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Jackie Evancho to sing Grand Opera

At the risk of being avalanched by fans and sceptics on either side, we dutifully report that 11 year-old child star Jackie Evancho will appear in grand opera this Sunday.

Fresno Grand Opera.

The house has previously hosted Juan Diego Florez and Andrea Bocelli. Evancho arrives via America’s Got Talent.

From the Fresno Bee:

Ronald D. Eichman, general director of Fresno Grand Opera, noticed all the interest. “It’s been something we’ve been really closely tracking for a couple of years,” he says.

Eichman and the opera’s associate general director, Thi Nguyen, have cultivated a number of important contacts in the music industry in recent years…. One of those contacts is the producer and impresario David Foster, who worked with Evancho on her album.

“We elected to put her in Fresno first, second at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco,” Eichman says with a laugh. “Behind the scenes, we’re continuing to demonstrate what Fresno Grand Opera can do.”

Evancho’s program at Sunday’s concert will include such songs as “All I Ask of You,” “O Mio Babbino Caro” and “The Lord’s Prayer.” She’ll share the program with the young tenor Josh Page.


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  1. Thanks for posting this, Norman. It’s interesting, but what does an 11-year-old who happens to sing a few arias (whether well or badly is beside my point) have to do with this blog? Don’t readers come here to read about the arts and don’t readers regard Jackie as, well, irrelevant? I personally don’t see her as a threat to high art. But, given that you’ve posted about her (more than once), is it possible that you do see her as a threat? Why would that be? If you have an argument along those lines, I’d like to hear it. If I’m convinced I’ll do what I can to start a picket!

    • I don’t think it is out of place to report what an opera house is doing, especially when it is featuring a child that admittedly “doesn’t sing opera” although she will be singing operatic arias and is far from a developed voice to attempt such repertoire. Really, why don’t they give a chance to other kids in the California area enrolled in music schools and who can sing that kind of repertoire better than she does (without gasping for breath every few notes and without a tremolo in the lower range)? They should not be hard to find – or invite them from Juilliard.

      • Charles Hoff says:

        Gee, CJ, perhaps it’s because, to millions of people now, Jackie sounds better with her interpretation and presentation of certain opera arias than most opera professionals and students trained in the conventional way. And her natural interpretive skills extend to the non-opera music that is included in her concert repertoire. Your jab at her “gasping for breath every few notes, and without tremolo in the lower range” is misplaced. Have a listen to her singing the “Impossible Dream” . Or here, singing “Imaginer” (specially re-written for her by Lara Fabian) Gasping? No tremolo in the lower range? Duh.

        Why don’t “they” give a chance to other kids? It’s very simple. People want to see Jackie perform. She touches peoples emotions in ways that no one else in my experience comes close to. It’s why David Foster went across company lines to arrange and produce her Dream With Me album, PBS Great Performances concert, and has included her in his David Foster & Friends concerts here and in Japan. She’ll be at Muhammad Ali’s CelebrityFightNight charity event for a second time this year. It’s why she was asked to perform at the National Prayer Breakfast hosted by President Obama (as well as the following dinner). The list of prestigious events that Jackie has been invited to perform at grows by the day. Even Robert Redford was taken enough by her interpretive skills and stage presence to cast her as his daughter in his upcoming “The Company You Keep” motion picture. HE personally made the effort to inquire and invite her to audition. And he cast her immediately. It’s not because of novelty. It’s because she’s incredibly good at what she does.

        Like it or not, Jackie Evancho has already become a force in the direction and presentation of classical and classical-crossover music. She’s not an opera singer, and has emphatically denied that label. But she is destined to affect and reshape the presentation of the music, and make it accessible and enjoyable to millions of people who would otherwise have left it to the elitist few.

        • Charles Hoff says:

          The editor automatically blows off links:

          Impossible Dream


        • Just because YOU can’t hear it, doesn’t mean it is not there: “Or here, singing “Imaginer” (specially re-written for her by Lara Fabian) Gasping? No tremolo in the lower range? Duh”
          And who really cares what Obama’s (not known especially for refinement in any area) taste in music is ? Royal families have to listen to and attend to whatever is served up to them.
          No, she is not going to reshape anything in music. Such an idea is a silly dream of her public who devoutly desired to bring down those alleged snooty music intellectuals to their own level.
          Well, guess what? Perception of good music is similar to appreciation of Shakespeare. It doesn’t drop from trees or punch you in the gut with emotion. It takes work and effort to understand the language.
          It’s even a bigger joke with her poor diction of Italian and French that makes it even more endearing to the public. Who needs snooty correct pronunciation when you have “feeling”?

          • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:


            The shot about her poor Italian is a bit unfair. She’s actually improved it over the past 8 months, correcting some mistakes she’d been making for several years.

            Here’s the thing about reshaping music: Jackie is a commercial powerhouse. She had 3 of the top 4 albums on Billboard’s US classical charts for 2011 (which included Dec 2010 but not Dec 2011). In fact, if you split it into calendar years, Jackie sold more than a million albums for 2010 & more than a million in 2011, making her the top-selling classical albums artist in the US for 2 years in a row. You may object to Billboard’s conflation of classical crossover, or “light” classical, with true classical, but that’s not Jackie’s fault. Jackie has also been selling out concerts all over the US. And she’s introduced classical crossover music to thousands of people.

            You’ll just have to face it, her popularity can’t be ignored, & people in music have noticed. She’s brought new fans to classical music & even opera. Of course you may consider her fans the unwashed masses; if so,what then do you think of fans of other popular US musical genres (rock, rap, country-western, etc)? Are they “even less washed”?

            It’s pretty interesting that you manage to insult both the President of the US & the Royal Family of Japan in one short paragraph. Actually, Obama most certainly IS known for his refined grasp of the law – he was a law professor, after all – & he shows more refinement in a whole lot of areas than his predecessor, of course.

