Evancho Raises Stark Questions about Child Stars and Their Parents

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Jackie Evancho Jackie Evancho (Mark Davis/Getty Images)

Child prodigies are nothing new. Mozart began composing at age five, Chopin was performing at seven and Mendelssohn created masterpieces at 16. More recently, Jackie Evancho, an 11 year-old contender in the TV show "America’s Got Talent" topped the US classical record charts last year and became a staple of PBS fundraisers and concert stages. Some believe she can help bring classical music to new audiences.

But while her achievements are celebrated, they also raise questions about how she and other young artists can maintain a career. How far can gifted children be pushed -- and what lies in store for their future?

In this podcast, three guests join host Naomi Lewin: Tim Page, a former New York Times and Washington Post music critic, and a professor of music and journalism at the University of Southern California; Robert White, the operatic tenor and voice teacher who got his start as a child singer in the 1940s; and Bill Palant, a vice president and artist manager at IMG Artists, who oversees the careers of many top singers as well as young up-and-comers.

"You get into this kind of sick thing where it becomes how young you are. It retards the whole idea of growing into a mature adult because your age becomes your enemy. No one cares about what you're doing when you're thirty." --Tim Page

"She sings to millions and millions of people around the planet. Someone listening to Jackie Evancho on 'America's Got Talent' singing this opera aria might -- I hope -- be sparked into thinking 'hey, what's that? That's really pretty. I'd like to know more about this guy Puccini.'" --Bill Palant

"It's the exploitation on one hand by the parents and whoever gets to handle these people that can lead them down the wrong paths and then what the audience is expecting of them. A lot of times, it's an audience that has not spent time with the fine points of really good bel canto singing." --Robert White

Weigh in: Do listen to Jackie Evancho? What should be the role of child stars in classical music?


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Comments [247]

Allan Payne from Cincinnati, OH

Sorry about the 2 identical posts - the first one did not seem to be there and so I posted again.

Jul. 17 2014 01:53 PM
Allan Payne from Cincinnati, OH

To Jane Jones334:

Your elitist review of Jackie Evancho might as well be labeled "The Girl Who Has No Clue How to Sing." She has "poor technique," "strains," and "screams" you say. Really? What has been absolutely noticeable to me is that she used total relaxation to reach her high notes, which is exactly what Dame Eva Turner taught me in the 60's. It's no secret Jackie modeled herself after Sarah Brightman, particularly in going after the upper register notes.

"Wobbles her chin" is usually NOT intentional by singers and needs to be unlearned; it is clear she has been working on this. As to stage presence, regardless of your assertion on her supposed tension, her presence is remarkably professional, considering her age. Yes, she has strong vibrato - has she intentionally manufactured it, as you claim? That's an assumption on your part that you cannot possible know. Does it mean it will be out of control in the future - that's an assumption on your part that you cannot possible know.

Has her voice been electronically altered, as you assert? My experience in being in front of a microphone, both professionally and informally for 60 years, is "no"! Her fans love the way she gets her low notes; you hate the way she does it. Given the fact hat she had no voice lessons at all her first several years, this was a product of her knowing her own body and how to get those notes. Key point: you don't like it - fine! Is it an issue? No. And, how is it that we hear the same tone in her live performances as in her studio performances? This belies your assertion that it's all reverb, echo, alteration, and other electronic doctoring of her voice, unless all venues in which she sings all over the world are in this little "conspiracy," as must be true if you are correct.

As to training, from the beginning she has known how to sing - complete relaxation! My worry is that she would be ruined by training!!! I have seen few teachers who know how to get this result. In fact, just recently I have noticed "training" in her voice, and the inspiring quality she used to have is now a somewhat diminished. I attribute this to taking her away from her original, natural approach to voice production.

The only thing that is "criminal" is your inability to know what true, talented genius really is. What a shame.

Allan in Cincinnati

Jul. 17 2014 01:47 PM
Allan Payne from Cincinnati, Ohio

To Jane Jones334:

Your elitist review of Jackie Evancho might as well be labeled "The Girl Who Has No Clue How to Sing." She has "poor technique," "strains," and "screams" you say. Really? What has been absolutely noticeable to me is that she used total relaxation to reach her high notes, which is exactly what Dame Eva Turner taught me in the 60's. It's no secret Jackie modeled herself after Sarah Brightman, particularly in going after the upper register notes.

"Wobbles her chin" is usually NOT intentional by singers and needs to be unlearned; it is clear she has been working on this. As to stage presence, regardless of your assertion on her supposed tension, her presence is remarkably professional, considering her age. Yes, she has strong vibrato - has she intentionally manufactured it, as you claim? That's an assumption on your part that you cannot possible know. Does it mean it will be out of control in the future - that's an assumption on your part that you cannot possible know.

Has her voice been electronically altered, as you assert? My experience in being in front of a microphone, both professionally and informally for 60 years, is "no"! Her fans love the way she gets her low notes; you hate the way she does it. Given the fact hat she had no voice lessons at all her first several years, this was a product of her knowing her own body and how to get those notes. Key point: you don't like it - fine! Is it an issue? No. And, how is it that we hear the same tone in her live performances as in her studio performances? This belies your assertion that it's all reverb, echo, alteration, and other electronic doctoring of her voice, unless all venues in which she sings all over the world are in this little "conspiracy," as must be true if you are correct.

As to training, from the beginning she has known how to sing - complete relaxation! My worry is that she would be ruined by training!!! I have seen few teachers who know how to get this result. In fact, just recently I have noticed "training" in her voice, and the inspiring quality she used to have is now a somewhat diminished. I attribute this to taking her away from her original, natural approach to voice production.

The only thing that is "criminal" is your inability to know what true, talented genius really is. What a shame.

Jul. 17 2014 01:37 PM
Nick from Phoenix

Come on guys! It is not that complicated. Jackie just wants to sing. Let her do it: Warning: stuffy nose...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtlwQU4eveY

Jun. 09 2014 11:06 PM
JIm from Boston

I just discovered this discussion and comments on Jackie today and find it interesting to say the least. I am a fan of Jackie's career, I've listened and read alot on line. I own most of her CD's and DVD's her PBS concerts are "great Performances" I've seen Jackie in concert this year and loved it. I hope to go to more in the future. The amazing thing is how much discussion Jackie has caused on here. This thread is still going and it started Jan 2012. Also the "experts" were idiots with minimal knowledge of Jackie and her family her support group. Her constant monitoring of her voice medically and with voice coaches. Tim Janis and David Foster as mentors. I recently listened to a interview with Linda Ronstadt who I happened to see live when we were both 19. She's alot like Jackie, they both love to sing. Linda said her career was about 10% of her singing . She sang for herself the other 90% of the time. She can't even sing in the shower now because she has parkinsons , but she had a 50+ year career. She had a great voice , she loved to sing any kind of genre and she could belt out a song with the best. Jackie and her family are smart and caring people from what I see. Anyone who has met Jackie loves her, and that include people in Japan, China, Canada, Russia, England, even Bali. She has little girls show up at her concerts with gowns on like Jackie, because she's a good role model, which are far and few between now days. Alot of people my age too but really all ages were at the concert I attended. What got me disappointed at the "experts" they were talking in Jan. 2012, using recordings from 2010. And using vast generalizations for examples of failed child singers. Jackie wants nothing to do with opera, she just sing a few arias. and alot of other types of music. I'm sure Jackie will out last the "experts" , she just wants to sing. And her parents are allowing her to live her Dream.

Dec. 11 2013 06:35 PM
Timmy from Hk

I find it very odd that JEs fans all seem to be middle aged men. No one else finds this odd?

Oct. 01 2013 09:16 AM
bboo from Madrid

Where are her parents?
Well, I am not qualified to say how good her voice is.
I do enjoy her singing and for whatever reason she has connected with an audience,I do believe her parents exagerate when they claim they didn't know how good she sings. Her mother knows how to practice with her, and
there are lot's of youtube's recording of her before AGT. She has practiced a lot, She didn't just wake up one morning and sang like that. What I do worry about, is that now she is the breadwinner of her family.
Her parent's quit their jobs, and for money depend on her. She is the sole provider for all of them. To me, that is not fair to a 12 year old child.
All of them, enjoy now a very diferent lifestyle. Could she really quit if she wanted to? One can hope and wish Jackie Evancho all the best.

Sep. 07 2013 10:09 PM
joanne from California

Those who are tearing Tim Page apart for comparing Jackie to Jon Benet Ramsey don't understand the point he is trying to make. He's not comparing Jackie to a tragically murdered child. What he is doing is comparing the way Jackie is exploited by her handlers and music execs (who are making loads of money off of her) to the way Jon Benet Ramsey was exploited by appearing in those disgusting kiddie beauty pageants in full makeup, grown up clothing, high heels, and adult hairdos. So stop beating up on Tim Page for his comparison. And while you're at it, stop beating up Tim Page in general. His comments, about child prodigies having a difficult time when they reach adulthood because they're no longer unique and must compete with other performers who are as good or better than they, are very valid. It can be extremely difficult for a child performer to transition into adulthood. Also, to the people who I have seen trashing Page and calling him mentally defective because he has Asperger's Syndrome, shame on you! You obviously know nothing about the condition. What Page did in his article was express a genuine concern for Jackie Evancho and her future.

Aug. 25 2013 12:07 PM
MICHAEL CHONG from Australia

You can have the best technique in singing but if you can't connect with the audience and express the feeling and emotions behind the song you've missed the point about singing. Singing is about the expression of what's within. So what if you are best trained singer!

Jul. 28 2013 09:50 PM
TL from Oregon

I don't think Jackie should be in a R rated movie. I thoght the family were christians. It all comes down to money.

Apr. 26 2013 11:13 PM

To PhantomChaos who stated that we need not worry about Jackie Evancho's voice because she has been examined by Dr. Scott Kessler, the great laryngologist. You seem to not be aware that Scott Kessler is the laryngologist who ruined Julie Andrews's voice with a botched surgery that was supposed to remove nodules on her vocal cords. Andrews successfully sued Kessler over this.

Jackie Evancho sings with poor technique. She hunches her shoulders and clenches her fists which denotes tension in the body, doesn't support the tone, strains and screams on the top notes, audibly gulps for air every few notes, wobbles her chin in an effort to produce more of a vibrato when she already has a vibrato that is too prominent,and worst of all drops her larynx to artificially manufacture that "mature" tone her fans all love. Her range is limited as witnessed by the fact that her voice drops out in the lower register so much that it can hardly be heard. On her recordings her voice is electronically altered with enough reverb to hurt one's ears in an effort to even out her tone, along with other types of electronic doctoring. This little girl is talented, make no mistake about it, but she needs to be trained or her voice will be ruined. Maybe the worst part of all of this is the number of kids who want to sing just like Jackie. Unscrupulous teachers will take these kids on and damage their voices. Then they go to decent teachers, who find that these little pre-teen kids already have nodes on their vocal cords. This is criminal.

