where she is today.”
            Sure, theory and practice of good singing developed over at least 400 years has NOTHING to contribute to a natural raw talent. Maybe this premise should be questioned as, after several hundred tries of singing operatic arias she still can’t get them right, although this is not impossible for a 12 or 13 year old. The point about age-appropriate material, is not that kids cannot sing the pitches but will superficially dramatize and force the voice. The great teachers always believed it was better to err on the side of caution. Just because some smokers don’t develop lung ailments it doesn’t mean that one should embrace smoking as a healthy practice.

  37. …to think I almost missed these gems from Jussi Bjoerling. Now that was one of the voices I listened to whilst in my teens. I had a Cassette tape of his singing and I listened to it so much that the tape wore out.

    I think when it comes to the true greats, most of us agree (I think we agree on more than we would like to admit at times).

    I feel for JE, and am in two minds about her. Is she missing out on her childhood/ not being her mother is it my problem should I care? There is something about that voice that is rather special and I don’t want to hear it trashed/ is it being trashed or is that simply poor recording quality.

    She’s being taught using Estill technique/ I have hang-ups with estill pedagogy: there is a lot right with it, but the teaching about the position on the tip of the tongue potentially could create tension at the base of the tongue, and hence in the vocal muscles. (I’ve discussed this with a colleague who knows about the pedagogy and she understand where my concerns come from).

    I do not like children singing music that is too “old” for them (but as long as the lyrics are age appropriate, is there a problem if the key is OK and the sound is that of an adolescent voice rather than a Spinto soprano)

    There are all sorts of issues.

    So CJ, I can understand where you are coming from, but, if I may be fair, find your comments a tad harsh, even though a year ago I would have been most definitely on your side.

    Oh, and as much as I don’t like people spelling my name in correctly (it upsets my mother) my spelling is awful, and when typing at speed, there are often typos).

    • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

      Joanna D-

      Well, we know you had good taste as a teenager if you were listening to Björling! Some of us didn’t discover him until later. Better later than never, though.

      With regard to Jackie & her childhood, the Evanchos schedule lots of down time for her to just be at home & be a kid – usually about 2 weeks per month. When she does go on the road, at least one parent (usually her mother Lisa) & at least one sibling (usually her older brother Jacob) go with her.

      Jackie always says she loves performing & loves her life the way it’s developing. She & her family always say if she didn’t want to perform any more, she’d stop. It truly does not seem to be a case of a stereotypical stage mom pushing her kid into the spotlight.

      With regard to singing music that is too “old” for her, it was too late for that several years ago. Jackie & her family self-produced an album entitled Prelude to a Dream (a rather prescient title) in 2009, when Jackie was 9. On it she sang a variety of covers, but the subjects included child abuse, murder, suicide, life after death, romantic love & God. She wasn’t singing Mary Had a Little Lamb or Whip My Hair.

      Lisa has said they never try to shield the children from difficult things in the world, but try to explain them & answer any questions the children have. So far it seems to be working.

      Let me join others in thanking you for your balanced comments. You’re right that we probably agree on a lot (including cabbagejuice).

      From what I know of the Estill method, it is suitable for multiple genres. However, it doesn’t emphasise breath support, expecting that to come from elsewhere. Doesn’t that seem odd?

      BTW: AFAIK, a Baroque “shake” is what we now call a “trill”(per Wiki). If this is wrong, I hope you, cj or someone else can correct my misinterpretation.

    • from the Guardian (UK):

      >>Child geniuses: What happens when they grow up?

      In 2002, [violinist] Jennifer [Pike], aged 12, became the youngest winner of BBC Young Musician of the Year….

      “I’m very serious and very dedicated,” she says. “It is like a swan on water: there’s a lot of paddling underneath.”

      Her career has entailed sacrifices: her family did not go on holiday so she could play expensive, top-quality violins and there are many things, from basketball to skiing, she would like to do but can’t, for fear of injuring her hands…

      Her drive, she says, was her own. “The number of young people I’ve met with somebody speaking for them, literally forcing them to do this… I am lucky. I have a very inspiring and supportive family.” As a child, she always wanted to do more practice and play more; it was she who had to push her teachers. “It’s funny, the mentality of England is often, ‘Let’s just keep everybody at the same level’, rather than assisting individual needs.”<<

      Nightmare legends of pushy stage mothers are not without a factual basis. When actor/director Robert Redford was casting the part of an 11 year old girl for his new film "The company you keep" he said in an interview that it seemed like some of the chidrens' mothers thought they were auditioning, not their children. (He wound up casting singer Jackie Evancho because he said when she was acting she didn't seem to be Acting.)

      But of course some geniuses have terrific parents, as Jennifer Pike says she did. Parents who realize the truth of what Blake said centuries ago: "One law for lion and ox is oppression." For children who have some species of genius, a regretted childhood is one that suppressed the full expression of that genius. Genius children are not miniature adults, to be sure. But they aren't "children" in the normal sense of the term, either.

      Parents who rise to the challenge of having a genius child are those who carefully navigate between the Scylla of exploitation and the Charybdis of ignoring how different their child is.

      Jackie Evancho's genius is that of an entertainer who sings. I don't know whether she's particularly talented in other areas. As a singing entertainer it's easy for specialists in classical voice to overlook the overall effect of her total package on her audiences–or to airily dismiss it as yet another child prodigy/future burnout. Likewise the doyens of pop music ignore her completely–what she is, is invisible to the editors of Rolling Stone magazine and suchlike.

      She's not an opera singer, not a pop singer, not a child singer (because she neither sings like a child nor comports herself like one when she's singing–no mugging), not one of those autistic mimics who simply replicate someone else's voice. She is a classical crossover singer, but that's a muzzy category with no established canon. And other CC singers don't have the effect on audiences that she does.

      Most of her admirers are not musically sophisticated, though some clearly are–including many of the professional musicians and singers she has performed with (one singer said she was "gobsmacked" by Jackie's performance.

      The group that may best grasp what's she's got is other professional entertainers who make their living by standing in front of an audience by themselves (or as a soloist in front of other musicians) and enthralling them. She has performed several times at a charity held for/by Muhammed Ali, with such people comprising most of the audience, and their understanding of what she had was obvious.

      It's not just operatic singing that she doesn't and probably can't do. Add to that jazz, rock & roll, Tuvan throat singing, Kabuki accompaniment, coloratura arias…many, many areas. She's a specialist. But within her area of expertise–"classical crossover" she's the best of the lot when compared directly with the adults she competes with for CD sales.

      I've played her music for many people without showing them a picture or telling them anything about her. Some were unmoved, but many were thrilled–and had no idea she was the age she is. I did this because of so many music people saying it was just her appearance/age. I have proven to my satisfaction that it is not. It's something she does with her sound that affects many people profoundly.

      It's not precisely her pitch sense, her phrasing, her restrained use of portamento (and never to hunt for a high note), her equally restrained vibrato, her buttery tone–though all those are prerequisites. Whatever the mechanics involved are, her secret is her ability to disappear into the music and take the listener with her. She never mugs, or shows off. She never appears to be communicating "Look at me sing! Aren't I great?"

      That's the sort of self-referencing performing that keeps many a singer with great pipes from reaching the peaks. Jackie seems immune to this kind of anxious narcissism. Probably because her parents are so grounded from all reports.

      To a fan of, say, Frank Sinatra, an opera singer may sound like a congeries of screechy artifices. To a fan of opera, Frank Sinatra may seem like both plebian and kitschy. Each is hearing what the other isn't.

      A good way to understand Jackie Evancho is to look at her audience when she's singing, and see how many people have tears streaming down their cheeks. What other singer has that effect on people?

      Will she still have this effect when she's 20? I'd say almost certainly, because she does not depend on her extreme youth today when she's in performance–she doesn't affect today's trendy kid attire as Justin Bieber does, nor does she project "cute kid" affectations in performance. Nor are the bulk of her fans people who are in general fans of child singers. Most appear to not have been fans of anyone before she came along, in fact. That's what they report.