            Jackie has a great deal of technical skill, despite your comments. She has perfect pitch & very good pitch control. She has a rich timbre up & down her range, & is outstanding at hiding her passaggi between registers, allowing for mixed voice. Her breath support is excellent considering her tiny lungs. She has control over her timbre in very unusual ways; she can produce a child-like sound at will, all the way up to a very dark, adult-sounding voice, & anything in between. This evidently indicates voluntary control over the shape of her vocal tract that people normally have to practise for years to perfect. Oscilloscopic analysis has shown extra overtones in her singing that appear to be very unusual.

            And she doesn’t have any tremolo, which also requires a lot of practice. She has a chin waggle, yes, but that has also been improving.

          • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

            Jackie was also the #10 artist in US 2011 album sales overall, which actually is astonishing given her genre (which is far less popular in the US than the UK). She was significantly ahead of other “vocalists” like Groban, Bublé, Tony Bennett & Bocelli.

          • Charles Hoff says:

            ‘Kinda grinds you that Jackie Evancho is doing so well, doesn’t it?

            You dismiss Jackie’s repeated INVITATIONS to perform for movers and shakers who span the spectrum of success in business, politics, music, entertainment, charity, animal rights, faith, and royalty as meaning nothing. These people don’t have to settle or waste their time and reputations on anyone less than what they perceive is the very best in their eyes. It’s so sweet that you’ve placed yourself in a superior position of judgement to that of David Foster, Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, Warren Buffett, the Obama family, the Japanese Royal Family, Muhammad Ali’s Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, The Humane Society of the United States, Chefs for Seals, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Maestro Constantine Kitsopoulos, NPR, and PBS Great Performances (for whom her concert has raised more money than any other program). She’s performed with the Dallas, Atlanta, Omaha, Sun Valley Festival, Ravinia Festival, Boca Raton Festival of the Arts (with Young Stars of the Met), and Tokyo Symphony Orchestras, to name a few, with many other concerts and appearances.

            What have you done lately?

      • catmando says:

        Well juiceman you must know by now she only sang ONE aria-OMBC-and she has taken Nessun Dorma off her song list. You should be happy about that right?

        BTW I can’t think of anything that stinks more than cabbage juice…unless it’s a skunk, or that Century plant that blooms once every hundred years and smells like a rotting corpse(not hatin’ on you, just your username). :)

        Oh and Norm, your feeble attempt to belittle Jackie with the “grand opera” business is really weak and pathetic.

  2. Come on Norman, get off it. Dutifully my hiney. Jackie has brought you more attention then anyone and this is I believe your third round. This reminds me of the reporter Howard Cosell that road the coattails of Muhammad Ali for years to keep him in the limelight that was fading. In this case you’re riding the coattails of an 11 year old girl.

  3. mezzodiva54 says:

    Well, I guess one out of three isn’t bad. Too bad Fresno “Grand” Opera couldn’t get hold of your other story today, Julia Lezhneva. At the moment, they sound more like Fresno Light Opera to me.

  4. Stephen Runnels says:

    Those who are new to the Jackie Evancho experience are shocked, amazed, and just do not understand what they are hearing. (been there) but to those of us who have followed this little wonder the past two years have witnessed the growth in talent as well as the fantastic and capable ministrations of her parents and management. Unlike Charlotte Church, Jackie Evancho has the best vocal coaches and doctors in the world to monitor and guide her in her career. Jackie has a very limited performance schedule due to her age and the caring guidance of her parents. We should all be so lucky to have such an amazing entourage as Jackie does. We are witnessing the beginning of a musical legend, and the major music industry, as well as the President of the United States, The Japanese Royal Family, and fanatics all around the world understands this. Jackie Evancho will never be a statistic. Unlike other child stars, Jackie has many levels of social and technical buffers to protect her. You need but listen to one of her interviews to allay any fears she is under any kind of duress. Jackie is the perfect personification of little girl, singer, and performer. We are lucky to be alive to witness the amazing Jackie Evancho.

    • Here we go, one more time. Please name Jackie Evancho’s vocal coaches, who make her unlike Charlotte Church.

      • Hi Janey, It is useless to try to reason with such people who have no problem conflating 180 degree opposites such as Jackie doing everything by herself without any outside advice, including choosing the keys to sing in, and having the “best teachers and coaches”. As for Jackie and the rest of AGT crowd emerging fully formed from the head of Jove (whatever one might think of the “Estil” method):
        “(Yvie) Burnett became the vocal coach on the first three series of Britain’s Got Talent, and the vocal coach on America’s Got Talent (Series 4 and 5). She coached Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts in 2007, and contestants Faryl Smith and Andrew Johnston in 2008.[8] She also worked with Susan Boyle on I Dreamed A Dream – The Susan Boyle Story and also featured in the show.[9] In Summer 2010, while working in Los Angeles on America’s Got Talent, she started working with 10 year old singer, Jackie Evancho, and helped Jackie make her first recordings for Sony Music.” (from Wikipedia)

      • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

        Really, you can dispense with the endless Charlotte Church references. Charlotte began smoking & drinking, changed genres & had children; any deficiencies in technique were much less likely to cause her problems. Yes, Charlotte doesn’t have her high notes any more, & doesn’t use her head register much, but her lower register is powerful & beautiful. She’s now a mezzo, but is it unusual for young singers to change fachs like that?

        If you review Charlotte’s recordings over time, she had obvious vocal cord problems, with easily heard breathiness, between 2007 & 2010, which corresponded perfectly with her pregnancies (deliveries in Sept 2007 & Jan 2009). By 2011, it was significantly better, & she had a beautiful, powerful lower (chest) register.