Jan. 14 2013 08:22 PM
Ryan k.

I'm 10 she is so cute ihj!

Dec. 09 2012 06:26 PM
Marek from Poland

>>>>>That's why I don't normally listen to "child stars," because they’re rarely as good as adult stars.

You have a lot of child performers in such choirs like New College Choir, Kings Cambridge Choir etc. who sing in oratorios at least like adult artists. So statement “rarely as good as adult stars” is unfounded.

>>>What should be the role of child stars in classical music?

This role is known: boys sung and sing in oratorios, cantatas, sometimes in opera (like Alcina/Oberto) and according to the biggest authorities of ancient music (like Nikolaus Harnoncourt) young boys can do it better than adult female sopranos because of unique timbre and musician personality.

Jackie is not classical singer despite he have sung some selected classical arias. Classical singer” without technical skills is not classical singer. Jackie singing is imitation of classical music.

Nov. 24 2012 08:31 AM

@rsaba from Sanibel from Sanibe, Fl. - Check out jackieevancho.com. She's already in a movie (not released yet) and it's not a cameo. She plays a significant character according to what is in the trailer.

Sep. 04 2012 11:32 PM
rsaba from Sanibel from Sanibe, Fl.

The pro's have spoken! She is untrained, and jackie will lose her voice!! But us common audiance seat warmers just hear a voice that is as good, or better than some of these highly trained professional singers that are brave enough to sing beside her on stage. And you critics seem to forget her parents are looking out for her interest, and they do have professional singer advisers looking out for her voice. Her Russian performance justifies that statement! And look at how she did with Sarah Brightman on AGT before she was trained by a pro. The way she emotionally sings, is an indication that if she ever does lose her voice, an acting career will be her second career achievment.
But as effortly as she seems to sing, I think her acting career will be on hold for a long time to come.

Aug. 14 2012 05:21 PM
Donna Sue from California

Jackie is a gifted young girl. Those of you who are criticizing her "there are not words" for you. Her voice inspires and brings tears to your eyes. How can that be a bad thing? Think of all the kids in this world who waste their days playing computer games and texting when they could be using the gift God gave them.

Jun. 28 2012 09:56 PM

Wow, I can't believe I read some of this crap. Remind me to never come back to this site.

Amazingly, the number of posters here in need of counseling outnumber the posts of sane people by an order of magnitude. :\

By the way, folks- 'culture' is more than just 'music'. There is a distinct lack of culture here. >.<


May. 28 2012 03:53 PM
Moire Cummings

Jackie, while quite talented, sings with poor technique that could damage her voice. She drops her larynx to artificially produce that mature vocal tone that her fans all love, gulps audibly for air every few notes, wobbles her chin in what I suspect is an effort to produce more of a vibrato, when her vibrato already is too prominent, doesn't support the tone properly, and strains on the high notes. All of this is a recipe for disaster. She has no regular teacher except her unqualified mother. She apprently gets intermittent help from the coach for AGT, whose controversial teaching technique is used mainly by pop and rock singers. if she were to get a decent teacher, the money train would come to a screeching halt because a good teacher would make her put her career on hold and learn to sing all over again, with proper technique and would make her sing with her natural child's voice. Her fans would no doubt not like her natural voice the way they like the artificial tone she currently sings with.

No matter what those of us who know something about singing say, Jackie's many musicaly uneducated fans will not believe us. They cannot understand that voices have to be trained properly and that singers must sing with good technique, or else risk damage to the voice. These people sinply refuse to believe that poor technique can ruin a voice. Also, many of her fans think that Jackie is an actual angel sent to earth by God with a perfect voice that needs no training. One can't argue with people who have an attitude like that because they think you're attacking their religion. Moreover, Jackie's fans see any criticism of the way Jackie sings as a personal attack on her as a person. They call us "haters", "jealous", and "low lifes who have nothing better to do than criticize a small child". They completely miss the fact that we are expressing concern that a gifted child's voice may not last until adulthood. Folks, a voice isn't like a violin, trumpet, or bassoon. These external musical instruments can be replaced if they are damaged beyond repair. Once a voice is destroyed, the singer can't get it back. There is no Stradivari or Guarneri in a workshop somewhere manufacturing vocal cords. A singer cannot get a new set of vocal cords if the original ones are destroyed.

May. 25 2012 10:10 PM
Maynard from Twin Falls, Idaho

To decide whether Jackie has harmed her voice to date I suggest you listen to her performance in Japan of "Lovers." Perhaps she is too young to understand the full meaning of the lyrics, but it is difficult to tell that by her hauntingly beautiful interpretation. I love Kathleen Battle's voice and performance of the same song, but it is entirely different. Since they are the only two major versions, I do not believe Jackie was "aping" as some "experts" suggest prodigies do.
Jackie is not interested in becoming an opera star, so let's stop all the unnecessary handwringing. She uses a microphone, has fine medical and vocal professionals to help her, shows no sign of burnout, and is not being pushed by her family.
If a future career in singing doesn't pan out, her fans will still always remember her and cherish her recordings. Furthermore, I'm sure she will be welcome on any future panels about child singing prodigies. However, I doubt she will wish to participate if their main purpose seems to be to lambast the child performers and their families.

Mar. 04 2012 08:14 PM
Gail Leech from Australia

:WOW: what a performance by one so young, she certainly has a huge future ahead of her, she is a star of the future and such a pleasure to watch and listen to, well done Jackie.

Feb. 21 2012 12:56 AM
Steven Carter from Colorado Springs, CO

After the all the hoopla settles around the what's and when's of this marvelous gift we've been given I hope that Jackie will be able to live a long and happy life. Her voice, her persona and her very beingness are all God expressing itself in a way tin which we can all share if we choose. She's a reminder that we all have within us a divine spark to be used as she so well put in the spoken part of the song her uncle wrote, Believe -'I'll do the very best that I can'. Her parents are doing that as they try their very best to nurture and raise their extraordinary child in a world so in her need of the message that flows from her. May God watch over jackie and protect her always. And thank you Jackie for being the vehicle that helps bring about our salvation.

Feb. 06 2012 02:51 PM
Mr. Hand from California

Attention all opera snobs!


Says Who?


see interview at:


She tries to tell ya' but you just don't pay attention.

Feb. 05 2012 01:25 AM
Norton Socha from Southern CA

"...Her parents have commented on some shows where the makeup artist overdid Jackie and were quite upset with it but apparently when in front of cameras, makeup is almost mandatory..."

Yes, like her Tonight Show appearance when she sang "Angel"

see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4w72_G0cD3A

Looks like a completely different child, or doll superimposed on a human form.

Jan. 23 2012 12:07 AM

So! Now that Jackie has been examined by quite possibly the top Otolaryngologist in the world, Dr. Scott Kessler, and her vocal equipment has been pronounced healthy, that bone of contention can at last be buried. Now the "expert" panel, and all the other detractors posting here, can get back to the topic they know best; accusing her parents of felony child abuse and endangerment.

Jan. 11 2012 01:13 PM

The question at the beginning of this comment thread was:

Do listen [sic] to Jackie Evancho? What should be the role of child stars in classical music?

To kick things off, we're shown a clip of Jackie Evancho singing an opera aria.

Why’d you pick the clip of Ms. Evancho's first performance on the national stage, 16 months ago, at age 10? As a very young singer, her voice & delivery have matured greatly since AGT, & many later performances are easily available--such as her "Nessun dorma" on Britain's Got Talent.

I can't imagine a satisfactory answer, but I'm ready to be enlightened.

Next, yes I listen to her when I want to hear the kind of performance she does well. When I'm in a mood for jazz, or a complete opera, or Tuvan throat singing, I look elsewhere. But when I want to hear the best performance of "Ombra mai fu" or "Nessun dorma" in concert--I turn to her.

As to the second question about the role of child stars in classical music, I question the question. For me that's a categorization that's orthogonal to my listening choices, no different, to me, than asking "what should be the role of Black--or Jewish--stars in classical music?”

I don't care about the age, race or ethnicity of performers, apart from not wanting minors to perform overtly sexual material. As a listener, I care what the performer's performance is. That's why I don't normally listen to "child stars," because they’re rarely as good as adult stars.

I’ve tested this with friends. I play Ms. Evancho’s music without telling them anything about the performer. They’re usually really impressed. Same here. If a child’s performance stands up to exactly the same standards I use to gauge any performance, so bit it. If not, so be it. There is a place for normal-sounding children’s voices in classical music—boy’s choirs for some carols, the boy shepherd’s song in Tosca, etc. But other than such child-specific roles, I don’t care about the performer’s age.

Now apart from the music itself, of course I don’t want minors to be exploited, & it’s easy enough to find ones who are. Some of the worst exploitation is of teen athletes such as high school football players.

But unless you can prove that EVERY minor who performs professionally is being abused, as your fanatical panelist Professor Page states, this must be established on a case by case basis. Johnny was exploited. Mary was not. And while children don’t get the scope of choice they’ll have as adults, surely they have some say in the matter.

The irony here is picking on Jackie Evancho’s family as abusive, when they’re demonstrably great parents—like a family out of a Norman Rockwell painting. It makes the self-appointed guardians of children look ridiculous, and reduces your legitimacy in decrying child exploitation when it does happen.

Which makes this panel look like a perfect example of “Ready! Fire! Aim!”

Jan. 10 2012 09:34 PM

Kavic, I've posted at Lebrecht's Cracked Pot only to have the posts removed after a spell, or not to have them posted at all. I was 100% civil in the posts, and the posts were 100% on topic. The only reason I can come up for Lebrecht not allowing my posts to stand were because I whupped on his statements point for point.

I guess he doesn't care for idea's counter to his to be read by others.

Jan. 10 2012 09:45 AM
Cuivre from The Met- Balcony

Yep- it's all due to post-production trickery! No, Wait!- It is purely lip-synching!! NOOO!- It's totally a VENTRILOQUIST ACT- but where is Terry Fator hiding?

You do realize all these comments are complimentary? Because by making up these "explanations" for her voice (albeit untrue explanations) you simply admit that she MUST be good!

Jan. 09 2012 03:59 PM
Lisa Hirsch from Northern CA

@Steve, having listened to the tiny desk concert - she now sounds like a boy soprano, which is about what I'd expect of a child her age. So you could say that I'm convinced there's post-processing.