      As for singing age-appropriate stuff…she never sings anything she isn't comfortable with singing. That, to me, is "age-appropriate." She says in interviews that she has a veto on any song proposed to her, and she doesn't hesitate to exercise it. She's polite but not a pushover. What's appropriate for one person to sing at one point in his or her life could be wildly inappropriate for someone else of the same age.

      Anyone who has worked with a lot of children should know this. And as the founder of a school district's gifted student program, I saw this in particular with very bright youth. (I would have set no test for admission to the program–only interest and, after a while, a demonstrated ability to keep up with the rest.)

      I can understand why someone with refined tastes wouldn't be interested in classical crossover music. My spouse loves it and I didn't hate it, but never wanted to go to a concert of same until Ms. Evancho came along. This has been reported by many other fans of hers. As a very rough guess I'd say maybe half were pre-existing CC fans. Similarly I'm not interested in Country Western music–except for a small number of exceptional artists. Conversely, I love many operas but find many others to be, for me, rather formalistic.

      My point is that exceptional talent transcends genre.

      Lastly, I'd be interested in hearing about music/performances that produce the kind of reaction that Jackie's music does for her fans.

      For example, my spouse and I recently spent several hours listening to the Prelude to Bach's Cello Suite #1 as done by dozens of performers employing everything from violincello da spalla to double bass to harp guitar to Baroque cello to modern cello. And a bass clarinet…

      We were delighted to find that both of us chose the same rendition as our favorite–by a Taiwanese/Swiss guy I'd never heard of, on a modern cello. And I found his performance and that music as moving as I find Ms. Evancho at her best.

  38. richardcarlisle says:

    Nothing to say but THANK YOU to all for all the priceless (and un-nasty) input about this great art of music– dear to my heart, even dearer when better understood.

  39. There are two types of trills in Baroque music. One where the note is repeated and one that starts on a higher note and oscillates onto the note below it.

    I’ve sung both dependent on the song, composer and place of ornament. What we now know as a trill is associated with the High Baroque, and the repeated note trill, the Early Baroque. There is of course, an era when both were used.

    Given that ornamentation needs to feel spontaneous even though for the sake of a safe performance it is normally a good idea to agree things in advance, I like improvising Baroque ornamentation in the DC sections of Da Capo arias or the repeated sections of other forms, to at least get with the Zeitgeist. This way when I’m performing I can capture a little of that frissance even though the last thing the ornamentation is by now is spontaneous.

    As far as Cute Kid and any psychological effect of performing on JE. I’m not saying that there her parents are getting it wrong, just that they have to guard against getting it wrong.

    There is a lot right about Estill pedagogy, which is an approach that applies to many genres. I have one or two concerns, that would be better expressed in the context of a specific paper/boo/article on vocal technique than here. It is something I discuss with other voice practitioners. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and subject specific knowledge about vocal physiology would set my concerns in context.

    • @Joanna I couldn’t agree with you more here: “I have one or two concerns, that would be better expressed in the context of a specific paper/boo(k)/article on vocal technique than here. It is something I discuss with other voice practitioners. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and subject specific knowledge about vocal physiology would set my concerns in context.”
      Singing is one area in music that if you don’t do it yourself, you can’t really understand what is going on. When there were not enough singers to fill a jury for exams, in came the piano teachers who didn’t have a clue. I suggested they bring in wind players instead but still that is not the same thing.
      How can anyone compare the intense physical activity of a tenor doing Nessun Dorma and lite version of it? How much effort is required to make a pianissimo, sometimes more than a full throated sound? I’m not saying the average listener needs to know the mechanics behind the sound (and with partial knowledge maybe it is better they don’t) but the truth is one can only really appreciate what is going on with some degree of personal experience.

      • Thanks CJ! I’ve been trying to explain that one to my non-specialist singer friends and aquaintences (can’t spell) for years: all of them are decent musicians, but they don’t quite grasp what the voice is all about.

        Now I do play the piano to a reasonable level, and I’m a pretty respectable oboist and recorder player, but voice is my thing that I do and I’ve taken the time to really study and get good at.

        On the one hand, I have the “bath-tub” brigade, who don’t quite appreciate the level of work I’ve put in, and there are the “voice is not a proper instrument” lot… well excuse me! I know that many people can open their mouths and sing twinkle-twinkle, but I can do that on the violin, and the last thing I’d call myself is a violinist, even though I can tune one and replace a string! That has more to do with the fact I’ve conducted a kiddie orchestra, and have a son that is learning and a decent ear… and on the subject of Conducting, I think the greats can relax safe in the knowledge I’m not about to challenge them their either: I have reasonable technique, but two terms of lessons is not quite the same is it!

        The problem is that many a keen amateur believes they are an expert. Some even start teaching leaving people like me to undo their bad work and correct the damage they’ve inflicted on the poor unsuspecting lients if they have not had to have an ENT referral first. The proliferation of talent shows does not help either!

        Only this week I critiqued an article. The advice given was fine as far as it went and was written by a singer, but it left out about 70% of the information, and in that 70% was some of the really important stuff. I’m certain this author was an excellent performer, but they needed more subject knowledge before they should teach.

        • @Joanna How about choir conductors? (tee-hee)
          My policy is reserving the right to respectfully disagree with those who are not formally trained in singing.

  40. I am not an expert on Classical crossover singing or any form of voice for that matter. But to all the “experts”, I attended her performance one week prior to the Taiwan concert at The Smith center for the performing arts in Las Vegas. I sat in the third row of the center orchestra. If she was suffering from “voice fatigue” that night she sure hid it well. The Smith center is a brand new opera house/concert hall with perfect accoustics and I have to say Jackie was spectacular! People who form negative opinions based on You-Tube vids, usually taken by amateurs with small hand held devices need to get out more.
    I am not saying that her present madcap concert schedule is good for the developement of her future potential nor that traveling half way around the world with little time to acclimate or rehearse contributed to her performance in Taiwan. But, give her a break, one week prior her performance was no less than astonishing!

    • richardcarlisle says:

      Good insightful report, Mr Jeff… fully appreciated.

    • re: her schedule

      I’ve flown to Taiwan a fair number of times, as it happens (it’s the best stopover for flights to Indonesia, where my wife & I go for scuba diving). Even from the west coast of the USA it’s a looong flight.

      A long flight for us traveling economy class, that is. Jackie, of course, travels first class–the crucial aspect being that her seat folds flat and it’s easy for her to get up and move around the cabin.

      I’m not saying it’s a snap to travel long distances even that way, but I know my own EconoClass experience is very different. Actually, once my wife & I flew from Heathrow to SFO Business Class (in exchange for getting bumped), and I almost wish we hadn’t. Because now we know what we’re missing! And that wasn’t even First Class.

      Her performance schedule isn’t as arduous as one might think. She has stated that she spends half of her time at home, even without averaging in her family vacations. And it’s spaced out.

      And within a given performance she alternates with other perfomers.

      And her song selections are all well within her actual maximum range, which is reportedly 3 /12 octaves. Moreover, she’s always miked, never belts or even projects strongly.

      So an evening’s miked performance of easy (for her) songs isn’t much like a “heldensoprano” doing, say, Siegfried.

      Her father has said his main role with her professionally–besides keeping the exploiters and sycophants at bay–is saying “No” to more performances than she does, and regularly sitting her down–with his wife–and telling her they’re ready to pull the plug on the whole thing if she’d rather resume her former life as an ordinary school child. From all reports they are absolutely in earnest about this. Neither has shown the slightest interest in seeking the spotlight for themselves. Her father has said he didn’t even realize what a great singer she is until he observed her effect on other people.

      So I’m reasonably certain that Jackie’s life–and the health of her voice–are both in good hands.