        Besides Yvie, Jackie has consulted Dr Scott Kessler in New York, the “otolaryngologist of the opera stars,” & Dr Clark Rosen, otolaryngologist at the Univ of Pittsburgh; in the past she saw Lorraine Nubar (privately, not through the school), head of the Young Voices program at Juilliard.

        So until Jackie starts smoking, drinking, has children & changes genres, there is NO reason to bring up Charlotte Church AGAIN.

      • Janey, vocal coaches don’t make the difference between J
        ackie and Charlotte, but nice try at that!

        • Perhaps you and HomoSapiens should read the comment to which I was responding.

          From your compatriot, Stephen Runnels:

          “Unlike Charlotte Church, Jackie Evancho has the best vocal coaches and doctors in the world to monitor and guide her in her career.”

          This led me to ask – What “best vocal coaches in the world” make her “unlike Charlotte Church” as stated by Stephen?

          It seems this coaching statement is bunk. Jackie Evancho does not have the “best vocal coaches in the world.” She seems, in contrast, to have little guidance from trained individuals (no, I do not admit that a so-called coach living in the UK is sufficient.)

          If Ms. Evancho’s fans do not want to discuss her coaching, it would be best that they not initiate the conversation.

          • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

            In a previous post i named 2 of the ENT specialists Jackie has seen, both highly esteemed. They regularly treat the best singers, including the best opera singers.

            I also named 2 of the coaches she has seen, Yvie Burnett & Lorraine Nubar. Two others she has seen are Paula Signor-Richter & Sharon Pritchard.

      • catmando says:

        Actually, she has no coaches at this time. Her mother has said she can’t find any that suit her. The last one was dismissed in January after just a short time. I think they don’t want a coach changing the way she’s singing now, and I would have to agree. The only things she really needs at this stage are bigger lungs(which will come as she grows), better diction in languages other than English and stopping her chin wobble(which she is working on).

        And to underscore a point made above, Jackie does not sing opera. She sings operatic arias but she doesn’t have the training for serious opera and both she and her mother have said she has no interest in training for serious opera. Of course that may change as she matures, but at this time she prefers to sing the CC genre.

        You opera folks should be glad of her popularity; she will bring more people to opera singing O Mio Babbino Caro in her concerts than any of you will in your huge opera houses.

  5. Well, I assume Fresno Grand Opera is having financial difficulties. In that case, I hope this concert does well financially. It seems the need for money can override basic care.

    I had always believed it was the job of those within an opera company to ensure all singers are performing safely. All companies have a duty of care to performers, I thought. Can Mr. Eichman assure us that this has been confirmed with Ms. Evancho? Or is he only concerned about the money and “demonstrating what Fresno Grand Opera can do”, which is hire an 11 yr old to sing?

    Her schedule, from what I’ve seen since she was first discussed here is far from light, as suggested in this article. I accept that Ms. Evancho and her family may believe it is light. Certainly they won’t intentionally overschedule her. Yet it is not when dealing with an 11 yr old. A series of concerts, with performances every two days?

    • Janey, here you go repeating the same thing, do you always just cut and paste your old posts then edit them to fit the thread? Come on now, here’s Jackie’s schedule:
      February 26th – Fresno
      March 26th – San Francisco
      March 28th – Sacramento
      March 31st – West Valley, Ut
      June 3rd – Alpharetta, Ga
      June 6th – Charlotte, NC
      June 8th – Newark, NJ
      August 25th – Philadelphia, PA

      So three shows at the end of March and three shows at the beginning of June, two to three days in between. She sang thirteen song in a two hour concert, you think that this is overtaxing her?

      • Yes, and I think she has been performing constantly. Ms. Evancho’s past schedule is not available on her website. Is that for a reason?

        On another blog I less frequently read, an individual named “Classical Mika” put together a more accurate description of Ms. Evancho’s. schedule based on news reports.

        It begins last September, but I found a Wikipedia page with more of her schedule.

        There are, in fact, breaks, but the performing has been constant.

        April 2011 Sarasota, Florida United States Ringling Museum of Art
        July 31, 2011 Sun Valley, Idaho Sun Valley Pavilion
        August 5, 2011 Atlanta, Georgia Woodruff Arts Center
        August 7, 2011 Highland Park, Illinois Ravinia Pavilion
        August 26, 2011 Omaha, Nebraska Peter Kiewit Concert Hall
        August 31, 2011 Dallas, Texas

        Then, from Classical Mika:


        Sept 15, performance of Nessun Dorma on America’s Got Talent, LA
        Followed by television promotion

        Oct 16 – Pittsburgh, PA concert with Pittsburgh Opera. [added]

        Oct 19 concert in Tokyo, Japan (David Foster)
        Oct 20 concert in Tokyo, Japan (David Foster)

        Nov 7 – NYC concert

        Dec 8 – performance for WSJ (numerous songs?)
        December 15 – Buffalo, NY concert
        December 17 – Atlantic City, NJ concert
        December 20 – Pittsburgh, PA concert
        Dec 29 – Las Vegas concert

        January 11 – Japan, Musical Meets Symphony concert performance
        January 13 – Japan full Concert
        Imperial performance, Japan
        tv promotional appearances, Japan

        Feb 2 Wash CD performance

        Feb 22
        Feb 24
        Feb 26
        March 26
        March 28
        March 31
        June 3
        June 6
        June 8
        Aug 25


        This does not include recording two CDs and the promotion of those CDs.

        • Stephen Runnels says:

          I find it both amusing and distasteful that all of the critics of Jackie Evancho do so from the periphery of any direct experience.

          Yes, Janey, Jackie has performed many times for many people, including The President of the United States, not once, but twice. The Japanese Royal Family requested her for their daughter, Aiko. The interest in Jackie is phenomenal considering the type of music she sings and the age range of her fans. Sellout crowds and Platinum and Gold selling CD’s are a consistent reality for this 11 year old.