Jan. 09 2012 01:10 PM

Disney market research got children’s psychic right when they produce their sitcoms. Just about all of their sitcoms are based around the theme of one or more smart gifted children outwitting adults who act as buffoons. That’s the reason Disney is so successful with children’s programming. It’s also the reason that Disney pop music is so popular with children. That’s the music children hear. As you look back over the whole debacle, concerning Ms Evancho, Mr. Page and Mr. Lebrecht, it’s a perfect script for a Disney sitcom. The smart talented girl singer is up against two adult music critics who act as the buffoons. .Ms Evencho plays the lead as the gifted singer. The music critics, who belong to the International Society of Music Critics and Advisors to the Lovelorn say stupid things. One would have a newsletter called Cracked Pot. Since membership (which only cost a dollar) gives them diplomatic immunity from speaking utter nonsense without any relationship to reality. Mr. Page and Mr. Leebrecht would be perfect for the adult rolls. They would play their parts perfectly. No acting skills required. Disney, if you like this, give me a call.

Jan. 09 2012 12:09 PM
WestSeaDoc from Seattle, WA

(Part 3. sorry for the volume of words but this is a final posting)
If a singer and enrapture an audience, that is a gift and a talent. It is not quantifiable but it is such. It isn't much different than an athlete less obviously gifted than his peers, nonetheless, seems to win big games or even championships. If all performance were able to be distilled into little techniques, then why strive for an audience? We could simply do a spreadsheet database of what is good, how much of it is done, and how good is the technique and come up with a score, with the highest total getting the most money. It would be as if all figure skating were solely based on the technical component. I think some of the greatest opera stars sang with voices that I find grating, despite their amazing coloratura and range. Others, I find pleasant and enjoyable. What critic has the right to tell me what I should like or not like? Jackie's fans are never going to convince those vested in disliking her at this stage of her life and career any more than "voice experts" are going to convince fans that she has an average voice. Even if the latter were technically true, Jackie's ability to reach her audience, bring some to tears, and bring in a diverse fan base speaks for itself, loudly, and those who detest her for whatever reason, simply are in denial of that fact or they view such fans with derision and condescension. This will not change so I think the arguments by JE's fans simply ought to cease as it is not unlike arguing about gun control, or gay marriage, or religion. Beliefs are going to be ingrained and arguments only serve to reinforce the belief(s) simply through defending a bias. There's no sense in further discussion.

Jan. 09 2012 07:57 AM
WestSeaDoc from Seattle, WA

(Part 2 of last post.. and it looks as if I'll have to put in into 3 parts to make it coherent, sorry).
Opera fans both enjoy their genre but also engage is a supercilious attitude about it, thereby elevating themselves above the "common crowd." Hip Hop prides itself on being outside society, though they like the money and Country pride themselves on liking story and deliver more than pure vocal talent, though the latter is enjoyed, too. Opera fans are the most geeky of the bunch because they enjoy criticizing a performance based more on technical delivery than whether or not a performer reaches an audience. If they do not like any operatic music that is not delivered in a specific way, it is not unlike complaining of Monet's brush strokes because he doesn't pain realistic enough. You are not going to convert them into believing that the true artistry of a presentation is if an audience can be touched or reached without having to work at it so hard [as one opera critic stated above]. If you have to work to understand it, fine; but you should be able to enjoy it without it. For many composers, they are trying to reach a broad audience with whom to share their art, not appeal only to a narrow niche of snobbish afficionados. Certainly, an understanding of the depth behind a lyric or a score, or a sculpture, a painting, or a movie is helpful to enhance the experience, but it is ludicrous to believe that those who do are conferred with a special secret understanding and those without simply are not going to be allowed into the club. Silly though understandable and seductive. Everyone wants to be in an exclusive club, even the Crips and Bloods.
Opera snobs [not fans] seem to be the ones jealously and vigorously defending the standards of the club, and if so, there is little sense in arguing with them. They do not believe ANYONE other than a trained opera singer should be allowed to sing operatic arias and if you are not trained to understand and appreciate opera, then you are not allowed to listen to it unless you are going to criticize the performer for not singing technically pure enough.

Jan. 09 2012 07:56 AM
WestSeaDoc from Seattle, WA

(This will have to be over 2 posts as I've exceeded 3000 characters.)
I've been posting on Jackie for some time and have posted on this topic but this is likely the last on this topic. I agree with the posters who say this argument only "feeds the beast." The discussion is moot. Jackie needs to protect her voice and develop her instrument; that's a given that Jackie and the Evanchos all know. So there's no point in arguing that point. The only argument is whether she is overusing her voice of not. At this point, they seem to be doing all they can to see that that does not happen. Whether it does or does not is now totally out of our hands and speculation and hand-wringing won't change that. If they are wrong, then the haters can gloat and JE and parents will move on with another part of their lives. If her voice persists and develops, then it will be up to her fan base to see if they still like her voice and her music. What will be, will be, and no fan or critic can do much more than speculate, vituperate, or defend or attack with or without courtesy or respect. The argument is moot; the Evanchos will do what they think is best and I hope they have thick enough skin to last through the upcoming years. In general, America seems to live to take down those of accomplishment, of power, and of privilege. We are not comfortable with dealing with those blessed with more than we. Some find solace in vicarious and personal enjoyment of performance [actors, singers, playwrights, etc] while others gain vicarious pleasure in Schadenfreude or simply malicious criticism. Bill Gates is "too rich" even though he has given more money away than anyone in history. Tyra Banks is beautiful, but she's putting on some weight, isn't she? Kate Middleton is beautiful, poised, and generous, but she's getting a bit too skinny, wonder if stress is overcoming her?
The point is, we're just not happy that others seem to be blessed with more than we and we have to take someone else down a notch to make us feel better about ourselves.

Jan. 09 2012 07:53 AM
Jill from Pa

Parents of prodigies or child peddlers should be the question at hand .Definition of prodigy:something miraculous,rare,unusual.When you go on utube or even local talent shows and see 2,000 prodigies produced per month;rare and unusual lose substance.Show me a child between 5 to 10 that can help build a space shuttle, I may be impressed Ten thousand singing and dancing kids that their parents dragged them out on stage from five years old is appalling.Even worst when they start to cash in on them.I happen to agree with some of the writers opinion on Jackie Evancho.Especially when he speaks of an aria she sings having charisma by itself, The arias Jackie sings has done a lot more for her than she does for the aria.The thing that baffled me for awhile is seeing Jackie on utube singing a Whitney Houston song, it was dreadful.Leaves you to wonder why someone can sing an opera aria on agt somewhat good, but not a pop song.Then you put it all together,autotune.Personally I give the writer a lot of credit.There was so much more he could have critiqued.Even the comparison was clever because even if you can not compare her to JonBennet Ramsey; she is further away from Maria Callas.

Jan. 09 2012 04:00 AM

re: source of Jackie's prowess.

You can find YouTube recordings of her going back to before she was 8, and the magic was there from the start--just not the power and the high notes and the refinements that come from experience.

Dr. Rosen at the Pittsbugh U. Hospital Voice Clinic explains that it isn't her physical equipment that's different. It's her brain, which is connected to her vocal apparatus kind of how tennis champion Roger Federer's brain enables a body that isn't really different from his competitors to play tennis so brilliantly.

The last recording of Jackie's before she met Yvie Burnett was her audition performance of Panis Angelicus in July of 2010, in front of a mirror that makes her ponytail look twice as big as it is. There you can hear the purity of her voice, richness of tone, possession of those high notes at this point, but not quite the power and maturity of sound of her first actual performance on America's Got Talent, when she'd been working with Yvie Burnett.

So Burnett surely helped Jackie, and Jackie counts her a good friend now. But Burnett's help hasnt' make any other prepubescent singer sound like Jackie, so I have to assume that Jackie herself did the heavy lifting.

She is what the experts who've actually worked with her call an "interpretive genius." Doesn't mean she'll ever necessarily be a songwriter--or necessarily not--or necessarily a genius at anything else (she does get straight As in school, but that doesn't require genius). But in musical interpretation, right back to when she was 7--it was there.

Look up the videos and you'll see.

Jan. 08 2012 11:12 PM
Yomama snobs!


Is this the source of Jackie's increase in extraordinary vocal prowess

In 2010 Jackie had her tonsils removed and the combination of working vith vocal coach Yvie Burnett.

Yvie Burnett uses Estill Voice Training techniques,Burnett trained as an operatic mezzosoprano, and sung professionally with the Welsh National Opera, Glyndebourne
Estill Voice Training (often abbreviated EVT) is a programme for developing vocal skills based on deconstructing the process of vocal production into control of specific structures in the vocal mechanism.[1] By acquiring the ability to consciously move each structure the potential for controlled change of voice quality is increased.[2]

Jan. 08 2012 10:46 PM

Jackie tweet from Japan, a few hours ago (she’s in Japan to sing with the Tokyo Philharmonic):

“My vocal chords are ‘pristine’ according to Dr. Scott Kessler, NYC. Thank you Doc. K. It was great seeing you!”


For more about Dr. Kessler, see:


Some excerpts:

“A major theater and music buff, Kessler studied otolaryngology at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center and briefly considered a career in plastic surgery. It wasn’t until he worked with a doctor who treated high-maintenance opera singers that he discovered his calling. “I saw there was this need for singers and performers—they needed a different set of rules,” he says. Former Met star Sherrill Milnes worked his way through a list of New York’s top otolaryngologists in the Eighties before he found Kessler. During a performance of La Traviata, Milnes recalls, Kessler examined his vocal folds “almost between every scene. Well, doctors don’t do that. I’m old enough to have gone to all his predecessors, most of whom were from Europe. Scott blended the best of the European know-how with American smarts.””

“…at times he has ministered to the entire Broadway casts of such shows as Wicked and Hairspray.”

“During a performance of Der Rosenkavalier at the Met years ago, Kessler nursed mezzo-soprano Tatiana Troyanos backstage. “She was sick as a dog,” he says, “but she was determined to go on.” As the curtain was about to rise, Troyanos asked Kessler to help her to the stage: “As we got closer, her sinuses dried up, her face lit up, she started taking deep breaths. I’m not spiritual, but it was like watching a miracle.” She brought down the house. “She was just magnificent,” he says, smiling at the memory. “So resonant, so full.”

“But no sooner had the lights dimmed than Troyanos did as well. “We’re walking backstage, and with every step she gets sicker and sicker,” Kessler says, laughing. “We get back to her dressing room, and she collapses on the sofa.” Experiencing the singer’s short-lived adrenaline surge was a first for the doctor. “I witnessed that whole show-must-go-on thing,” he says. “That’s not something I could ever take credit for.””