      Enough talented kids have been exploited by avaricious, narcissistic parents that it’s reasonable to be on guard for that. It’s just not necessary in this case. They don’t push her–she pushes them. That’s one of the ways extremely gifted children differ from the rest of us–as Jennifer Pike says, it’s in their relentless drive.

      • ehkzu

        I don’t dispute anything you say. As a matter of fact, I think you backed me up. My main point is that you need to attend one of her live concerts to really appreciate her voice. Even concerts in huge outdoor venues don’t flatter a vocal performance unless you are a Rock fan. Most opera houses/concert halls only seat a couple of thousand spectators, which is why the price of admission is generally quite high, especially for noted performers.

      • According to Ekhzu: “her actual maximum range, which is reportedly 3 /12 octaves” probably intended to read “3 1/2 octaves” – simply amazing! A developed soprano usually has a working cache of 2 1/2 octaves, maybe 3 and have the proof to back it up in recordings. We never heard those miraculous high or low sounds but must believe the Evangel as though it is Holy Writ.
        Someone wrote in another blog that it may be true that people get interested or even excited by hearing the Voice but the effect is magnified exponentially when seeing it come out of a kid. If a picture or vid of a 30 year old woman were associated with it, the balloon would fizzle out.
        This is not to take away from her actual achievements but as I wrote before you fans are really over the top.
        My question having to do with this actual thread, is WHY can’t little details like pronunciation be improved, why does there have to be audible breathing between syllables, why in this performance does there have to be timbre shifts for no reason at all?
        Please do not cite age as an excuse. Refer to young Beverly Sills, Deanna Durbin, Julie Andrews, Aled Jones, Charlotte Church, Patricia Janescova or others who did the homework and didn’t rely on their musicality, personality and raw emotion to project a song.

  41. everett cox says:

    “…From what I know of the Estill method, it is suitable for multiple genres. However, it doesn’t emphasise breath support, expecting that to come from elsewhere…” HomoSapLaptop

    If I were teaching singing the last method I would teach would be one that doesn’t include breath control and support.

  42. Actually, Estill pedagogy does cover breathing.

    Re a range of 3 1/2 octaves, my working range is 3 octaves and I am a Soprano with a large working range, my pwarm-up range is one tone short of 3 1/2 octaves, and I have the type of voice that is likely to have a large range, so if JE has that range I’d be extremely surprised.

    Firstly I have heard nothing in her singing to suggest it extends much higher than a high C, and I very much doubt it extends below G3. 2 1/2 octaves given her age would be considered large. I also have HUGE problems with children as young as JE singing too low as it can cause irreparable damage to the vocal folds. If she experimenting with extemities of vocal range, then she is on the fast track to the ENT surgeon period, and needs to be told by her vocal coach to stop for her own good. In two words, JULIE ANDREWS.

    • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

      Joanna D-

      “Firstly I have heard nothing in her singing to suggest it extends much higher than a high C, and I very much doubt it extends below G3.”

      Jackie sang an E3, the lowest note she’s sung on available recordings, on the chorus of Lean On Me, recorded ~3 years ago. It would be rather surprising if she couldn’t sing lower now (C3? lower?), since she’s going thru puberty, but she hasn’t commented on it. She has sung F#3/Gb3 on any number of widely available recordings (Memory, Tears In Heaven, etc).

      Don’t forget that for several years (at least 3), Jackie’s passaggio hasn’t been any higher than Eb5-E5 (i.e. what opera people would call the “2nd passaggio,” the highest place it can be), which is actually toward the lower end of the range for an adult female. Most girls that age can easily sing F#5 or higher in modal register; not Jackie. Does this mean her larynx is unusually large for a child? IDK. Does it mean she can sing lower notes than we’d expect now? Maybe.

      The highest undisputed note she’s sung is B5, toward the end of Hymn Of the Worlds at her recent Cirque Du Soleil benefit for their water charity.

      So her publicly proven range is 2 octaves plus a major 5th, the broadest definition of “2-1/2 octaves” (the others being 2 octaves plus a 4th or 2 octaves plus a tritone). She has said that in practice she can sing a G6, but we’ve had no public verification of this. If she truly has a G6, her range would seem to be at least 3-1/2 octaves (just estimating the low end, though). Her mother & she have said she works more on her high notes than her low notes.

      • This comment alone safely jutifies why I was right not to go into the finer details of vocal technique in teenagers.

        Singing at extremes of vocal rage, particularly the low extremes of the range is not a good idea.

        I can cite several experts in the field who have written widely on the subject.

        This says nothing against JE as a person. This is my professional opinion from 9 years of training people how to sing and having specialised in the children’s and adolescent voices having studied at lengths the work of these professionals who have contributed to the knowledge of the voice in the UK and the USA, and are recognised by the British Voice Association and NATS (the closest thing to their USA counterpart).

        Now of course, you can speculate as much as you like about the specific gifts conferred to Miss Evancho, but I have yet to find much to dispute the well respected and very much peer-reviewed experts in whose work I hold such trust that include Dr Jenevora Williams, Professor John Cooksey and Dr Louise Gackle.

        I would suggest you give those names a quick “google”, because you will find that they form a “who’s who” when it comes to the adolescent voice (amongst others) rather than dispute my findings because a couple of years ago, she performed an E3. I speculated on the basis of safe practice. I’ve heard teenage girls sing lower, but not teenage girls that call themselves sopranos.

        As for large folds, that is determined by volume and lengthe of neck, and I see nothing unusual about JE’s physique to believe that to be the case.

        • @ Joanna Thanks so much for the links! I am eagerly reading Dr. Williams’ articles online. I don’t really teach children (except piano) but rather prefer to specialize in women’s voices. However, I do get referrals from time to time and utterly refuse to teach boys going through voice change.
          I was gratified to read my instincts were not far off the mark. There are some remarks about choral singing (my particular bugbear) and the problems engendered by putting voices in the wrong sections. It’s amazing how tenors wind up in the bass section and vice versa with full support from a choir conductor. Just because a mezzo can sing a high Bb (my student) doesn’t mean she should sit with the sopranos!!!
          My inner radar beeps out warnings about the female voice entering puberty. I imagine caution and care should be uppermost, another reason for me not to take such a chance with them.
          However, I will read on. Thanks, again! Janet

          • I’m prepared to sing Contralto from time-to time, but I wasn’t until I was way past thirty, and the number of problems I had with people sticking me there because I had a bottom F could read music and hold an inner part. It was vocally exhausting.

            It is only now that I have sorted out my passagi that I even contemplate such a thing!

            I do coach boys through their vocal changes, but then am prepared to do all the transposition necessary and will listen out to the tell-tale sign that this is this week’s outer-limits.

            I feel more comfortable teaching the piano, but that has something to do with the fact that having looked at the bio-mechanics behind one instrument, applying to another was a lateral step, and there are plenty of CPD courses in Piano pedagogy. Having the full music degree, and insisting I’m training musicians not instrumental technicians helps too. it means that there are parts of the singing teaching side of things that can be transferred lock, stock and barrel.

            Finding out through the work of others that your gut instinct is correct is always satisfying. I get that feeling that your concerns about JE are that she is not exploited, and that she isn’t some sort of “sensation”. Next that she is taught to sing properly to maximise her potential. I spot potential, and want the same thing. She is good, but I fear the cult of celebrity.

          • This is the best place to stick this, but things may read out of order:

            There have been those who wanted to stick me in the alto section, but then why when the soprano section is populated with “wannabee sopranos” and you have a singer who can access a high C with such ease (that and higher).

            At times singing in choirs got emotionally distressing, flip-flopping between vocally singing something that was completely unsuitable, and a bunch of women who just didn’t like that fact I found it easy to access all areas soprano and was just as capable of being wounded by stray comments as they were.

            Now I don’t know, but I don’t like going out to spend my evenings feeling like a fish out of water, or to be leered at for just being me, or condemmed out of hand for having the audacity at being good at something they enjoy, but do not share the degree of flair. I’d like to have a good time too, and am not sitting there in judgement, judging them for what they can or cannot do. It takes all sorts to make a world.