          Jackie Evancho could very well stay home and play with her friends more than she does already, go to regular school every day, play video games and hang out, do the normal common activities a girl her age will do. This would of course make you comfortable and happy. This of course would be unnatural for someone like Jackie who is far from normal and average. This would make her very unhappy as well. To demonstrate such disdain and false perceptions regarding Jackie and her family is at best petty and vindictive on a level only you understand. If you feel so strongly against this little girl and her abilities I suggest you make the effort and go to the source of your discomfort; go to a performance, have a meet and greet with Jackie to witness for yourself her guileless exuberance. Then return here with a better understanding of the person you denigrate.

          • Joe Dumlao says:

            Stephen, It really is amusing that they feel that they know all about what a prodigy should do and be like. Yet they do not show any interest in finding out what the real situation is with Jackie. You would think that with all of the knowledge that they supposedly have that they would be able to see that they really know nothing about what they are talking about when it comes to Jackie. I wonder how many have even seen her performan once or even watched a video, probably very few, and if they have watched a videom it was probably of Jackie when she was 7 – 9 years old. She has grown so much since then, not just in stature, but; in her understanding of the music and other things. You can’t explain this to them it seems because they just don’t want to see reality for what it is. It is sad that they spend so much time and energy being wrong, when if they just took about a couple of hours and saw a live performance that they would know that what they are saying is grossly unfounded.

          • That is interesting, Joe. I went out of my way to research Ms. Evancho’s schedule, although I quite obviously did not find what you wanted. What I found made me more concerned, not less. More knowledge equaled more concern. I suspect others here would follow the same pattern.

        • Joe Dumlao says:

          If she doesn’t tour, how does she build and keep her fan base? Performer performs or is that too hard to accept. There are months when she does 1 show or none at all. There are appearances when she does 1 or two songs and sometimes a few more. Some of these appearances are also part of a family break, where after the performance they have a family min-vacation. The BGT was one of these mini-vacations where they did sightseeing in London. It’s not all work and no play, you seem to think that she doesn’t get to be a kid at all.

        • This is about caring for a growing voice & Fresno Grand Opera’s complicity in potential harm to that voice. It has nothing to do with “being a kid.”

          How can she “build her fanbase”? You are suggesting that every one of these concerts are essential to her “career”? She couldn’t have done one or two instead of three? Well, if they are, then it’s too soon for this level of career.

          I have no problem with her singing or performing occasionally. However, this level of performing has great potential to be dangerous over a number of years. She has started the “clock” on her vocal cords very young, and if you talk to any trained singer, they’ll tell you that is the worst thing to do.

          Not only this, the younger she is, the more wear that can accumulate over time.

          This is a foolish schedule. As I said, I accept that the family thinks this schedule is safe and “light,” although I wonder if they’ve looked at it on one page. It is not either.

          My point at the beginning was that Mr. Eichman and the Fresno Grand Opera should know this. Instead, they have chosen money.

          • If you accept that the family thinks this schedule is safe and light, why are you continuing on with this matter. What credentials make you an authority regarding Jackie, especially if you don’t know how she is being looked after. You are making assumptions that she is not being professionally cared for and looked after.

          • Janet, why are you so concerned about this eleven year old girl? I’m not accusing you of anything, I would just like to know your motivation for making this particular person the object of your crusade. The only thing I can conclude is that your concern is wider, that you want to help all talented children exploited by the greedy parents and the entertainment industry.

            From the persistence and consistency of your posts on this issue, I wonder that you haven’t contacted the Philadelphia children’s aid (or have you?). It’s probably not impossible to get social services involved in the cities where Jackie is going to perform. You could show them the schedule, have them view a few of the videos readily available on YouTube, and let them judge if the child is being exploited or not.

            If they confirm your suspicions and you manage to get them to shut down Jackie and Co. down, then that would be proof that you’re onto something. You might then found a Free the Children society to ensure that other boys and girls are not similarly exploited by their child-abusing parents. I’m sure you’d get lots of donors; certainly Norman Lebrecht would donate. Don’t think I’m being sarcastic. I’m just following the train of thought you put me on, and this is where it led me.

        • Thanks for providing Mika’s info, thus proving Jackie has a rather light schedule. Do you always shoot yourself in the foot?

        • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:


          Jackie is recording TWO CDs this year? I guess you know something nobody else knows. She has announced plans to record a CD this spring, to be released in the fall.

          So she had 8 concerts (she only participated in one of the David Foster October concerts in Japan), plus 2 more appearances (one song each on AGT & the WSJ) from Sep through Dec 2010. In the 1st 8 months of 2012, she had/has 11 concerts (when she sings ~45 mins each, with breaks), plus 3 appearances where she sang 2 songs each, 5-8 mins each.

          That’s 19 concerts in a year, barely 1 every 3 weeks; plus 5 one or two-song appearances in a year. We don’t actually know how much time she’ll be spending recording her CD; in the past she’s recorded very, very quickly.

          That is not an extremely heavy schedule, & she has long breaks in between to relax & be a child.

          • She recorded two CDs in 2011, which were added to the other performances she did. This is why I used the past tense.

            Yes, it is a heavy schedule for a child’s vocal cords. It is extremely heavy and unprecedented (for a supreme reason). All of her fans are treating this child as if her vocal cords are grown. They are not.

            Someone above asked why I care. Why wouldn’t I if I see a child doing things that are harmful? Why wouldn’t I care?

            Her family is part of a huge label, being advised by a man not known in classical circles for his particular care for the voice. There is absolutely no one around this child who knows the voice, although they may have convinced the family that they do.