Jan. 08 2012 06:20 PM

Its interesting that critic can say whatever he or she wishes. When I critical reply is posted to Slipped Disc, then it is rejected because it would offend the tender ego of Mr. Lebrecht’s good friend Mr. Page. Critics can defend other critics, but who defends the Ms Evancho’s of this world. Fortunately, I was able to post here. See below

Jan. 08 2012 02:50 PM

I find it odd and somewhat ironic that neither the station nor any of the participants in this podcast appeared to consider the invitation for Jackie Evancho to participate to be inappropriate and potentially exploitative or abusive. I can't fathom what rationale or intent the station could have had for inviting an 11-year-old girl to participate in the discussion of this contentious and very adult topic. Would the host and station have actually let Jackie Evancho be exposed in real time to some of the critical remarks and adjectives contained in this podcast? Would the host have asked Jackie what she thought of the assertions/allegations that she was being exploited by her parents in a disgusting manner, what she thought of Tim Page's drawing a parallel between her situation and that of JonBenet Ramsey, what she thought of the characterizations of her singing as being awful, or what she thought of the discussion of the appropriateness of her attire? Or was her invitation to participate in this podcast merely intended to be a test of her parents/handlers? In any case, my opinion is that the attempt to have an 11-year-old girl participate in this podcast was ill-conceived, was in very bad taste, and reflects poorly on the station.

Perhaps the host misspoke and meant to say that Jackie Evancho's parents and handlers (other than her manager) had been invited but were not available to participate. I hope that's actually the case, and, if so, I think the station should issue a correction to the podcast.

Additionally, I found it interesting that the host did not state until over halfway into the podcast, and almost in passing, that Jackie Evancho and her manager were invited to participate, instead of revealing their non-participation at the beginning of the podcast. The off-handed way their non-participation was presented left me with the impression that the program was hastily arranged and that the station made only a half-hearted attempt to provide opposing viewpoints. Perhaps the station might have considered including a child psychologist to explore how the childhood experiences of Tim Page and Robert White could bias or shape their opinions in this podcast's discussion or some other expert who could have provided counterpoints to the discussions presented. Or perhaps, in the absence of opposing views, the host could have better challenged some of the assertions of the participants instead of providing what seemed to be an unfettered venue for the participants to hit all of their talking points on the subject of child stars and their parents, primarily in the context of Jackie Evancho.

Overall, I think this is a worthwhile discussion topic, and some valid concerns were raised. However, the podcast, as presented, struck me as being, to a large extent, a reactive, one-sided, and superficial vehicle aimed at defending and supporting Tim Page's controversial Washington Post article.

Jan. 08 2012 02:39 PM

After reading Mr. Pages article again, I started to wonder what on earth caused him to write such a thing. I imagine that his thought process could have gone something like this.

How I miss being a music critic, life is so boring and I know I still have one good article in me, maybe another Pulitzer Prize Article. Now all I need is a subject. Well let’s see, I dislike child prodigies and dislike Classical Crossover Music. That’s a good place to start. I have heard of a child named Jackie Evancho is selling music like mad, heading the classical music charts. Can’t have that. Perfect.
Subject: How about: The role of child stars in classical music and how they will burn out.
I could compare her to Beverly Sills (Nope that wont work, may prove there is a role for children in classical music and I don’t recall her career ending after being a child) How about Julie Andrew (No that doesn’t work either.) Let’s see Deanna Durbin? (Same problem)
There has to be a child that didn’t have a good career. Got it Jon Bonnet Ramsey. (Knew I’m a genius, dint get a Pulitzer for nothing) Let’s see I need a hook that can link them together. Both sing real well, maybe I better come back to that latter. (Just know I’m a genius) They are both the same age; well I guess they were once. Have to back to that latter. They dress inappropriately, (The only clip I saw of Ms Evancho she was wearing a red dress but if you’re Amish you would buy that one. That a keeper. Make slight allegations of possible parental abuse. Got to watch that one, could get me in a law suit. I’ve got it, should have seen it from the beginning, THERE BOTH GIRLS. I guess I should do some more research, but what the heck, let’s go for it. Holly crap I’m good, knew I was a genius, I smell an other Pulitzer coming.

Jan. 08 2012 09:56 AM
Barry Owen Furrer

By far, this topic has created more interest than any other on WQXR. My question is: would there be this much discussion if Miss Evancho's medium was perhaps violin or flute and not her voice? Those lucky enough to own a television set in 1958 might remember Itzhak Perlman's debut on the Ed Sullivan Show at age thirteen. With regard to Miss Evancho, is this not a case of history repeating itself?

Jan. 08 2012 05:47 AM
UMPIRE from Philly

IMHO....The only thing that may damage a good kid like Jackie Evancho is being exposed to all of this adult crap!

My suggestion to Jackie anti-fans is to not listen to or purchase her music. Maybe you'll hurt her financially but I doubt it since your outnumbered by millions.

My suggestion to Jackie fans is to stop feeding the beast. Stop buying the Washington Post or posting on their website. Stop reading and posting on the WQXR website. Stop reading and posting on the Slipped Disc website. Keep buying her music.

BTW...According to an article on the Slipped Disc website they are being viewed by 10,000 per day. This is a new record for the website. Coincidentally the Tim Page article appears on the website and is one of the most viewed.

Jan. 07 2012 09:21 PM
Fred from kew Gardens

1) I'm at a loss at why there is so much rage at Tim Page's comment which is inherently true.

2) Many prodigies flameout when they outgrow the category.

3) Not being enraptured by Evancho has nothing to do with snobbery or guarding the realm of classical music.

4) Those that argue it increases a general interest in classical music is sheer baloney. Pavarotti shamelessly sold himself at Madison Square Garden and other stadiums. (He was a great talent.) So are there now a lot more people who love opera because Pavarotti saw no limit to his selling himself? I don't think so. You don't even hear the pop classics anywhere except here on WQXR (and way too often).

The arts and especially classical music is dying, because it is no longer considered an important part of our education. That has been true for at least 30 years and we are now seeing the effects. Puccini arias and Hungarian Rhapsodies by themselves don't create a classical music loving public.

Jan. 07 2012 05:34 PM

Thank you for your responses to our discussion. Please be mindful, however, of our Comment Guidelines: to stay on topic, be civil, and be brief. Posts of a threatening nature will be removed.

Thanks for your cooperation.

Jan. 07 2012 03:30 PM
Cuivre from The Met- Balcony

Franklin from Kensington: "only in the US"? Here is a sampling of what Great Britain has to offer:


Watch your self-righteousness, please- you will be hoisted on your own petard with it!

Jan. 07 2012 02:49 PM

I just looked at the heading of above the YouTube clip. “What should be the role of child stars in classical music” Now statement alone poses problems to me. Should child stars be limited only to pop music? If so, that is the reason, so few people listen to classical music, especially opera. Classical music a few generations ago was on the radio and TV. Now you are lucky to hear it on NPR or PBS. We are losing generations of future fans by not reaching out to them. They simply don’t hear it. They hear rap, country western and Disney pop. When a little girl goes on national TV and sang an opera aria, a lot of Americans went wow I like that. That in fact is reflected in their voting. Next it was reflected in purchasing her music. Opera fanatics woke up to the fact that she was getting a lot of attention. According to them, there is no way she can do this; they insist that it takes years of work before you can sing opera or even light classical. The fact that a number of very talented children in the past have done just that means nothing to them. They see it their way; don’t bother me with the facts. I especially like the ones who state that because they have a degree in music, they know what they are talking about. Well I also have a degree, not in music, but I learned a long time ago be arrogant and assume you know everything. Then comes a has-been, music critic who starts to compare her to a murdered child, who I didn’t know could even sing. Now all hell has broke loose. Opera fanatics are out in droves to prove that she can’t sing opera, or yes she has a nice voice, but needs years of training. She will burn out her voice by singing this way. Or better yet, this is child abuse. They have no facts, just opinions, but don’t disagree with them because they are right. I have three grandchildren; they love to hear Ms. Evancho sing. Why, because she is a child and they can relate to her. I look back on her performances last year and they were very good. My wife went to her concert in Vegas and it was superb. Her voice is improving that fast. We both agreed it was one of the best we had attended. Just my opinion and I am not forcing it on any one else. Don’t purchase her CDs if you don’t like her voice or style of singing, but don’t expect millions of people who have purchased her CD or DVDs to agree with you.

Jan. 07 2012 12:22 PM
Mother from USA

The outrage is a result of the attack of character with the comparison to Jon Benet Ramsey, a complete and utter falsehood. Criticize her singing if you must, most could care less what you think of that because they will continue to purchase her CD's no matter what you say. Mr. Page crossed the line of decency which says much more about his character when he continues to rant about something he knows nothing about but just runs with the most flagrant abusive comment he could to bring attention to himself. He accomplished that but I am not so sure it was the kind of attention he was looking for. I think Mr. Page would make a perfect commentator for the "rag" magazines because that is where he lowered himself. He certainly isn't an objective responsible journalist. They do research and can back their comments up with facts, not insulting innuendos. He seems more focused on that then on her singing which is absolutely appalling and quite disturbing.

Jan. 07 2012 11:39 AM

@Collin from LA, CA I couldn't agree more. But what bothers me even more is the harsh, cruel nature of some of these posters towards an eleven year old girl, who by what I can observe, is sweet, polite, wholesome and utterly innocent of ill will towards others. Whether you feel she can sing or not, and your opinion is just that, unless you have personal knowledge of her and her training, et el, or if she will ever be able to sustain a career, you should at least afford her the dignity of civility when you talk about her. I have listened to her singing and find it pleasant, but I have absolutely no way to know anything about her vocal condition, etc. So it would be foolish of me to presume to pass judgment on anything to do with her, as I think it was for Mr. Page and the others on this podcast.

Jan. 07 2012 11:12 AM
Collin from LA, CA

The most bizarre group of angry comments I have ever read. Jackie Evancho (have seen her twice) is wonderful. I'm not about to list my age or number of historic shows I have witnessed in all genres. My comment is: WTF is with the anger, people? And trashing a new artist? Who are you people?

Jan. 07 2012 10:26 AM

Franklin from Kensington, UK

There is no firing line for reasonable and intelligent discussion. I lets no get to presumptuous, and think that you can speak for the UK. Actually I am English, from originally from Staffordshire; I also feel the imamates have taken over the asylum. However, I feel that it was Mr. Page that opened the doors. There are those who state she has no talent, that’s their opinion, and then expect everyone else to agree. Those are those who feel she has some talent, but insist that she will need years of training before she can use it. That group prefers to ignore those child singers that went on to have great careers, even in opera, without all the years of study they deem necessary. I do wonder why you seem to thing that her singing is in anyway awkward. Not that I am taking cheep shots at you, but just out of curiosity.