            Worse, as soon as I state I’m soloist standard, I’m achieved of ‘Bragging’… now tell me it is the equivalent of saying “I’m a chartered accountant” to a trainee book keeper. No-one would accuse anyone of bragging there.

          • richardcarlisle says:


            To everyone

            Here’s Eva’s Ave Maria….seems to have technique bases covered and what outstanding timbre, vibrato control– recently launched a CD

    • @Joanna (I am going to ignore the other posters on this subject.) My own outer limits are a D below Middle C and a E6 like most lyric sopranos. Kids can sometimes sing higher (Lilli Lehman wrote about this) but their ability to do so diminishes with age. My comfortable working range is about a third lower than the highest note and a fifth higher than the lowest. I did accept my limits in never to be able to sing Queen of the Night unless it is transposed and it seems that in Mozart’s time it was sung lower.
      Anyways,It’s strange for me to hear about ‘passaggio’ in a yet undeveloped voice. Maybe I missed something over the years. I might be mistaken but this is precisely what one does not expect, a change in register or timbre. Young voices that is if they sound their age, have a vitrual unbroken line, not go back and forth between timbres, or should have. But I may be wrong…

      • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:


        You’re absolutely right that young girls are not “supposed” to have obvious passaggi & different registers, but if you listen to Prelude to a Dream, which Jackie recorded when she was 9, she has very obvious register changes above ~Eb5 on songs like River of Dreams & Think of Me. I swear to you this is true. The videos used to be on YouTube but have been removed, presumably due to copyright complaints. They’re often available on various bit torrent sites, but personally I don’t like to encourage use of those, because they typically don’t pay artists for their hard work. (If you choose to seek them out, that’s on you.)

        Jackie didn’t have register changes at 8 when she sang OMBC in F, but F5 is the highest I’ve ever heard her sing in modal register, & certainly not since that age.

        I understand that this is not normal for young girls, but please believe me, what I’m saying is true. I may be primarily an instrumental, amateur (though I’ve been paid in the past) musician, but my ears are very good. If you heard the recordings, you’d hear what I mean. I may not be an expert in voice, but I’ve spent a lot of hours listening to Jackie, & can hear things in her singing that others can’t.

        Jackie has had passaggi for several years, but is very good at hiding them & (usually) making her registers similar in timbre.

        Joanna D-

        I don’t think there’s any doubt that Jackie doesn’t sing to the limits of her range, either at the low or high end. Like I said, she’s sung Gb3/F#3 a lot, but E3 only very briefly, in one song. Personally I think she can sing significantly lower than that, especially now.

        • @HomoSapiensLaptopicus If you are talking about the smoky timbre in “Lean on Me” as providing evidence for a viable register going down to a G below middle C, I say hogwash. Taking the vids of other kids who also imitate adult voices superbly as supporting evidence, it is a manufactured sound. There have been times when she doesn’t sing with that contrived color and sounds like a kid. The trouble is no one stepped in and told her to stop. Instead, she was encouraged to exploit that timbre to the extent she became very good at it but at the expense of a jaw waggle, having to breathe constantly and loudly even between syllables, muddy diction and now goes in and out of timbres with hardly any control. Now at such a crucial juncture, it is really time to say “arrivederci” in order to get a grip on things. otherwise there may be real danger ahead.

      • Evidence suggests that even children’s voices have registers and hence have passagi yet they are not as pronounced (or at least should not be so pronounced) as they are in older voices.

        That is except where they are forced to sing too low and get stuck in their chest register where instead of a smooth passagio into head voice they end up with a wapping great big break (almost the aural equivalent of an in experienced driver attempting to change gear using a crash-gear box (i.e. not only a stick shift, but one without any syncromesh). This is due to the thick bit of the folds being too high in the larynx, the tongue too high, and the soft palette too flat (Note I’m stating what is going on inside, one never describes it this way to a pupil).

        The way to prevent this is to encourage the pupil to have a sensation of sighing/yawning without going that way, drop the jaw, keep the neck back of the neck free, but long, and the face engaged (think my favourite thing has been brought into the room) and a the thick folds will drop, tongue behave its self and more importantly, the palette will raise. Work with the breath. Concentrate on breathing in supporting deeply from the core.

        Now those statements mean everything to a singer, and if they don’t mean anything, no amount of googling will translate them into anything meaningful. They are the jargon tems of the business. They also mean everything whilst singing.

        I can sing the Queen of the Night’s Aria, but then I’m not a Lyric Soprano. My bottom note for warm up purposes is E3, and top note for warm up purposes is A6, but I would not want anyone to hear me outside the range of F#3-6! I used to decribe myself as a Dramatic Coloratura Soprano. That is still the case, it is just that at the bottom I’m, a Spinto Soprano, so it is a case of being a Spinto Soprano with Dramatic Coloratura flexibility. I cross back into other genres as the music is well written and it is far too much fun

        You are right about kids being able to sing higher, until I hit transition, I had a very high female treble voice, so I quite believe Lily Lehman’s findings.

        ( CJ, although other posters can read with interest, you appear to understand what you are on about, so this comment is primarily for you. We may have disagreed, but I do recognise someone who has relevant subject knowledge when they are writing)

        • @Joanna The dramatic coloratura is probably the rarest type of female voice. There are lots of lyric sopranos like me, so I still have my piano as a backup if I ever get discouraged. What I never understood was HOW so many of my teachers missed my fach over the years and if they had gotten it right, I would have been further ahead a long time ago.
          What I am saying is that even trained ears can miss the obvious or if you are not looking for something you won’t find it. They said I was anything from alto (also rare) to dramatic coloratura (big joke for the latter). I also am astonished at what I get from other teachers. One example was a Korean with a beautiful mezzo quality whose teacher for 8 years was trying to turn her into another Sumi Jo. When I transposed down some of her rep a third lower, it fit like a glove, but she still didn’t want to believe me.
          Relevant to the thread is a manufactured timbre can pass for the real thing. There are clues however when this is counterfeit when it is a unicolor and non flexible, when there are marked changes going back and forth from high to low. One of my teachers a long time ago said the voice is the truth and manipulating it will never really come out right.

          • My teacher had taught many lyric coloraturas, and what she said was their voices all started to get going at C5 whereas mine still had all the flexibility at the top but had a bottom to it.

            When you listen to a Dramatic Coloratura, that is the difference, it is a flexible voice with power at the bottom!

            If I’d been given support at the right time, I might have gone further, but there is still hope as that dramatic bit has really flowered in the last six months, and mid forties is typical for larger voiced sopranos.

            I’m now looking at the proper dramatic stuff and real dramatic coloratura before I audition for anything again. Then there is my height… I’m a tad on the short side…

          • @Joanna I found an interesting phenomenon from the time I was accompanying singing classes as part of my piano scholarship, quietly taking everything in, so got the inside scoop even before studying formally, that dramatic sopranos frequently get confused for mezzos. Sometimes they go back and forth like ping-pong from teacher to teacher and as I mentioned before even professionals sometimes get it wrong. I know this might sound a bit egotistical, but I saw it happen too many times. Frequently or maybe because of its relative rarity, the dramatic soprano is not all the time recognized for what it is, the quintessential operatic voice, but can be mishandled as well.
            One student with a beautiful dramatic soprano voice got stuck in the alto section of a choir. I teach another woman a few years older than myself who travelled a long frustrating road for most of her singing life. I won’t say anothing about bad habits that come back to haunt because on a JE thread there are no such animals…
            As for repertoire, this aria has a lot of dramatic possibilities, could be sung by mezzo or soprano, from the opera, Sapho by Gounod:
            There are other versions online but I happen to like Crespin as a singer (love her diction!)

  43. richardcarlisle says:


    Try this abbreviated version:

    Personality provides control over others… character determines whether you benefit or harm them.

    Blessed with both, Jackie gives magic to her audience that transcends anything — good or flawed — that anyone can say about her singing.