            I suppose Ms. Evancho will either survive with her vocal cords in tact or she will not. There is no opportunity for any discussion with anyone from her fandom or otherwise. I am sorry for that, but I wish the child the very best of luck and I hope she is still able to sing at age 18.

        • Janey was concerned about Evancho’s performing, even though she showed that Evancho performs between one and three full-length concerts per month:

          Sept 15, performance of Nessun Dorma on America’s Got Talent, LA
          Followed by television promotion

          Yes, that’s only one song; each TV appearance is one song, and she has only done one on any given day.

          Oct 19 concert in Tokyo, Japan (David Foster)
          Oct 20 concert in Tokyo, Japan (David Foster)

          These were each two songs. They were not Jackie’s concerts – she was just a guest artist in David’s concerts.

          Dec 8 – performance for WSJ (numerous songs?)

          No, this was just one song: The first Noel. Here is the interview, and it has a blue link to the song:

          January 11 – Japan, Musical Meets Symphony concert performance

          This was two songs for Jackie as part of a concert with several young Japanese singers.

          Imperial performance, Japan
          tv promotional appearances, Japan

          She sang 3 songs for the imperial family, and she sang one song each on two different TV talk shows.

          Feb 2 Wash CD performance

          She sang two songs at the National Prayer Breakfast and four songs at the dinner.

  6. Here I go again repeating myself. Please forgive me. I too am getting old and forgetful.

    Jackie Evancho DOES NOT SING OPERA!

    Really? Says who?

    Jackie Evancho!


  7. SInging a couple of watered down arias in pop style is not “grand opera”, as much as her fans would like to believe it is. But as a gimmick it will attract a lot of attention and money, too.

    • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:



      None of Jackie’s fans (nor her family, nor others around her, nor Jackie herself) has EVER said Jackie sings grand opera, nor any other kind of opera. When members of the news media have called her an opera singer, she used to correct them, making it clear she’s a classical crossover singer, but now she has evidently given up on that, since they keep repeating it.

      So sorry, her “fans don’t want to believe she is singing grand opera.” Period.

    • “Watered-down arias”??? What does that mean exactly? Lower key? Phrases taken out of the piece? I have an idea, stinky juice…find someone with her DWM cd and listen to it. If you find any water in it please come back and tell us.

  8. HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

    Just to clarify, Jackie does not sing opera of any sort, grand or otherwise. She is a classical crossover singer who occasionally sings operatic arias in concert, with amplification (which reduces the risk of damage to her young voice) & key changes as needed (neither of which would be possible in an opera). She has been giving concerts at multiple venues with local orchestras, some of which have been associated with operatic institutions. She also has occasionally sung, in concert, with opera singers (“Young Stars of the Met”).

  9. from Tim Page : Jackie Evancho and the problem for prodigies

    • polarbytes says:

      @Karen, what is the purpose of posting this link, which has been beaten to death? It ads nothing which is germain to this discussion. Norman wasn’t weighing in on what is wrong with her singing this repertoire, he was merely, I think, commenting on her desire to help the opera community, LOH!

  10. By spitting vitriol as you do here you make a poor ambassador for high art. I have to think you a fraud, because instead of sly, subtle, repartee, which one might expect from the well educated, we get “Well, guess what”, “even a bigger joke”, “Duh”, and that sneering last sentence. Instead of building a persuasive argument, you use capital letters? I really can’t imagine Noel Coward (or Norman Lebrecht for that matter) owning you as a fellow sophisticate. Your opponents may or may not see Miss Evancho in the correct light, but, patently, you are not the person to convince anyone of that.

  11. @HomoSapiensLaptopicus Madonna, Lady Gaga and quite a few others topped the charts. Now there is Adele who doesn’t have half the looks of the former and simply barks out the music. Being on the top of the heap doesn’t mean or prove anything except very good PR. By the way, Liszt had a very clever impressario who paved the way for his virtuoso concerts to make sure there were swooning women in the audience. But at least he had something of musical substance to offer the public. Many of the big name performers of the 19th century fizzled out like Julien (ever hear of him?) as fast as they flashed in.

    Unless you are a singing teacher, don’t talk about a subject you don’t know about – vocal technique. The excuses her fans make for instance: “Her mistakes in Italian ware getting better. She has a chin waggle, yes, but that has also been improving..” No, you got it ALL wrong. Problems and errors are sorted out BEFORE a student is allowed to go on stage. Otherwise, in a demanding performance schedule, problems become bad habits notoriously difficult to break, including diction. One compounds errors in an exponential manner. They become practically set in stone.

    Everyone is going on about her “tiny body” and “tiny lungs” – well, why not wait for her to grow up? But really, what is so unusual about a person of small stature making a lot of sound? Ever hear of Edith Piaf, Natalie Dessay, Maria Stadter or Olga Pasichnyk? The latter is an excellent singer, not very large as a person but with a big voice.

    There is no excuse for the amount of gasping that Jackie is forced to do in order to force the sound into the resonators. It is highly unnatural. As her technique is not yet developed, it should NOT be anywhere near onstage. Her lower range is practically non-existent that turns into a very breathy quality (tremolo) about a third above middle C, not good at all. From your post: “And she doesn’t have any tremolo, which also requires a lot of practice.” How can you ‘practice’ not having a tremolo? You either have it or you don’t. Or, put simply, you either have good breath production or you don’t.

    • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

      Perhaps you should look up the definition of tremolo. It has nothing to do with breathiness, which is indeed a significant problem for singers – but it’s not tremolo.
      Just look this up on the internet & inform yourself – or do a search & look it up in other places.

      • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

        In fact, is even more precise:
        “…tremolo effect, in which dynamic level (volume) changes while pitch remains the same…”

        Breathiness? Sorry, it’s something different.