Jan. 07 2012 09:21 AM

@Nel from Georgia,

Which critics, Mr. Page? To me, a has been critic who uses his column to draw attention to himself. Beating us eleven year of girls by comparing them to dead little girl’s crosses the line of good journalism.
I have been listening to and enjoying opera and classical music for over forty years. Been a season ticket holder to both the symphony and an opera company for may years. But I don’t need music critics to tell me what is good or bad; I rather listen to the music and make my own decision. That’s what the public, who purchases her music, are doing. The ability to recognize good talent is in way, an ability in itself. Perhaps its something you don’t have. Or maybe you standers or out of synch with the rest of the general public who seem to like her technique. Singing is to appreciated for the sound and emotion that it conveys and not the technique anyway;. Now is the interesting part of you comment. “Why expand by giving her a roll in a movie?” Why not, Are singers banned from being in movies? Or maybe you have a problem that she is a child?

Jan. 07 2012 08:48 AM
Franklin from Kensington, UK

We in the UK have been taking frank amusement in this whole "controversy" which could only take place in the United States. The amount of slander, puffery and pure ignorance on this site is appalling. The interview was smart, compassionate and full of valuable suggestions for this poor young lady: the response has been unhinged, as though the inmates had taken over the asylum. Of course the girl has talent, although maybe not much, and she clearly has an attractive personality. But only in New York could anybody claim that she was anything more than a young girl trying to sing in an excruciatingly awkward way. I suppose I'll be next in the firing line now, but thought I'd try to put some perspective on this matter, which has blown way out of hand.

Jan. 07 2012 08:22 AM
Neil from Georgia

Even the critics that disapprove of this kid, give her way to much credit.It is horrible technique singing in any genre.She cant even act like a singer,why expand by giving her a role in a movie.

Jan. 07 2012 06:09 AM

►► Jeremy...
You be sure and correct me if I'm wrong... but an 'opera' is a play set to music where the performers are not amplified as they trumpet to the rafters, as opposed to a Broadway musical where the performers typically are amplified and have no need to trumpet.

By that definition Jackie Evancho does not sing opera. She has never sung opera. She is simply a young lady with an extraordinary talent for song. She sings whatever sounds good for her instrument and talent... period. She doesn't care what she sings, she doesn't give a hang about anyone's obsessive definition of genre.

To those who are fans of Ms. Evancho's music it is a great mystery why those in the so called classical community have singled her out for their vitriol... what's wrong with you people. She has sold millions of albums, appeared on television over a dozen times in the last eighteen months, and she continues on her sold-out concert tour. She has sung for President Obama, and as we speak she is preparing for her Command Performance for the Japanese Royal Family. She is no threat whatsoever to the classical genre, as a matter of fact, she has done as much as anyone on the scene to shine a positive light on classical music... so, WTH...

It's as if all those poor bitter souls lining the halls of Juilliard and the New York subway platforms unable to get anyone to throw a quarter in their hat are blaming a successful little eleven year old kid for all the misery in their lives. Again, WTH...

While it is true that this chanteuse has songs in her repertoire that may be in common with that which may be performed in an opera, that is as far as any similarities go, it is coincidental, she doesn't sing opera... period... listen up, WTH...

These people at WQXR figure they can drive activity to their site by vilifying an innocent young lady and her loving parents, and they're right. They maintain their assualt and the fans of Ms. Evancho will force them to keep defending their position, and in so doing, expose them for who and what they are... arrogant, ignorant, and petty opportunists.

This guy, Tim Page... he's got an agenda. He got caught with his hand in the cookie jar and, like a little kid, can't figure out how to walk back from it and still save face. He figures a good offense is the best defense so he's attacking this little kid. It's a very interesting detective story, a real page turner, would make for a great opera, you'd love it... plenty of intrigue, twists and turns. A terrific third act, with an ending yet to be written, but he can be sure we're working on it.

Jan. 07 2012 04:23 AM

Ehkzu- So let me get this straight.

She's a lyric soprano, which you agree is a term used to classify operatic singers. Or at least that it is “derived from opera.” But somehow my comparing her to other classical sopranos to whom the term lyric soprano can be aptly applied is improper?

She sings operatically 0% of the time. Except for the 6th of her “repertoire” that is operatic?

She's a classical crossover “artist” so she shouldn't be compared to other real operatic sopranos (which she is and isn't simultaneously), yet the reason the opera world “won't have her” is that there are too many snobs like me keeping her from breaking into it?

That you know a handful of voice classifications (and have a completely warped conception of their function and application) does not make the criticisms of her and the public fascination with her any less valid. I am not the one who called her a lyric soprano. He used a term that is specifically used to classify trained voices and I gave him several points of reference to demonstrate why I heartily disagree. She has no fach other than prepubescent girl who sings. Her range is slightly wider than a lyric soprano? Are you insane? What exactly do you think is the range of a lyric soprano? Her “repertoire?” Do you really think she sat down and chose which songs spoke to her and fit her voice the best? She's not an artist. She's a young girl who was fortunate enough to have a syrupy image on a tv talent show and a handful of very intelligent and very conniving people have used this image to sell her as a quality singer.

Also, it is not slander to give one's opinion (no matter how critical) about a public figure. If he thinks she dresses like a strumpet, that his prerogative. I don't care what she wears. She's just a singer that I don't happen to like.

There is no controversy here. No opera fans are storming to her concerts and picketing outside. We don't like her, and we resent her being compared to seasoned artists who spend their whole lives studying their craft and who actually know what they're doing. In a few years when there's a new little kid “star” we'll see how dedicated her fans are.

The only point of interest here is witnessing the extent to which people will discuss something they know very little about, and how utterly brainwashed some people are by youth, fame and the media. Not that it will matter. Classical music will be dead by then. If only we heed the advice of these well-meaning prophets, all will be saved.

Jan. 07 2012 02:32 AM
Fred from Kew Gardens

Well it's in the realm of opera that she is being presented as the winner. The last time I checked "O mio babbino caro" comes from the world of opera. That's what the judges and crowd were ecstatic about.

I'll stick to my singing parrots and talking dogs. Yes there's charm in her performance, but it ain't great operatic singing.

I only made a few recent postings, but still earned second prize from you. I'm good. Maybe I'll go on "America's Got Talent". (Really no prize for second place?)

Good night

Jan. 07 2012 12:52 AM

Fred from Kew Gardens
Take it for what it is said to be, not what you insist it be. Not everything she sings is operatic, therefore not opera. Great singing is like beauty it’s in the eye of the holder. You can disagree. Don’t buy her CD’s but don’t complain if millions disagree with you. The world is made up of the great unwashed according to most opera fanatics. The do not know what they are buying according to you. But then again no one is going to listen to you. Its after midnight here, so again congratulations to the winner, he deserved it. If it is any consolation to you, you did come in second but you win no prize.

Jan. 07 2012 12:37 AM
Fred from Kew Gardens

I take it for what it is. A child's attempt at singing opera. And it has a kind of charm, but it's not great singing.

Jan. 07 2012 12:23 AM

Fred from Kew Gardens

For someone who listens to classical and opera this is for me. Exploitation aspect has been beaten to death. Just because you say it isn’t good doesn’t necessarily make it so

Jan. 07 2012 12:17 AM
Fred from Kew Gardens

Thought I got the compliment.

Jan. 07 2012 12:11 AM
Fred from Kew Gardens

I appreciate the compliment- and the year has just begun!

Jan. 07 2012 12:09 AM


Now I am impressed. Creatively you do stand out. Substance not so hot, but you can’t ask for everything. Since I am tired of this nonsense, I better give you an award now. Let’s see, dumbest thing said this year. To prestigious for your submission. Dumbest thing this month, the month isn’t over yet, so its to early for that. Dumbest thing this week. Possible, but I didn’t think it was that good. Dumbest think in the last hour. That’s it. Don’t let it go to your head. No pun intended. Sorry for the rest of you, but you were just loosers.

Jan. 07 2012 12:05 AM
Fred from Kew Gardens

Well as someone that listens to classical and opera this isn't for me. It's just a kind of interesting curiosity and that's it. I still question the exploitation aspect.

Just because everyone says its good doesn't necessarily make it so.

Jan. 06 2012 11:59 PM

Fred from Kew Gardens

Its been said so many times in this post, that Ms Evancho, does not claim to be an opera singer. If she turns out to have the greatest voice ever heard, and you will note I said if, then after this debacle, I doubt if she would want anything do with opera. The opera fanatics who are complaining here would turn anyone off the genre. I am an opera fan and am ashamed at some the comments here. You can take credit for the chipmunks uttering for their utter nonsense, not Ms Evancho’s fans. What I do take exception to is the notion she will need to be trained and be educated until she in her mid thirties before she able is able to perform. Perform what? Opera, I doubt that she would touch it now with a ten foot pole, or CC. There have been a number of child singing stars in the past that went on to became even better singers. I know I’ve expanded enough in the past on who they are. Some were opera singers some were pop singers and some were CC America today is very different place than if the past. During the thirties and forties, classical music and opera was always on the radio or in the movies. During the fifties you still had the Firestone Hour bringing you both classical and opera. By the time the sixties came the odds were except for Liberace, who most of the classical world despised, you would have a difficult time finding classical music on TV. Classical music and opera now can only be heard on NPR or PBS. The average American never hears it. So when CC singers, especially an eleven year old girl makes America wake up. Then I think opera buffs should start supporting her. I least she is getting heard. By the way, when the Three Tenors made there CD and DVDs they were performing in the CC genre. They did this to make money, not to got people into opera houses.

Jan. 06 2012 11:47 PM
Fred from Kew Gardens

As I read these comments, I begin to understand why WQXR's programming is the way it is.

Jan. 06 2012 11:34 PM

Dumbest crap, dumbest crap. Let's see. Dated a cellist but my hair got caught in her F-hole. No. Anyway, I'll state that I think Ms.Evancho will almost certainly be a performer, either acting or singing or both, for a long time. If she ruins her voice, and still wants to sing, she could probably sing old jazz standards and still fill a hall. She could probably become quite well established in Hollywood, based on her charismatic nature and resemblance to several big name stars. Not just Robert Redford but Jodi Foster, Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, etc.. I'm thinking she could portray Little sister, Loving daughter, whatever. I'll try to get out and see something if she does. Opera vs. Pop Opera vs. Classic Crossover ? I'm sorry, but it's all a little tedious. I'm wondering if the effect she has on her fans might somehow be being induced artificially, by some sort of sub-sonic subliminal manipulation technology recently invented. But that's just the way I reason things out. Too much Sci-Fi I guess. But honestly some of the people in her fan club seem a bit "questionable". Her personal statements are enigmatic at times and confusing. Her private behavior is a big mystery. It could easily be, someday, that, while she's got a lot of "relig-os" eating out of her hand and throwing cash at her, at the same time hanging out with a guy whose "religous" founder took it up the "hoo-hah" from a guy who thought he was the anti-christ. Might this seem a bit "over much". It would be to Me. Also, some of the people around her should probably be "checked out". Say No More.