    Her youtube interviews are very revealing regarding her character and personal wealth.

    • richardcarlisle says:

      Character is also demonstrated when conforming to one’s better standards with no one looking.

      • @richardcarlisle I am personally allergic to anything having to do with control.Therefore I sincerely hope that its alleged association (according to you) with personality (as in “bubbling, endearing” or “bitter, defective”) hasn’t become part of the dictionary definition unless it has been changed in the past 24 hours.
        A function of the educational process is to appreciate the craft and skill of art rather than its generating emotion. It may start with that, and usually does, being attracted to something beautiful and the desire to imitate it or call it one’s own. But as a prime mover of any art, it is notoriously unwieldly and must be tamed. This is called disciplne and technique.

        • richardcarlisle says:

          Ah CJ, such irreconcilable differences…. I have an answer but will give it proper time later….

        • richardcarlisle says:


          Just how much music training did Tarzan need when one piercing yell inspired up to a thousand monkeys and at least two other people… now if that doesn’t loosen your standards (not expecting much from that one) I’ll continue with another example: according to established knowledge the universe is thirteen billion years at least in age and your 400-year hi-fallutin’ music technology is only one infinitesimally tiny fraction of one second when held up to all those years…and in that thirteen billion minus the point in time when music tech began, the universe has been replete with endless miracles and magic– wondrous processes and all kinds of elements so far beyond human comprehension we can only relate to and understand a mere fraction of any of it.

          So along comes Jackie attributing her gift to God — another gift like the universe itself — and so what if she distills some of the magic that’s been around all this time and delivers it to the hearts of millions — not a personality cult (a comment beneath you… such cults have campaigns for action using intellectually enslaved pawns unable to dissent either intellectually or emotionally)…Jackie’s fans are spread out everywhere with no plan of action– just a bit reactionary when insults are hurled.

          And isn’t all this in the past anyway where you’re concerned since your approval of Jackie’s BOTW seems to indicate she’s at a point in training “good enough” to pass your discretionary critical ear… so what kind of mud wrestling is this anyway– do we even have an opinion discrepancy?

          You can bury that cult nonsense deeply and inaccessibly, however.

          • @richardcarlisle Your comment here says everything, no need to add to it: “your 400-year hi-fallutin’ music technology”. This is really the crux of the matter, being overcome with emotion as a superior form of experiencing art. Without the discipline, there is no art. It may start with a “gift” but that has to be refined and shaped with hard work.
            And as for this comment: “approval of Jackie’s BOTW seems to indicate she’s at a point in training “good enough” to pass your discretionary critical ear.”
            I said I enjoyed BOTW as a whole product with the colors and acting. I didn’t say that her “training” is good enough. How could it be? Most of the criteria for professional singing are not yet met: smooth breathing, unbroken line, diction. In the Taiwan concert, she was singing flat a lot of the time. In such a state it should not be brought to the stage at all. One is only compounding bad habits. As Janey said at the top of this thread, maybe she needs and deserves a rest?

  44. Thank You cabbagejuice for bringing a level reality to this discussion. I do think Jackie is talented, but I don’t spend every waking moment of the day worshiping her like others clearly do. Folks, Jackie is talented, but when I read comments like she is already the best singer in the world, I truly cringe.

    Please Jackie fans, keep it real!

    • @cer Exactly, “worship”, isn’t that supposed to be idolatry?
      There is also another word for the elderly men who can’t stop discussing, trolling the internet for criticism, for lapping up every tidbit of information, trading anecdotes. collecting pictures, having entire youtube channels devoted to her – “obsession”.

  45. As a Soprano and a Christian, I believe my musical talent is God given too.

    I quietly pray before performances. I do not go on talk shows and earn a mint talking about it.

    God moves in mysterious ways, but please remember what Jesus did to the money changers in the temple, and what he said about rich men, camels and eyes of needles.

    God is not there to exploit for profit. He is there to worship, adore, and to pray to… meekly kneeling on your knees.

    HSL: The nature of Passagi is that they are there in the voice period, even in children’s voices. Now Jose Carerras can sing without them showing as his technique is up to it. Quite frankly, talented as Miss Evancho is, hers show. This is because her voice is in flux and she does not have sufficient support. Once she has got through her vocal transition she has a chance to sort out her placing and even out her voice again.

    I am not saying she is poor, she still has prodigious talent, but please get things in perspective: Birgit Nilsson she is not: the soprano whose passagi were so well controlled her voice was practically seamless and multi-faceted at the same time. Now if she ever gets that good… well only time will tell

    • richardcarlisle says:


      Jackie forthrightly declared “not an opera singer” and why should any expert in the field like yourself hold her to those standards… I actually like her earlier performances more than the CJ-approved BOTW… I’m getting the impression you invited yourself to a party of commoners in order to make them something they don’t want to be, should not be and potentially miserable should they “rise” to that standard…. leaving Jackie caught in the middle between pleasing a few snobs or millions of less stringent listeners.

      There is a vitally legitimate debate here and I for one hope reason will rule… and with the same expertise used to critique Jackie why not critique rap performers for their vocal training– or folk singers, etc, etc.

      And if you were invited on a talk show to discuss where you received your gift of talent would you refuse the invitation?

      And are you saying her youtube interviews are demeaning and unimpressive?

    • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

      Joanna D-

      Thank you for the singing lesson in your previous post. It actually made sense the way you explained it. It strikes me that a certain singer whose initials are KJ could really benefit from your advice. I’d be interested in what you or cabbagejuice say about her singing, but to my ears there’s something REALLY wrong about her tongue & palatal positions (not to mention lots of other problems, LOL – JMHO!).

      I agree exactly with what you said about Jackie’s register transitions right now. I do hope they’ll get better as she goes thru adolescence & gets better breath support. However, even now I’m not aware of many singers without operatic training who are significantly better than Jackie at those things.

      When she recorded Prelude to a Dream at age 9, she needed falsetto register (or loft, or light mechanism, or whatever you want to call it) for the high notes (above ~Eb5). Like an untrained singer, they were quiet & a bit airy. Her timbre then improved rapidly over time, but the adolescent transition would be difficult for anyone.

      What really amazes me is the men. Somehow the spinto & dramatic tenors can retain that rich timbre above the passaggio. People like Domingo, Corelli & del Monaco (or going back a while, Caruso also) are/were really remarkable.

      Good advice about Jesus’ words & actions also.

      • @HomoSapiensLaptopicus The only female voice I can bear singing the aria of Nessun Dorma is Deanna Durbin who does it in very understandable English, divested from its operatic context, a half tone higher than the original version for tenor.
        KJ’s version is a perfect example of forcing the voice too low and getting a disturbing vibrato in exchange. I get the impression she was singing it low to match a kind of faux masculine operatic quality.
        Children who force their voices lower than where they lie comfortably will also produce vibrato that will be expressed in trembling of the jaw. Any talk of shifting registers in children between a contrived low sound (KJ’s a timely example) and natural head tones are simply non-starters. It has been pointed out the smallness of a child’s instrument would in itself be a proof that so such drastic timbre changes could not coexist.
        Please reread Joanna’s comment on the subject: “That is except where they are forced to sing too low and get stuck in their chest register where instead of a smooth passagio into head voice they end up with a w(ho)pping great big break (almost the aural equivalent of an in experienced driver attempting to change gear using a crash-gear box (i.e. not only a stick shift, but one without any syncromesh).
        PS Anita Cerquetti is quite good in Vissi d’Arte.

        • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:


          I agree that Deanna Durbin does an outstanding job on the English translation of Nessun Dorma, but I’ve never been able to hear all the lyrics. A few of them, yes, but all of them? Never. I’ve even looked for them, unsuccessfully, on line.

          Personally I find listening to KJ somewhat difficult. I want to tell her to open her throat, yawn without yawning. The wobbly vibrato is one among several other problems. Maybe I should have picked something other than ND, since to my ear she does those things a lot.