        • According to Cornelius Reid (“Bel Canto”, “The Free Voice”, etc.), and other professionals in the business who sing and teach (including myself), “tremolo” is commonly used to refer to a wavering sound when the tone is NOT supported properly.. Other terms like “vibrato” or “wobble” are also used, admittedly not very precisely, but the common denominator is incorrect breathing.
          A free vocal tone as described by Reid does have a natural vibration pointed out by Mozart’s father, Leopold, to apply “what nature suggests” to string playing. Higher tones and voices have faster oscillations. (You can look that up yourself.)
          The problem with Jackie’s lower range is the high breathing and forcing into the resonators that cannot be applied in her case below a certain pitch, so that is where the breathiness and the wavering tones are most obvious. This usually happens to pop singers in their later years but is excused and even cultivated as an expressive device when the rest of their voices are gone. But when done by young people, not on purpose, but because of struggling with an undeveloped technique, it is totally wrong.

          • Thank you, cabbagejuice.

            I don’t think it’s any secret that her lows are forced, tight and manipulated in some way. The question for me is what effect singing in this way might have over a length of time with the schedule she is on. I wish we could say for sure, because it is also no secret that she seems to love singing.

          • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:

            You could have said “wobble” or “breathy wobble” & not confused people, especially instrumental musicians, by saying “tremolo.” The latter is much more accepted as a variation in volume only, as my references proved.

  12. Stephen Runnels says:

    For Janey and others who don’t know enough about Jackie, this was her first CD produced and sold in 2009 when Jackie was 9 years old. I must repeat what I said before, Jackie Evancho is too valuable as a daughter to Mike and Lisa Evancho, to her immediate family, her extended family of coaches, doctors, management, and of course we fans, and as just as a little girl to be used, abused, and treated as anything less than a legend in the making. This is not hyperbole; this is the reality of an amazing, talented young lady

    • Stephen Runnels says:

      Just for your edification; I believe this is to be the Highest Paid for a “Prelude To A Dream” CD on Ebay.
      “ Authentic Jackie Evancho Autographed Prelude to a Dream CD
      SALE ENDED February 25, 2012 at 12:00 PST – ITEM # 290671161338; $ 3,933.83 USD”.

      For Janey and others who don’t know enough about Jackie, this was her first CD produced and sold in 2009 when Jackie was 9 years old. I must repeat what I said before, Jackie Evancho is too valuable as a daughter to Mike and Lisa Evancho, to her immediate family, her extended family of coaches, doctors, management, and of course we fans, and as just as a little girl to be used, abused, and treated as anything less than a legend in the making. This is not hyperbole; this is the reality of an amazing, talented young lady!

      • “Too valuable” – you said a mouthful here – $130+ tickets and $4K signed CD’s! But not “too valuable” to renounce money, fame and pleasure for a couple years if there is even a slight risk of vocal or psychological damage? And for over the hill prodigies, like Charlotte Church, it is not for certain what precedes what. Is it alcohol causing a vocal decline or the unbearable disappointment in not being on the top of the world anymore and shoved aside in favor of some other new sensation? Enjoy the ride, folks!

        • Charles Hoff says:

          cabbagejuice and Janey:
          Your disingenuous concern for the welfare of Jackie Evancho is exceeded only by the concern a crocodile has for its next prey. Enjoy your own rides.

  13. Al Rostkowski says:

    To change the discussion, Jackie Evancho is perhaps the most exceptional American child phenomenon since actress Shirley Temple in the 1930’s. Although the two are not comparable in their artistic gifts, both had and have something that Actors Studio, Juilliard School, Peabody Conservatory of Music, American Repertory Theatre, etc. can’t teach their students, vis., the ability to cause audiences too gape in disbelief at the miracle they are fortunate enough to be experiencing. The world fell in love with Shirley Temple. The world is now falling in love with Jackie Evancho. Let’s showcase our little ambassador. She’s what our world needs now just as the world needed Shirley Temple during the Depression years.

    I am not surprised by the musical professionals and quasi-musical critics quibbling over how they would have raised Jackie had she been their child – they did the same thing with Shirley’s parents. I, however, shiver in horror at the thought that either child might have been denied revealing their God-given gifts to “save their abilities for adulthood”. In one month we will no longer be saying “11-year-old soprano… ” The gift is not in the future – it is now.

    Jackie knows who she is. More importantly, her parents know her and are encouraging her. Let’s all encourage this wonderful gift from God to do as she desires: “I promise, I’ll do the very best I can.” I, for one, know in my heart that she will.

    • You post makes me shiver with horror. Does it matter to you that amount of manipulation and abuse Shirley Temple had to go through just to give the world a distraction from its financial bungling? And as everyone knows, Temple did not survive the passage from child prodigy to successful adult. Most of the big money made in her childhood was frittered away. What did it leave her? A has-been for the rest of her life.

      I was listening to a recent recording of Jackie singing Ombra Mai Fu with the Pittsburgh Opera. It is downright bad. I don’t know how any of the presumably educated musicians were able to tolerate it, much less put if on stage. She can barely make it through the first note and so has to spit out the rest of the syllable in order to continue belting out the rest of an aria which is supposed to be about sylvan peace. At least, if she were such a developed singer for her age as you all say, she should be able to float the whole aria the way it should be and it would be beautiful in her own voice. This is at least what she would do if she were using her gift the way it should be handled and not exploiting it for the gratification of so many selfish people.

      • Al Rostkowski says:

        You made my “shiver in horror” point. The world was blessed by you not being her parent.

        Here’s what Shirley’s wiki-site said this “has-been” did with her miseable existence:

        “She was appointed Representative to the 24th United Nations General Assembly by President Richard M. Nixon (September – December 1969), and was appointed United States Ambassador to Ghana (December 6, 1974 – July 13, 1976) by President Gerald R. Ford. She was appointed first female Chief of Protocol of the United States (July 1, 1976 – January 21, 1977), and was in charge of arrangements for President Jimmy Carter’s inauguration and inaugural ball. She served as the United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia (August 23, 1989 – July 12, 1992), having been appointed by President George H. W. Bush.”