Jan. 06 2012 11:15 PM
Chuck Yates from California

Despite a childhood of gross abuse, she has managed to make a career. That's something ALL of you should think about! A Goddess!

Jan. 06 2012 11:11 PM
Chuck Yates from California

She is a Goddess! A Goddess! You heard me, a Goddess! I would gladly slice my eyes out to kiss her feet. She is the greatest singer since Kate Smith and even prettier. A Goddess! Hey, do I qualify for the "stupidest post" yet?

Jan. 06 2012 11:07 PM

Jeff from Malibu

I am glad you decided to join the contest. The rules are that you need to submit the dumbest thing you can possibly come up with in the next half hour. So far ½ pack and the troll are not giving you much competition

Jan. 06 2012 10:57 PM
jeff sixpack

Let's agree that she'll never rank with Rebecca Black, who has a six octave voice and is perfectly cared for by her parents who only let her use four of the octaves. Still, Jackie would do a terrific "Hula Hoop Song" and we can hope that is her next Christmas song. And she ought to be starting to work on "Friday" and get over her jealousy of the Divine Ms. Black. This will be the repertory for younger singers and Jackie ought to do her best to find a way into new material. I still think they should do an album together: can you imagine anything more beautiful than a version of "Mockingbird" sung by both Rebecca and Jackie? I can't!

Jan. 06 2012 10:57 PM
Fred from Kew Gardens

Aside from everything that's admirable, enjoyable, and even remarkable in this performance, it's still not great operatic singing. As I said before, If she were twice her age and height no one would pay attention.

I'm sure the kids that train and perform in the Met operas can do just as well and are probably living a more "realistic" life. I don't know how some people can say with such certainty that she is not being exploited or pushed in crazy ways in this very commercial environment. She's only 11.

It's true that Itzhak Perlman made his debut on the Ed Sullivan Show at the tender age of 13; there was no denying his prodigious talent, but he didn't turn professional till he finished his studies. Other prodigies like Midori, Joshua Bell, etc. developed their talents before they became professionals.

Like so much on TV this has a circus-like atmosphere. Her performance is adorable and, for me, has an appeal that is similar to my enjoyment watching the parrot on You Tube sing the "Queen of the Night". I also like the talking dogs even though they don't give great speeches.

Jan. 06 2012 10:53 PM
Adolf from Bavaria

A fine Aryan girl with a voice that matches Adele when she is on pitch. I salute Jackie!

Jan. 06 2012 10:46 PM

Adolf the Bavarian Troll

I can understand your fascination with lineage of people, Trolls are fascinated by people anyway, and not knowing your own genealogy would make you curious to know who your father was.

Jan. 06 2012 10:40 PM

½ pack and the troll

At last two submissions. I should have known that your brains would take more than a half hour to respond. But I am yet to be impressed. Such a prestigious award needs a little more creativity.

Jan. 06 2012 10:31 PM
jeff from Malibu

I am excited that Jackie is going to star in the new version of Pink Flamingos! That will be perfect for her.

Jan. 06 2012 10:23 PM
Adolf from Bavaria

I follow the lineage of people and I find it very interesting that Jackie's father changed his name from "Humbert." Do you think that was to keep his part in World War II hidden from the public?

Jan. 06 2012 10:21 PM

Valid criticism is worth listening to, but I refuse to suffer from listening to fools. I believe the correct way of putting it is “do not suffer from fools gladly” Ms Evancho, her parents, and here manager have not bothered to respond to any comments posted here, Why should they, I haven’t seen any valid criticism yet. However, I have seen a number of critical responses to Mr. Page. His attempts at the character assignation of a eleven year of girl started this whole mess. I believe Mr. Page has taken a page out of the book written by P T Barnum that any publicity is good publicity. Why then to you attribute this discourse to Ms Evancho?

Jan. 06 2012 10:21 PM
jeff sixpack from Malibu

Jackie is so last year. Actually, now she's two years ago. 2011 belonged to Rebecca Black and "Friday." I hear rumors that Jackie is going to try to sing this, but I don't believe she'll be able to pull it off. Let's hope that she can, and "The Hula Hoop Song" still seems her natural repertory for next year. For now -- it's "Friday, Friday...which seat shall I sit in?"

Jan. 06 2012 10:19 PM
Michael Meltzer

Defenders needn't get so upset about the sniping and criticism, which ultimately lengthen the life of the road show and raise the ante. Ms. Evancho, her parents and her manager have staked a solid claim in the territory pioneered by P.T.Barnum, whose response to critics and character assassins was, "Did they spell my name correctly?"

Jan. 06 2012 09:57 PM

@Jeff !/2 a Sixpack, Adolf the Bavarian troll Windy Bruce and poor Tracy you have no distinction.

Well time us up, but no submissions. Possibly you all cracked under the pressure of being creative or simply the thought of getting another F brought back memories of flunking out of grade school. Let know if you need more time, I can always extent the deadline another hour if you wish.

Jan. 06 2012 09:30 PM

Adolf Jr for Bavaria

Your Great Grandfather got cremated @1945, (Adolf Hitler)

Yo Mama

Jan. 06 2012 08:54 PM

@Jeff ½ a Sixpack,
Are you sure that when you talk of six octaves, you haven’t got it mixed up with your IQ. Some time ago a group of nut cases have taken over this site to see who could utter the dumbest statement. Go ahead, and and at the end of the next half hour, I will let you know who was the dumbest of the dumb. It’s a reward worthy of your infantile efforts, so give it your best shot.

Jan. 06 2012 08:22 PM

@adolf from Baveria,
I see we now have a Bavarian Troll. There I thought they were all extinct. That’s what usually happens when you are the lowest rung on the food chain. It’s funny that you use the word work. I doubt if you know what it is.

Jan. 06 2012 08:09 PM
Jeff Sixpack

I'm sorry. Rebecca has a SIX-OCTAVE range, but her parents only let her sing in five of them to protect her. And she is going to Paraguay to meet with the Dictator, and then make a movie with John Waters, where she will reprise the role that Divine played in "Pink Flamingos." Can Jackie do that? "The Christmas Song" maybe but nothing else.

Jan. 06 2012 08:09 PM
Adolf from Bavaria

Disagree. Rebecca is not yet in the same league as Jackie. At her best, Jackie reminds me of the early Adele. Can't say that for Rebecca,

Back to painting houses.

Jan. 06 2012 08:06 PM
jeff sixpack

I'm told she's terrified that Rebecca Black is going to steal all of her fans. Sad, because in some ways Jackie has the better voice, and some of the composers she sings are better than the stuff Rebecca writes. Still, in the long run, Rebecca will rule!

Jan. 06 2012 08:03 PM
adolf from Bavaria

She'll have to start working now if she wants to be able to sing "The Chipmunk Song" by next year. But she might be able to do it, especially if Daddy lets her get some rest now and then. .

Jan. 06 2012 08:01 PM

@Jeff Sixpack leader of the pack.
Your infantile sense o humor gives me little to work with. But let’s see. I am impressed that you can spell opera. I know it’s a big word for you. Unfortunately after learning to spell the word, you forget to look up the definition. Until you learn what this site is all about, I suggest taking your marbles and going home. Its kind of boring to have to deal with deadbeats like you.

Jan. 06 2012 07:57 PM
Jeff Sixpack

You mention the Chipmunks. Jackie sounds like Alvin trying to sing opera. I hope she'll do "The Hula Hoop Song" next Christmas!

Jan. 06 2012 07:44 PM

Adolf from Bavaria, Windy Bruce fro the Windy City, Jeff Six Pack out on bail and Tracy.

Now what do we have here? A convention of chipmunks. What do you call such a gathering? Not a pride of chipmunks, nothing to proud of here. Possibly a herd of chipmunks give their mentality. But no I think it is a gaggle of chipmunks given the amount of honking and noise they are making on this site What a pleasure it is to see such a group of infants in one place.

Jan. 06 2012 07:32 PM

What's the difference between a sucubus and an angel ?? There IS a punchline, but I'm afraid of being sued. Or crucified. We ARE a contentious lot, indeed. I don't know who to agree with, so I'll just nod my rhetorical head and try to appear as if I give a fabulous furry freak. Actually, musically, I'm going back to what works for me. And bid you all a Fonda Do. [??]

Jan. 06 2012 07:10 PM
Steve Atkijnson from Snowmass


Classical Crossover vs. Opera Part 3 -

We implore purists to appreciate, and accept, that classical crossover artists are not trying to "replace" classical, they are not "pretending" to be classical, but are practising a genre within its own right. They are using the classical voice in a different way and applying it to different modes of music. Instrumentalists are taking up their instruments, often associated with classical music, and are using them for different sounds. Classical music does not own the violin; it does not own the voice. These musical sounds can be used by any genre of music, and in any way that it makes music that people enjoy.

If you wish to complain about classical crossover artists taking over the classical world, take your complaints to where they belong: the mainstream media. If both genres are represented correctly, and not as one, you may find there isn't much for you to complain about at all.

Jan. 06 2012 06:11 PM
Adolf from Bavaria

Work will make you free, Jackie. Your parents knew it and I'm glad to see that they are applying appropriate discipline.

Jan. 06 2012 06:09 PM
Steve Atkijnson from Snowmass


Classical Crossover vs. Opera Part 2 -

Most articles I have read from opera and classical purists have come across as arrogant, and well... snobby, when it comes to classical crossover artists, but this is because of the misguided premise of their arguments. Most assume that classical crossover artists actually believe that they are true opera singers, or classical artists. This assumption can understandably make them angry because nearly all classical crossover vocalists have never stood on an opera stage; and let me make this clear: if an artist has not performed in an opera, that artist is not an opera singer.

But the purists' assumptions are incorrect. Classical crossover artists know what they are. Time and time again, the crossover artists are attacked for simply existing; because the general public are led to believe that the "popular" classical singer, such as Katherine Jenkins, is what classical music is, and what it offers. True classical artists and opera singers can easily take offense at this. They have worked hard and have dedicated their whole lives to their discipline, get little recognition and possess far more technical ability than crossover artists have. Camilla Kerslake is one of the few artists that attempt to make a distinction:

"Opera singers train for years. And then they'll do an opera course; I guess because they'll have trained for 12 years they would get a bit ticked off if someone like me - who has barely trained at all - gets the same name. I go out of my way to never call myself an opera star. I'm a classical singer - I'm in the process of training." [BBC News]

Unfortunately, purists are picking fights with the wrong people. Ask any classical crossover singer if they are an opera singer, and they will tell you they are not. It is the mainstream media that cannot separate the two, even when they are told. It is so much easier to write "opera singer". Whether it's laziness or ignorance, I do not know, but it is damaging both genres of music, as the audience for one is not the same audience as the other, so both lose.