          I’m not sure if you’d say Jackie was forcing her voice too low on the many times she’s sung below G3. This was is spring 2009, shortly after Jackie’s 9th birthday. Tears in Heaven is 1st, & she sings F#3 multiple times.

          She sings the same note multiple times here, though because it’s in a different key, I’d call it a Gb3. The video is from Dec 2009, but the audio is from the Prelude to a Dream self-produced album, recorded a few months earlier.

          You truly hear sounds of strain here? Signs of forcing her voice too low? She may have problems with the vibrato, but that’s hardly unexpected. I don’t hear forcing or strain.

          BTW, I did read & understand what Joanna said, I just don’t hear Jackie doing that.

          I’m glad you liked Cerquetti; she’s one of my favourites. She had a career that lasted only 10 years, & retired from opera at 30. She recently turned 82.

          • @HomoSapiensLaptopicus First of all, after watching Junior Masterchef Australia, I do believe in child prodigies. Some of the children from the age of 8 are really extraordinary but many of them have parents as caterers and the like. The point here, is that they are guided in the right direction.
            A child of 9 has no way of knowing that a voice should be approached from the middle, so needs a proper instructor to guide. These clips from 2009 show talent but not knowledge of what to do with it.
            As I mentioned before just because one of my mezzo students can sing a high Bb, it doesn’t mean she should sing in the soprano section of a choir. I can also sing a D below middle C but that doesn’t make me an alto. My Korean mezzo student could sing Lieder in soprano keys but they were never comfortable. The way a song or aria is written emanates from the middle and ventures up or down but doesn’t stay in the extremes. Rigoletto has maybe 2 F#4′s in the whole opera. Get it? A baritone student is now working on the aria from Cantata No. 4 that has one low E2 and one low E#2. Even Bach didn’t tax the singer and understood its inner workings.
            So a child soprano, that I believe Jackie to be, should not sing in a lower key than her voice permits easily. She doesn’t seem to be doing that now and in fact, is exploiting the high possibilities, which is probably good. I was never convinced by the construction and timbre of the middle voice however. To me it seems contrived. I already stated the different problems that arise when there is forcing and so won’t repeat them here.

    • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

      Joanna D-

      I listened to Birgit Nilsson singing In questa reggia (as the psychopathic Princess Turandot; not an easy aria, that’s for sure) & Vissi d’arte. Don’t get me wrong, she’s very good, with very strong high notes (& excellent breath support, of course), but I do hear her passaggi & can usually tell what register she’s in. It’s not as easy as it is with Renée Fleming, but I can hear them.

      Personally I’d much prefer Anita Cerquetti (JMHO!), an Italian dramatic soprano who had a relatively brief career in the 1950s before she retired to raise a family. Her voice is very rich but buttery smooth & very well-integrated (not sure how to describe it…). It’s a very different type of voice than Nilsson’s. And talk about blended registers & hidden passaggi… I’m not sure I’ve ever heard this aria sung this well (JMHO!). If you don’t get chills when she holds that Bb5 near the end, maybe you don’t have a properly functioning nervous system!

      • richardcarlisle says:


        Smooth and accomplished, appears to me a note or two lower range than what I’m used to with Fleming or Gheorghiu… try Maria Jaritza’s (scratchy) recording for more expression, variety of tone, loveable even with the static.

        • @richardcarlisle I don’t know ANY soprano who doesn’t sing Vissi d’arte in the key Puccini wrote it in. There are reasons for writing in certain tonalities to accomodate the expressiveness of certain tones as opposed to others. A high A or G would not have the same effect as a Bb for instance – the same for tenors in Celeste Aida. This is even more reason Jenkins has no business singing Nessun Dorma a major third lower than the original key.

          • richardcarlisle says:

            Thanks CJ; it just didn’t seem to have that high clear ring that I sense in others… would love sometime to identify notes specifically rather than impressionistically.

        • richardcarlisle says:

          Sorry, that’s Jeritza not Jaritza.

        • @richardcarlisle The timbre may not be to everyone’s taste, but Magda Olivero’s sincerity is riveting here, not “look at me, I’m singing an operatic aria”:

          • richardcarlisle says:


            Very interesting, exquisite, great art– evolving body language tells its own story, slight lack of tone clarity more than made up for by brilliant presentation


  46. RC: If I were invited onto a talk show, there are a myriad of things I could talk about.

    I personally find the God thing is a turn-off to the average TV viewer, so would probably steer well clear.

    • @Joanna You might be surprised about talk shows. Everything else under the sun is bandied about on TV, good and revolting, so why not people’s beliefs? Who knows? One might start a revolution and turn the shock value culture on its head. People are already bored with profanity and ubiquitous sexual innuendos.

      • richardcarlisle says:

        Vibrantly valid well-taken point, CJ (such form today!) — note rhyme in addition to the usual alliteration.

        And OMG have you experienced the recent much-loved book : Defending Jacob… what a magical talent for word assemblage; some books can be read a chapter at a time to prolong the pleasure, other books page at a time, others paragraph… now here’s something sentence by sentence radiating magic memorable and a course in writing as well…. beautiful as great music.

        I’m usually disappointed in current books where the plot disintegrates half way through and then gets worse, but this kind of writing doesn’t even need a plot.

  47. HSL: glad the singing lesson made sense: however it is what I do, so by now I would hope I could explain it.

  48. richardcarlisle says:


    Very vital incident– ejecting money changers from the temple… there is discrepancy in the timing, whether it was just before the crucifixion and thus causative or much earlier and not all that causative; either way a clear expression of anti-commercialism and anti-materialism and a sad contradiction to the later building of massive cathedrals designed to house leaders bedecked in fine ermine… whatever happened to that original message of humility and avoidance of material influences including probably the very essence of money originally designed for a business lubricant and allowed to become a golden calf sought for itself as a goal instead of a mere adjunct.

    Money is so distorted and misunderstood so badly by so many as a path to happiness rather than relief from misery for the impoverished and often adding to the misery of the wealthy who didn’t need as much as they accumulated and misused miserably.

    It could and should be redesigned for specialty applications such as food and rent, etc… and when you consider that a billionaire could hire enough hit men to eradicate a city with a population of ten thousand it makes me wonder if there should be a limit on the amount anyone should be allowed to accumulate — as appropriate a thought as gun control or outlawing owning a nuclear weapon.

    It seems unlikely Jackie will display a lack of character and misuse any wealth she accumulates … probably will be more concerned with how fast she can donate it to worthy causes.

    • @richardcarlisle Oh, will she control the purse? There are at least 5 other family members to share with before it goes to ‘worthy causes’.

      • richardcarlisle says:

        Yes, a future revelation as interesting as her final singing attainment status… we’ll see what character is all about then.

      • richardcarlisle says:

        You don’t think she holds control but this is one smart youngster — how about a threat to sing like Charlotte for one performance and she’ll have her partners’ devoted attention AND cooperation.

      • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:


        Here in the States we have a “Jackie Coogan law” (named after a Hollywood child star who was exploited) that says adults must always set aside at least 15% of a child’s gross earnings. When the child comes of age, the child will have control of those funds.

        What they do with the other 85% of Jackie’s earnings is presumably a matter for more conjecture.

        • Sylvan says:

          HSL, that Coogan law applies in California. Ny has something for kids. It isn’t a Federal thing. Jackie lives in PA.

          • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:


            Yes, the Coogan law is a California law; there are similar laws in NY & a couple of other States. My understanding is that most “legit” management companies that represent children (e.g. Marc Johnston for Jackie) comply with the law even if income was earned in other States. Jackie has sung in California many times, so lots of her income is earned there. But perhaps I was misinformed…

        • Wearing my “parent hat” Children are expensive, and there are expenses involved in performance.

          Having said that: taking out what is necessary for expenses (including those incurred by the parent for jetting off around the world and living with your off-spring when they are as successful as Jackie is) should lie Miss Evancho with a reasonable tidy lump-sum sitting in some trust fund for her.