      • Charles Hoff says:

        “I was listening to a recent recording of Jackie singing Ombra Mai Fu with the Pittsburgh Opera. It is downright bad”

        A textbook example of auditory dyslexia.

  14. M. Sims says:

    Janey and cabbagejuice,
    Name the list of professional singers who seek your advice and/or you mentor and then prove it.

    I dont believe either of you are professionals even though you want people to believe you are.

    You can claim that her schedule is heavy but its not and you know its not.
    I cant think of any other major artist who performs three shows with several breaks during the performance
    and then takes a month off.

    Lets get this right btw, she performs 1 opera aria and its transposed down well within her range,
    its a crossover variation and its not sung like any opera singer would sing it either.

    • There’s a more than passing resemblance here to Adel Jones, who performed as a boy soprano in the early 1980′s, not only in singing but in repertoire. The phrasing of the “Pie Jesu” done excellently by him and on youtube, could not have been unnoticed by the vocal coaches who prepared Jackie, as it is so similar. He also recorded among others: Ave Maria, Ombra Mai Fu (the way it is supposed to be done – by “such a young person!!”), and Christmas songs. Sound familiar?
      Of course, one would expect that young people and their teachers do not work in a void and use examples by others as springboards for their own interpretations. So much for those aggressive fans who insist Jackie was sprung from the head of Jove and “does everything by herself”. Also if one is familiar with Kathleen Battle’s grab in the throat, “Lovers”, the resemblance to Jackie’s version is more than coincidental.
      What bothers me here is not so much the girl who is in the middle of all this but the spin of all the vultures who are taking full advantage. They can at least tell the truth.

  15. Charles Hoff says:

    It looks like 15-time Grammy Award winner Tony Bennett enjoyed his experience recording “When You WIsh Upon A Star” with Jackie for his “Duets II Special Edition” CD. He and Jackie will be sharing the stage (along with 40-piece orchestra) on September 2nd, 2012 at the Ironstone Amphitheater, nestled in the Sierra foothills in Murphys, California (Calaveras County of Mark Twain story fame).

    Alas, yet another respected performer has chosen to take pity on poor little Jackie before she drowns in the cabbagejuice of obscurity.

  16. No one has to provide proof of professional expertise in order to state facts. On the contrary, the more factual observations one can make bolsters the case for being in the know. The fact is most opera companies are broke and would pander as low as they can to the public for money and attention (not to mention has-been singers). The sleaze that is put on the stage of so many of them is a proof of catering to the lowest common denominator.
    Jackie’s singing is not exactly “crossover” but a shrewedly manipulated technique of separating syllables and giving that little push of pathos to each one. As I have been in music and singing for a long time, there is no way I am going to believe that she made it up herself and is not being coached intensely to do just that.
    What is being sold to the public mainly is her timbre because the line itself is not clean and frequently wavers in the lower range. She has admitted she doesn’t know all the exact meanings of the words she sings in other languages which further reinforces the astute observation of the person who pointed it out that she “pecks” at each syllable, mainly in non-English repertoire, but employed very cleverly in “Lovers”. Once you know what is going on and penetrate the smokescreen hype, it all looks very amateurish.

  17. Yes, Bristol, she is a threat. The tired argument that she’ll bring in people who would never have explored the genre’ has always proven bogus. Arts funding continues to dwindle as millions of dollars pander daily to mindless emotional manipulation. If CH is right that “ millions of people now, Jackie sounds better with her interpretation and presentation of certain opera arias than most opera professionals and students trained in the conventional way” I guess Pavarotti wouldn’t have a chance now eh? I recall when millions were glued to their sets watching the three tenors. I thought it was a sign for the future. Once again, we’re reinventing the square wheel.

  18. chrisssy says:

    Janey and Cabbagejuice; Your words are full of prideful venom, tinged with snobbery and mean guile. Who cares what you think? We all love Jackie, she is a breath of fresh air in the USA which in my mind is full of Godless behavior, and the evidence of that reported on a daily basis in our news! This girl brings peace and pleasure to our hearts, and to me, evokes a glimpse of what we will hear in Heaven. Oh rejoice, we have been given a gift again from our loving God, and she is from the US.!

    • Stephen Runnels says:

      What motivates these two to constantly berate a little girl who brings such joy and comfort to so many people? Such comments from them regarding her parents and mentors are unsubstantiated and certainly uncalled for. I respectfully suggest Janey and Cabbagejuice leave her be Jackie Evancho and find a talent more to their liking.

  19. And you all want to believe that you are living the millennial miracle and don’t want to see how contrived it all is. And it is also funny to read how ‘heavenly’ it is supposed to be, yet these same fans use such language as venom, snobbery and guile – actually their own venom is usually much worse.
    Please listen to Aled Jones as a boy soprano and hear the more than coincidental similarities. Is he supposed to be the John the Baptist that paved the way? Of course no one will give him credit for that. He actually sang better at the same age so public taste must be deteriorating. The Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra has no business accompanying such undeveloped singing. It was painful to watch and listen to.

    • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:


      You said
      “As I have been in music and singing for a long time, there is no way I am going to believe that she made it up herself and is not being coached intensely to do just that.”

      OK, why don’t you listen to what Jackie says. I can’t post actual URLs, so you’ll have to fix this. It’s at about the 5:00 mark:
      (http colon slash-slash triple-w dot youtube dot com slash) watch?v=AxYLQz95t9U

      In short, no coach or teacher, no “intensive coaching” to make any sort of “contrived sound.” Or maybe you’d prefer to call her a liar to her face.