Jackie Evancho, as an example, has just achieved roaring success, reaching second place on America's Got Talent, but despite her and her parents, Lisa and Mike Evancho, insisting that their daughter be described as a classical crossover singer (of which many articles put the term in inverted commas as if it's some alien thing) it is ignored, because the journalists do not understand it, and in turn, the American public do not understand it, and once again, many a purist have taken up their pens to criticise Evancho and her "opera singing".

Jan. 06 2012 06:05 PM
Steve Atkijnson from Snowmass


Classical Crossover vs. Opera

Many genres in the music industry are marginalised, ignored and are incorrectly represented in the media. What genres these are depends where you live in the world. However, it is safe to say that, no matter where you are located on the globe, classical crossover suffers in some form. Its presence in South America can be likened to light sabres in a Western movie, whilst a market in Australia is there ready to be taken but the industry continues to ignore it in favour of pop and R'n'B. America has been known to like classical crossover music, but they are only aware of individual artists; not the genre. Even in the UK, the classical crossover capital of the world, the mainstream media are, frustratingly, still branding Hayley Westenra and Russell Watson as opera singers.

Why is genre important? As a casual fan, you may wonder. You either like the sound of the music, or you don't, right? Who gives two hoots what it's labelled as? But you're holding that Josh Groban CD in your hands because of the classical crossover genre, and how it has developed. The music industry is dictated, and run, by categories and labels. Radio channels, TV music channels, your local record store, iTunes and record labels are all structured by genre. It would fall apart without it. Like it or not, different genres appeal to certain groups of people. Knowing which group of people goes with which genre makes it possible to market and sell albums, making the industry money, so they can provide more artists of that genre to the market that demands it. You do not need an IQ of 200 to realise that marketing a certain sound to the wrong type of people would not translate well into sales.

With that in mind, it has been over a decade since the classical crossover genre really became popular. Its sudden boom after Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli's 'Time To Say Goodbye', the arrival of Vanessa-Mae, Charlotte Church, Bond and Russell Watson began with understandable teething problems from the elites, as the not-so-opera/classical artists started flooding the classical charts and official classical awards ceremonies. Opera singer Sir Thomas Allen said in 2002 of Bond: "The idea of a wet T-shirted quartet where once was the Amadeus has me reaching for the sea-sick pills, or even just retching." Director of Sony Classical, Chris Black, wasn't any more generous: "This is a manufactured band, a sort of Spice Girls playing electronic music."

There was much grumbling and discussion about what makes classical music truly classical. In 2001, it was agreed that Bond was not classical music, and was booted from the charts. You would think, after that's been established, the classical purists can be happy with their classical, whilst artists popifying classical music could do their own thing. But no; the confusion continues to this day.

Jan. 06 2012 06:03 PM

Bruce Kamsler from Chicago, IL

"...That she is allowed to ruin herself and her voice is an indictment of the depraved people around her exploiting her."

You should have to pay a good percentage of your total wealth for this slander.

Jan. 06 2012 05:57 PM
jeff sixpack

"Child prodigies are nothing new. Mozart began composing at age five, Chopin was performing at seven and Mendelssohn created masterpieces at 16. More recently, Jackie Evancho, an 11 year-old contender in the TV show "America’s Got Talent" topped the US classical record charts last year and became a staple of PBS fundraisers and concert stages."

Boy, talk about the sublime to the ridiculous! Rebecca Black beats Jackie outright.

Jan. 06 2012 05:39 PM
Jeff Sixpack

I think she would be great as Mime in "Siegfried." Or better yet, any sort of mime!

Jan. 06 2012 05:16 PM
jeff sixpack

Is there any truth that Jackie will be singing "Rigoletto"? I don't mean Gilda -- that's far beyond her -- but maybe the hunchback dwarf himself? Maybe she should wait five years until her voice starts to deepen.

Rebecca! The great new Goddess of Classical Croissants!

Jan. 06 2012 05:03 PM
Ken from Seattle

@Tracey - so give me an example.

Jan. 06 2012 04:56 PM
Ken from Seattle

@rickky - Sounds like maybe Jeff is 5 cans short.

Jan. 06 2012 04:54 PM
jeff Sixpack

Rebecca and Jackie are going to do an album together, just the way Verrett and Caballe once did! They will make the record in Burma this summer, with the Emperor of Japan in attendance. I think this will be the GREATEST BIT OF SINGING EVER MADE!

Jan. 06 2012 04:53 PM

@Ken from Seattle

No, you wouldn't think of them as attacks. Evancho is just the greatest in the world, that's all.

Do continue.

Jan. 06 2012 04:52 PM
Jeff Sixpack

Rebecca has a six octave range! WQXR should be doing a whole festival of her work. Although I understand that she is restricting performances of "Friday" to Easter Sunday now, in the same vein as "Parsifal." Let Jackie try to mix it up with Rebecca -- cage fight!

Jan. 06 2012 04:49 PM
Ken from Seattle

@Tracey - and WHAT attacks are those? I don't see a SINGLE attack her on Fleming. By and large Jackie fans think highly of her.

Jan. 06 2012 04:46 PM
jeff sixpack

I am SO outraged that everybody keeps putting down Rebecca Black. How dare all the opera snobs say she can't sing? It's true that she's about 15 so a little over the hill for Evancho fans, who like 'em young. But nobody can say she hasn't brought a brand new audience to opera. Personally, I think she is better than Caruso, de Lucia, Antonio Scotti, and even Deanna Durbin. If you tell me she isn't the greatest thing in the world, I'll just have to run around and cry and post letters from "the Met," Seattle, Dallas and other places, all under assumed names. How dare you pretend she isn't the greatest singer since Schwarzkopf? Waaah! Somebody is saying that Rebecca isn't really great! Someday Jackie will try to sing "Friday" and that will be good but she will NEVER have the voice that Rebecca has. Partyin, partyin....all the way to Japan.

Jan. 06 2012 04:45 PM

@ Joe Sixpack
Rebecca Black had a guest appearance on America Got Talent, Her youtube is still up she has 702,895 hits and 3,406 likes, 17,546 dislikes. Three times as many people who see her video dislikes it as likes it.
But I think you know this and is just trolling this site Or a Prince Poppycock fan who Jackie knocked out of the competition.

Jan. 06 2012 04:45 PM

The attacks on Renee Fleming from the Jackie Evancho minions are unbelievable.

Ignorance personified.

Jan. 06 2012 04:35 PM
Ken from Seattle

Jeff sixpack - You said: "And I'll bet the divine Rebecca could do a much better "Babbino Caro."

Yeah, right - why don't you suggest that to Rebecca.
Good luck with that.
If I were you I sure wouldn't consider a career as a talent scout.

Jan. 06 2012 04:05 PM
Ken from Seattle

These Opera Snob clowns crack me up. Opera is MORE than just the MUSIC - and they should KNOW that. Opera is the music AND the story AND the acting AND the sets AND the lighting AND the special effects. The music by itself is NOT Opera - it's merely an aria FROM an Opera - just as a piece from a Broadway show is NOT a Broadway show - it's just a piece FROM a Broadway show.

Yet somehow these folks seem to think that because someone sings an occasional aria that they are somehow trying to DO OPERA. I got news for these folks - the Opera world doesn't OWN the music any more than the Broadway theatre community OWNS the music from Broadway shows. The music has it's OWN identity and existance OUTSIDE of the Opera it was written for. ANYONE can sing that music without "trying to be an Opera Singer".

Aretha Franklin sang Nissun Dorma a few years back at the Grammies. I suppose these folks think SHE'S trying to be an "Opera Singer" as well. I got news for such folks - Aretha doesn't give a rat's *ss about being an "Opera Singer" - she's made a TON of money, developed LEGIONS of fans and had HUGE success in OWN genre. If she decides she wants to sing an aria that's her prerogative and Opera fans have NO say in it - PERIOD.

Same goes with Jackie - if Opera Snobs don't like her singing it - TOUGH! They don't OWN the music, they have NO claims to it AT ALL - None, nada, zip. If they don't like the way she sings it, they can change the channel or turn off the radio - NO ONE is making them listen. They can go ahead and list to their PURE Opera all they want - after all no one else is.

Jan. 06 2012 04:00 PM
jeff sixpack

And I'll bet the divine Rebecca could do a much better "Babbino Caro."

Jan. 06 2012 03:47 PM
jeff sixpack

This is the tune that Jackie Evancho may someday be able to sing:

7am, waking up in the morning
Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs
Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal
Seein’ everything, the time is goin’
Tickin’ on and on, everybody’s rushin’
Gotta get down to the bus stop
Gotta catch my bus, I see my friends (My friends)

Kickin’ in the front seat
Sittin’ in the back seat
Gotta make my mind up
Which seat can I take?

It’s Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend
Friday, Friday
Gettin’ down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin’ forward to the weekend

Ah Jackie -- keep on working and someday you might be able to sing this!

Jan. 06 2012 03:43 PM

Jeff sixpack, you just accused Mike and Lisa Evancho of felony child abuse. If you have credible evidence of that, by all means go to Pittsburgh's Child Protective Services. If you cannot, you are guilty of libel under New York State's defamation laws
( http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/new-york-defamation-law ).

What will save you from lawsuit is your anonymity and the fact that you can't materially harm Jackie Evancho, much as you might want to, due to her being, well, her, and due to you being a microorganism.

Jan. 06 2012 03:24 PM

@Jeff Six Pack,

No talent, no imagination, are you out on bail?

Jan. 06 2012 03:13 PM
jeff sixpack

Talented kid, dreadful singing. Her parents should be in jail.

Jan. 06 2012 03:05 PM
Kevin Chen

She never even identified herself as an Opera Singer! She sings Classical Crossover, there is an difference!

It doesn't sound like opera to me!

Jan. 06 2012 03:01 PM

Jeremy’s comments here illustrate how even intelligent people can get tangled up in their thinking.

He can’t grasp Jackie being both a lyric soprano & not an opera singer, leading to him indulging in the kind of patronizing condescension that has been so successful at driving people away from classical music. He’s oblivious to the fact that over on the highly active Amazon.com forums about Jackie, there have been so many entries from Jackie’s fans who also love opera that others have complained about them hogging the threads.

That Jackie & her family all say she’s not an opera singer is a matter of record. As is the fact that none of her CDs & DVDs are operas—they just contain a few songs from a few operas, representing perhaps a 6th of her repertoire. And those songs are performed non-operatically. She sings operatically 0% of the time.

She’s also a lyric soprano, a term derived from opera, to be sure. If you wanted to be pedantic you’d say she’s a non-operatic soprano with a wider ranger than most lyric sopranos & a somewhat darker tone, but currently more like a lyric soprano than a coloratura or a dramatic soprano. You’d also qualify that by saying that real voice experts know you can’t describe the fach of anyone who hasn’t matured physically, of course. Calling her a “lyric soprano” is a convenient shorthand for this. The English language continually adapts specialist terms for more general usage. Which is why your comment was so off track—“off track” being stolen from its meaning in the railroad industry. But you don’t see railroaders asserting that someone is a locomotive because they say they’re on track with something.