          Now her parents come across as the reasonable sort, so give her some now and leave her some as a trust fund. Let her have something to spend on pretty dresses and nice bits and pieces NOW, then put the stuff away.

          I would feel uncomfortable profiting at the expense of anything my children achieved, I feel no such duty towards my parents who were amassing any success at the same time as raising my siblings and me. The rub is I’m there to help them out in their dotage.

          Similarly, if I ever ended up with a surfit of money (I almost hear the piggies revving up ready for take off) I would have no quarms with my children benefiting now, or when they are attempting to launch a career, set up home, or having financial hardship dealing with their own off-spring.

          However, anything they earn as the endeavours of their own labour is theirs to do with as they will (provided I’ve recouped any out of pocket expenses, but no more than that. The flip-side of that coin is that by treating them reasonably, when either their dad (my husband) or I get to the point where we need help in years to come, they will be in a position to help.

          Profiting at the expense of your children is effectively prostituting (not small p) their talents. Given the name of the person who does that with a woman working in the oldest professio, do you really want to “pimp your child’s talents”. Interviews with the Evancho parents have made it very clear that this unpleasant side of the business is something they really want to steer clear of (and good on them)… I sometimes wonder about agents though…

  49. Cerquetti’s Vissi D’arte is OK, but I’d rather listen to Caballe or Sutherland.

    Nilsson is regarded as a “singers singer”. Her Turandot was one of the finest interpretations since composition, she vies with Flagstad as the finest Isolde to have sung the role mainly as both of them allow the orchestra to perform using a full range of dynamics. Her Aida was superb. She had control throughout the Dramatic Soprano Repertoire.

    As far as singers from other genres are concerned, now that is not fair, but JE is singing this repertoire, and she is missing the mark. She may choose to sing it when she is older, and may sing it extremely well. Time will tell.

    I’ve got nothing personal against the girl, and would like her to have a voice that lasts for life as it is pleasing to the ear.

    Where I have a problem is when the publicity machine goes OTT, and certain fans start to behave like born-again teenagers.

    I’m a parent, and her parents sound as if they want to care about her welfare and are receiving conflicting advice.

    She is a thirteen year old girl. She sounds pretty driven, and she needs to be nurtured by the right team. I would hate the PR machine to exploit her due to the ever more demanding whims of her fans.

    Her voice is at a vulnerable stage of development at present. This is not to say “don’t sing”, just take care.

    RC- I know all about character sweetie and what constitutes good character, bad character and courage. Please do not lecture me about character. I performed in a memorial concert six weeks after spending two days in an burns unit intensive-care unit and whilst still going to weekly out-patient appointments. I’d accepted the engagement, and was not cancelling out. Understand I am a singer and had suffered significant smoke inhalation on top of having disfiguring injuries. (I’ve made a full recovery now) .

    Please don’t put words into my mouth; I’m more than capable of expressing myself.

    • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

      Joanna D-

      I took your advice & listened to Vissi d’Arte sung by Caballé & Sutherland. This version from 1975 by Caballé is really gorgeous:

      This one from Sutherland is from 1972 & is beautiful. It’s a studio recording, so it might be more comparable to the Cerquetti version, which I think was also in the studio (??).

      Personally, I still like Cerquetti, but it’s just a personal preference. How can you criticise any of them? They’re all really outstanding.

      You may be right in your assessments of Jackie’s voice, family concerns, etc. We’d all like to see her come thru unscathed & have a long vocal life. I’m sure her fans don’t want to see her take undue risks, but some can get awfully enthusiastic at times.

      I’m very glad you made a full recovery from your burns. Smoke inhalation is indeed quite frightening, & is what kills most people in fires.

  50. richardcarlisle says:


    CJ and I have been discussing character and personality…. the comment was not directed your way; I always start comments to you with your name… CJ knows my comments and sometimes I don’t bother with the formality.

  51. RC: if you do not preface a comment with a name, then it is read by the readers of most blogs and fora as being addressed to all.

    I do hope I make myself clear before being accused of unwarranted “earwigging again”.

    How would other contributors (or Norman) be expected to know who you were addressing?

    • richardcarlisle says:


      A response should always be indented and placed directly under what’s being responded to; I’ll avoid future confusion by always addressing thoroughly to CJ… good to get it cleared up this time, thanks.

      Oh, just listened to Nilsson’s Vissi…beautiful handling of that final note, absolute beauty.

  52. richardcarlisle says:


    Absolutely right in my opinion– she achieves extraordinary tone quality that we no longer find in her mid range along with good expression, an overall treasure– glad to favorite it for keeps at least till the computer crashes.

    It goes to show how much she needs a break… she’s really done enough for now.

    Thank you.

  53. mark justin says:

    here is a 16 (?) or so year old girl singing Purcell

    I have no connection or acquaintance with her and have never heard of her before.

    If you can overlook the new york accent is this clip as beautiful and impressive as I think it is?

    • Very nice, age and level appropriate repertoire, in other words, not too heavy or demanding that will help her voice to grow and not burden it before it is ready.
      The right arm seems to want to rise up and conduct but perhaps someone warned her against this common tendency.

      • richardcarlisle says:

        Very nice lack of courseness throughout her range along with obviously well-rehearsed, etc…. thanks for contributing

      • That was my general feeling too.

        She’s a work in progress, but one who is certainly heading in the right direction.

        I would not want her to be a statue, but she does need to do something more appropriate with that hand. If the other one was active too, and she was not drawing windmills, she could learn to use them to add to the performance.

        The tendency to have “windmill arms” or a flying arm” is very common, and the best way to get rid of it is to get it to do something more constructive.

  54. @Joanna I was asked on this thread by Best of Jackie on the Web to contribute my own assessment there. I felt my words would be distorted and taken out of context, so refused. It seems though that your comments here already have:

  55. I’ve replied CJ.

    Even taken out of context, I have been condemmed for saying anything that is anti Jackie.

    Actually put together they don’t read that badly!

  56. Jackie’s soldout concert at Cleveland’s 2800 seat Palace Theatre has been rescheduled from May 14 to June 7. This was the first of two concerts scheduled in a three day period. I have not seen a reason given for the rescheduling but if voice related hopefully it is only being done out of an abundance of caution.

  57. richardcarlisle says:


    Want to be sure you don’t miss Eva Weingarten’s Ave Maria … the last third of this video has some absolute dream-stuff timbre.

    • @richardcarlisle Sorry to be the one who rains on your parade all the time, but I really am not impressed. First of all, Eva seems to approach the notes not “from above” but slightly under. Sometimes, it works but othertimes it doesn’t. Oddly enough I rather appreciate Jackie’s committment to what she sings in general and in particular this same Ave Maria more than the above version.

      • richardcarlisle says:


        I appreciate your insightful objectivity as always… I know you understand my timbre sensitivity in contrast to your technique sense…. alll part of what makes music endlessly fascinating.

        Thank you.

    • everett cox says:

      The singer and violin were constantly off pitch but I like her voice very much. Very full with good vibrato and good volume. When she gets control of her ears she will be a big star.

      • richardcarlisle says:

        Everett C.–

        She is a signigicant talent, probably needs better management…

        That violin was a bit too prominent also, but some of her notes shone through incredibly.

        If you like you can find on youtube several songs she wrote and performances going back about three years.

        A nice discovery.



    • @richardcarlisle
      [Hope you like the HL vocal competition performers.]
      Thanks for the youtube link. I also found the website with the winners in the particular categories, it is here with the youtube videos included:
      Don’t miss the little Mrs. Douglas (3rd video from below), I think she has a pleasent voice, but still needs to work to get the pitch right.

      @everett cox
      [The singer and violin were constantly off pitch but ...]
      I would like to hear this without the violin (and a little less reverb), not sure if the violin or the voice was the main cause for this.

      • richardcarlisle says:


        Miss Douglas has a charming voice especially for her age but those numerous pitch errors leave me wondering if she’s too weak in that area; hope not.