      Yes, i listened to Aled Jones. You’ll have to add the usual stuff from above:
      (slash) watch?v=31D3Pten13g

      Sorry, although Aled is very good, Jackie’s timbre is much warmer, more “rounded” & better integrated. Aled’s timbre varies across his range; his low notes are much “coarser.” Jackie’s timbre is remarkably consistent across her registers, & of course she’s excellent at hiding the passaggi between them. Jackie’s phrasing is different. Aled crescendoes almost every syllable, a cute effect the 1st hundred times you hear it, but sorry, it gets tiresome. In Aled’s defense, his pitch control is excellent, & personally i love the harmony. Still, all in all, Jackie is significantly better (JMO).

      • This is wishful thinking and not true: “Sorry, although Aled is very good, Jackie’s timbre is much warmer, more “rounded” & better integrated. Aled’s timbre varies across his range; his low notes are much “coarser.” Jackie’s timbre is remarkably consistent across her registers, & of course she’s excellent at hiding the passaggi between them.”
        What cannot be denied, except to the tone-deaf: her constant gasping for breath (high breathing), singing separate syllables in non-English repertoire, the obvious difference in timbre between the head voice (her natural voice) and the middle which more or less proves it is a contrived tone, that is, pushing into the resonators, a grainy lower range (that Aled cannot be accused of at all).
        Aled’s “Pie Jesu” had to be the template for which a knowledgeable Scottish singer who coached her for BGT MUST have been aware. Admittedly, he seemed to have been pushed into that repertoire a bit too early as the tone does waver here and there. So this is even more a warning from history.

        • HomoSapiensLaptopicus says:


          Evidently we won’t agree.

          Aled is the one with the “grainy lower range,” not Jackie. Anyway, i thought you said Jackie had a breathy wobble below A3. Now it’s “grainy”?

          Actually, Jackie is so good it’s very, very difficult to tell which register she’s in. She’s fooled many, many vocal experts. (Note when i say “register” i mean ONLY the pattern, or Eigenmode, of vocal fold vibration.)

          Yes, Jackie’s lungs are small, requiring frequent breaths, but she most certainly DOES breathe from the diaphragm, & always has. You’d know that if you watched all her old vids, when she literally placed one hand over her abdomen to remind herself about how to breathe correctly. Here are some examples (IF the URLs come out correctly):

          Listen to her low register in the latter, BTW.

          Did you listen to Jackie’s interview? Is she just lying about not having coaching? You were absolutely convinced she was being “coached intensely” to produce her “contrived” sound. Were you just wrong there, or is she lying?

          Jackie’s phrasing is far, far more like Andrew Johnston’s phrasing. I’ll take his versions over those of Aled Jones any day. He was very, very good.

    • chrisssy says:

      No my friend – this lovely girl is not contrived – she is a gift from God. Simple and easy to understand in the realm of joy and love, and what He who is our Creator can do.
      I prefer to use words to produce loveliness, which this child is. Not to denigrate. Enjoy her beautiful and sweet voice, know that she is innocent, and pure and not given into the world. I did not mean to offend you cabbagejuice and Janey. Be at peace, and God Bless you all!!!

  20. catmando says:

    I believe the key is what the doctors say about her instrument. If they say to back off, the Evanchos will take their advice. They don’t want her to injure her vocal apparatus. As mentioned above, she has the best vocal physicians in the United States, and Dr. Kessler has given her a clean bill of health.

    As to long-term injury, well I guess we’ll just have to wait because the jury is still out on that. Personally, I believe she’ll still be singing at 18. I believe she’ll still be singing at 28, and at 38, 48, 58 and 68. Unfortunately i won’t be alive much past her 18th birthday(I’m 68 now) but I’m quite sure she will have a long and successful career.

  21. You still don’t get it. Doctors don’t have a clue as to the effect of long term BAD vocal habits. The whole business is yet another Potemkin Village sold to a gullible public – physicians, coaches, “Norman Rockwell family”, etc.. It’s only by chance if the abused voice of the girl in the middle holding it all together will survive.

  22. catmando says:

    Jackie works on her low range a lot. She sang Bach’s Ave Maria on AGT which is the hardest version to sing with all the interval jumps into her low range. Guess what…she nailed it. Very few sopranos can sing as low as Jackie can.

    • Most sopranos can sing a D below middle C. Actually, one doesn’t “work” on the lower range. When the voice is well placed and relaxed, the notes just settle there. Her “Ave Maria” is not good at all. You like her timbre, that’s all, and that is what the Jackie & Co. is selling to the public.
      To answer HomoSapiensLaptopicus’s claim about her low notes in Memory, they are barely recognizable. You people don’t have a clue about vocal technique and also have your ears on backwards. The silly business about “tiny lungs” needing to catch a breath all the time, well, how do kids stay under water for more than a minute? Vocal emission does not need more pressure than the minimum which is what the old Schola Cantorum used to teach. If a lit candle placed in front of a chorister went out, they were using too much breath.

  23. Well I know very little about vocal techniques and training so I won’t go there with you. Yes Jackie could use some training and coaching. She’s not perfect by any means.But I love her tone and timbre. I love her effortless passaggios too. Her perfect pitch sense and her warm, round tones speak to our brains’ longing for perfection. It is no accident that many people cry during her performances. She doesn’t “sell” that. None of that is contrived. It’s her natural vocal apparatus. That’s what she offers to the public and that’s why her concerts are almost always sold out now.

    Jackie will be 12 next month so her puberty will be coming soon. Her voice may get better or it may get worse. She may drop down out of her soprano range or she may not, we’ll have to wait and see. I will err on the side of optimism and say her voice will improve greatly.

  24. Jackie is BEST :) amazing voice

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