        I’ve seen enough of Eva’s performing to be convinced it’s mostly the fault of the violin in the Ave Maria… see if you can find her work from three years ago– excellent back then as well and OK stage presence… piano could smooth out a bit.

  58. richardcarlisle says:


    Also from 0:35 to 0:50…how exotic! quality tones like that are my greatest weakness by far.

  59. richardcarlisle says:

    I think the best is from 2;30 to 2;50 . to be equaled perhaps by few but surpassed… by who?

  60. mark justin says:

    this may be a different eva weingarten

    • @mark justin It seems like the same person who does quite a few different genres.
      The Ave Maria is not to my taste at all, too superficial.

      • richardcarlisle says:


        Her tone is clear here surprisingly but would you encourage someone to stress their voice this way— looks like fast track to ruination to me.

        And the Ave Maria– if it’s flat all the way through could that be something in the recording method/equipment…she could obviously use some better management, something at least comparable to what Jackie receives now.

  61. What I like about this girl’s voice is that she can genre hop and yet her CCM music is true to its self and sung in a manner appropriate for her age in addition to her Purcell.

    There are some technical issues, but she is musical, and has a sense of musical style and flair yet she is 16.

    Now much as Jackie Evancho is talented and charming, if I had the equivalent of this lass walk into my vocal studio tommorrow, I’d be very happy. I’d keep the diversity there. I’d be guided by her as far as her choice of the more contemporary was concerned (after doing a sanity check through the lyrics), then guide her through a sensible selection of Classical Theatrical Songs, Religious music and Art Song, again checking for the suitability of the lyrics.

    It is perfectly possible to combine CCM and Classical techniques in the same singer. From 16+ they actually benefit one another. This is one area where Estill got things right, and along with Dr Williams book would be my initial port of call in going forward. Singers are individuals, and each singer requires a tailor-made approach..

  62. @joanna I like this statement of your a lot: “Having the full music degree, and insisting I’m training musicians not instrumental technicians helps too. it means that there are parts of the singing teaching side of things that can be transferred lock, stock and barrel.”
    I used to get flak not only from piano teachers but others who said I shouldn’t bother with singing if I can play piano. There was a certain Japanese teacher who gave a masterclass back in 1989 who was really rude about it (won’t mention her name) but I told her quite frankly and openly it’s MY business what I want to do with it, and if only would be teaching, than so be it. Fortunately, I did manage to get some oratorio gigs here and there after I was settled in my own voice. (And, incidentally Jennie Tourel, said that a singer must find her own voice. It can’t really come from outside but something must click within.)
    The happy part of not listening to experts but instead to my own instincts is applying singing to piano teaching. My students as a rule are ahead of their peers in solfege since I get them to sing along with their playing. They have more of sense of line and phrase breathing.
    What I do most of the time in music, besides teaching, is in between the two poles, that is, accompaniment and chamber music. (if we’re ever in the same city, I could play for you.) Flamenco was also nice back then and an enrichment.

    • I’m glad you do!

      There is a lot of narrow-mindedness in music. I had people think I couldn’t be serious about the oboe because I was a first study singer… even though I played better than some of the first study oboists.

      Now I’m not going to be a concert pianist, but I’m glad I kept that going, and I’m glad I’ve kept my recorders going too and am not exactly “shabby” when it comes to any of these instruments.

      The same is true with singing. I benefitted from Classical Training, yet love music from various genres, nationalities and eras. I do not like my Jazz to sound like it came from a Wagner opera, not do I like my Puccini to sound like it has just been subjected to a major remix, and instead of a full-blooded lyrico-spinto soprano, it is being “covered” by a weedly little voice. Neither do I really want to listen to plainchant complete with wide vibrato, or R&B sung for the Broadway stage. None of these work. Each of the genres were fine as they stood, but fuse them and the result is an aesthetic mess.

      I’m a fan of solfege too. That and cleve for rhythm. The ability to sound out rhythms without concentrating on the notes is invaluable. Kodaly certainly got that bit right. Using Curwen to reinforce Solfege is based on that sound educational principle of using two learning styles to reinforce the other.

      Proper Flamenco, rather than “tourist Flamenco” is amazing. However, to find that, it is a case of looking in tapas bars off the beaten track rather than in the middle of resorts… Oh I am so pleased I pick up languages quickly!

      As for Jennie Tourel, now that is another great voice. I agree with her singers finding their own voices. I do not give students demonstration performances for that reason. I do not want to create clones, but people who own their performance.

  63. HSL: you stated that “Ombra mai Fui” was originally composed for Baritone.

    Not so. Considering the role of Xerses was first performed by Caferelli and he was a Castrato. The aria, and role is now performed either as a “trouser role” for Mezzo Soprano/Contralto” or by a Counter-Tenor.

    Of course men who are not falsettist love getting their hands onto this beautiful aria, but my Counter-Tenor friends tend to feel a bit short-changed as it is only really the Baroque composers who have left them a wealth of Operatic Arias to perform (There have been some composed in the 20th Century, but not nearly as many as there were during the Baroque).

    • @Joanna No, that was me (a mistake) but I did mention that the revivals of Serse in the early XXth century, the title role was sung by baritone. I would really like to know how Caffarelli would have sounded and how it would compare with today’s countertenors. I also wonder where all those men with high voices were hiding for about 200 years until the modern revival. To be honest, I am not a fan of that fach. I miss the chest tones when they are not part of an overall sound palette, men and women alike. Also, there is the structural question, what makes them different, if this can be demonstrated, but also to be honest, I never went into that area either.

  64. richardcarlisle says:

    typo: whether

  65. richardcarlisle says:


    You recently mentioned raining on parade… more like reigning maybe, but anyway you know if you ever agree with me the shock could be harmful– at least to me, don’t know what it would do to you.

    Maybe you’ll agree about Eva’s shout technique (hope not).

  66. richardcarlisle says:

    To everyone–

    This is Kelsey Lauritano, winner of the Hal Leonard voice competition that Eva was in at a lower age group where she won hon. men. .. Kelsy, from Julliard won the senior competition… there are many others to enjoy in the Hal Leonard competition found at youtube or just google

  67. richardcarlisle says:

    To everyone–

    Here’s the winner of the competition Eva was in… Hal Leonard vocal competition has many quality entries.

  68. richardcarlisle says:

    It’s all on youtube, enjoy.

    • richardcarlisle says:

      Sorry about duplicate… also, the competition is listed under HL vocal.

      • @richardcarlisle I am not a fan of mixing genres in such an extreme manner. “Coloring” the voice to achieve a certain timbre as in artificially darkening it, is not the same as having naturally rich low tones. The test is usually a monochrome or lack of flexibility in the assumed color.
        In this case the “shouted out” example takes the notes from below as it were (“belting” in Broadway parlance) that could prevent the floating on the air quality that one appreciates in an Ave Maria. I don’t think one can turn such techniques on or off so easily. I think a choice needs to be made, to do one or the other.
        Julie Andrews though didn’t compromise her own technique and did musical theatre very well.

        • richardcarlisle says:


          Julie Andrews was very accomplished in counteracting the prevailing belting buffoonery that Eva has sadly decided to experiment with endangering both her voice and. artisitc judgment IMHO.

          Now Laura Osnes is doing her part to uphold Julie’s standards.

  69. richardcarlisle says:

    RE: Eva Weingarten

    Here’s an earlier Ave Maria (age 13) without competing violin… great pitch, golden tone … what if someone had gotten her on a concert stage at this point with better accompaniment….management essential in this kind of career.

  70. richardcarlisle says:


    Here’s the right link, sorry.

  71. richardcarlisle says:

    Link may not work; if so type in eva weingarten age 13 Schubert Ave Maria (in youtube address bar).

  72. richardcarlisle says:

    CJ et al…

    Here’s Jackie’s fairly recent Bach Ave Maria… seems pretty flawless and age appropriate as well.


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