Equally obviously, Jeremy’s blathering about the “big voices” of opera stars is as relevant as talking about the big voices of hog callers. His whole reason for this recitativ is to “prove” that Jackie is a bad opera singer. That’s true in exactly the same way that a falcon is a bad opera singer. Jackie is arguably the world’s best Classical Crossover singer. And by the standards of that genre, the great opera singers Jeremy cites—and I agree that they’re great opera singers—are, however, second rate Classical Crossover singers. For example, with few exceptions (Renee Fleming is one) their efforts to do pop albums are…grotesque would be kind. It’s only slightly better with CC.

And Jeremy’s attack on Jackie’s fans is typical of those who minimize their people’s flaws while magnifying those of their opponents. Jeremy describes Page’s vilification of Jackie’s family as “He doesn’t like the way he (sic) dresses.” That’s not remotely how Page put it. He stated that Jackie’s parents were “sexualizing” her & said it “disgusted” him. That borders on slander.

Jeremy & his ilk need to realize that their fixation with this little girl is about her being the best-selling classical singer today. It has nothing to do with her actual singing, which they can’t hear due to their categorical fixations.

Jan. 06 2012 02:58 PM
Ken from Ken

Peet from Pasadena - Your local Opera may "pack them in" but my guess is that the venue is either relatively small or the number of performances pretty limited - and it's a pretty good bet that the performances don't bring in enough revenue to keep the company going without donations.

The fact is - Classical music overall (including Opera) ONLY survives because of charity. Of the 3 branches of Classical music I mentioned ONLY CC manages to pay it's own way - AND helps keep the others afloat.

Regarding CC fans drifting towards Opera, I know of several so I KNOW it happens.

Jan. 06 2012 02:52 PM
Ken from Seallte

jeff sixpack - No, Rebecca Black does not have anywhere near as many Youtube "hits" as Jackie does. Black has a single video which has a lot of hits but Jackie has a multitude of hits which total many millions more than Black. Both of them DWARF Renee Fleming by the way (who's numbers are pretty puny).

Jan. 06 2012 02:47 PM
Ken from Seattle

Fred from Kew Gardens - She's NOT an Opera Singer, has NEVER claimed to be an Opera Singer and only the uninformed - INCLUDING APPARENTLY the HOST and GUEST on this broadcast - "present her" as an Opera Singer. She's a CC singer - which means (like with all CC singers) she singes an OCCASIONAL aria (she's done 3 or 4 is all out of 3 studio and 1 privately produced albums) but they have been and likely will be ALWAYS a very minor part of what she performs.

I've also ALREADY addressed the issue of her homelife - she's an EXTREMELY well adjusted kid.
Maybe you should consider LEARNING about someone before commenting on them.

Jan. 06 2012 02:40 PM
Fred from Kew Gardens

@ Cuivre from The Met- Balcony

No. The problem is how little value American society places on the arts. That's the problem. (And it's still not great opera singing.)

Did Pavarotti significantly increase the love of opera in the general public? I don't think so.

Jan. 06 2012 02:39 PM
jeff sixpack

Rebecca Black has even more YouTube visits than Evancho. Ergo, according to the chowderheads on this board, she is a much greater artist. I'm waiting for Evancho to even try singing "Friday."

Jan. 06 2012 02:38 PM
Fred from Kew Gardens

@ Ken

But it doesn't mean that her talent as a singer is yet developed. Here she is presented singing opera, and she still has a long way to go. Opera singers don't hit their stride till they're in their 30s.

This is not great opera singing, and one still has to ask, is this a kind of exploitation? She maybe well compensated (money), but how does this kind of attention affect children?

Jan. 06 2012 02:33 PM


Your comment about Ms Durbin "that is allegedly her voice when she was 13” are the same comments opera fanatics said back then. No one that young can sing like that it must be dubbed. Now you use the word lip-synched. After she made a string of musicals for Universal that bailed their but out of bankruptcy, the comments were, her voice will never last. Sound familiar? Yes I do see a huge similarity in their voices. I also notice a differenc in Ms Durbin's singing voice and speaking voice as a child. As Jackie’s voice has improved, I see even more. Perhaps you have such tunnel vision that unless its reputed to be opera, you are not interested. Why do you still insist that a definition of the type of voice a person has can only be applied to opera singers? That is another sign of tunnel vision. Ms Durbin never was an opera singer, her choice, but she is defined as a lyric soprano. I assume that your definition would be truck drive. Now I was a season ticket holder to the Cleveland Opera for five years and a season ticket holder to the Cleveland Symphony nine. I have heard some great sopranos. I would have call myself an opera fan, but after listing to idiotic things said here be so called opera fans, you included. I now feel the term opera fan = loony tunes.

Jan. 06 2012 02:27 PM
Cuivre from The Met- Balcony

Fred- are you suggesting Ms. Evancho follow the "Failure Model" you illustrate being the "proper" way to study singing and music? Jackie will never aspire to be a "diva" in the typical definition used in current day. Obviously, the obsolete path used in the past is leading to the classical/opera genre being more obscure and barren. The seeds being grown in the music institutions are falling on rocky ground- never growing enough to bear fruit. You are, in effect, dumbing down your own genre by not evolving with the time. Will extinction be "noble"? Perhaps "Give Me Purity or Give Me Death!" should be posted over the doors of the NY Met?

Ms. Evancho is blazing her own path using the rules that are in effect in the 21st Century. Some folks need to learn to adapt- or they will die.

Jan. 06 2012 02:25 PM
Ken from Seattle

PS to Fred from Kew Gardens:

I should also mention that Redford SPECIFICALLY sought her out for the role of Izzie.

Jan. 06 2012 02:25 PM
Peet from Pasadena

Ken, you probably weren’t paying attention in the late 90s and early 2000s, but at the time The Three Tenors were going to ‘save’ opera. Suddenly, all these new opera fans would pour into the houses. This belief that people will suddenly attend opera regularly because of some momentary experience when for some oddball reason the art form is in the spotlight of popular culture is delusional. It doesn’t work. Otherwise opera houses would be full, coasting on the millions of people who bought the Three Tenors album and fell in love with the art form. The reason the belief is delusional is because understanding and appreciating opera takes work. You have to make an effort. You don’t just ‘get it,’ unlike popular music, which takes no effort to appreciate at all. And people are generally resistant to effort. Especially when it comes to entertainment. Sure you can take an aria out of context and it sounds real purty. But it does nothing to bring people in. Jackie Evancho isn’t saving anyone’s butt. She’s in another genre, and draws the same crowd who listen to Susan Boyle. In a year or two, at most, you’ll be listening to some other gimmicky faddish singer with a PBS special. You won’t be listening to Satyagraha, or Peter Grimes, or Parsifal. I haven’t met one person who became an opera fan because of The Three Tenors. Or Ezio Pinza before them. As for the ‘help’ we need, opera has been around for 400 years. My local house sells out all the time. The fan base is not close to anemic. I don’t think legit opera needs or wants ‘help’ in the form of a 12-year-old girl. As for album sales, the market is saturated. I don’t NEED another recording of Turandot. The version I have with Pavarotti and Sutherland works just fine, thanks. And Jackie sells more. Of course she does. That’s why it’s called ‘popular’ music. Because it’s popular. Middle of the road, mediocre, overproduced, heavily marketed product. And she’ll be in the spotlight as long as she sells albums. I give her three or four. And then her marketing and management team will be out of ideas, her voice and her public identity as a child prodigy will be fixed even though she’ll be 20, and new PBS artists will be at the top of the charts instead of her. Singing career over, and welcome to the world of “I used to be famous.” Do I think my music is superior? Yes, otherwise I’d listen to something else. You’re just the same. But notice you’re not trying to sell me on the benefits of tossing away my preference for Diana Damrau in favor of Sarah Brightman. As for composers prostituting themselves? Yeah, Mozart, Verdi, and Wagner. Those whores.

Jan. 06 2012 02:23 PM
Ken from Seattle

Fred from Kew Gardens - The way she's going, 10 years from now she'll likely be the biggest musical star on the planet - and very possibly a major film star as well (she just finished up filming "The Company You Keep" playing Robert Redford's daughter). The film - which was directed by Redford - also stars Shia LaBeouf, Stanley Tucci, Nick Nolte, Susan Saradon, Sam Elliot, Chris Cooper, Terrance Howard and Julie Christie - and is based on the best-selling political thriller of the same title. Her character is a CENTRAL figure so it's no "cameo" role. She's ALREADY branching out.

Jan. 06 2012 02:21 PM
Fred from Kew Gardens

If she were twice her age and height would anyone be paying attention? No. Her winning personality, poise, and angelic looks is undeniable, but is she a great artist? Not yet and maybe never.

Every year the conservatories graduate terrific young talent, and most do not get any significant recognition for their artistry. Most struggle as professional musicians or in the end do other things.

This 'America's Got Talent' is part of our vacuous celebrity culture (and perhaps a kind of exploitation). Let's see where her singing is ten years from now, before we give her diva status.

Jan. 06 2012 02:08 PM
Ken from Seattle

jeff sixpack from Malibu - again you are spouting a bunch of ignorant trollish bull. Considering that she was THE biggest selling debut artist (of any age) of 2010 and THE biggest selling Classical Singer (of any age) of 2010, Broke Michael Jacksons 40-year-old record to become the youngest performer ever to have a Top-Ten album, has sold 2+ million albums in the US alone - a became the youngest performer ever to break the Top Five in the UK, performed for the President (and from the sound of things, in the next few days may well be performing for the Emperor and Empress of Japan), had her own hugely successful PBS "Great Performances" TV special - I'd say that your judgement regarding WHO has talent and who doesn't is pretty darn poor.

Jan. 06 2012 01:50 PM
jeff sixpack from Malibu

It's a good thing she DOESN'T call herself an opera singer, for she has miles to go before she could even do a convincing job of rapping. IF she were smart, she wouldn't even call herself a singer. Even Rebecca Black is a lot more talented, although not as good a composer as some of the people Evancho sings (well, maybe she's better than Webber). As for Mr. White, I sincerely doubt that he was overwhelmed by the other guests on the program. He probably had said something nice about this poor girl, this nonentity, in passing -- the way you pat a puppy on the head -- and then he listened to what she was actually doing to her voice and reconsidered. Anyway, that's my two cents.

Jan. 06 2012 01:41 PM
Ken from Seattle

Jeremy - Page's words speak for themselves. He's delving into things are quite frankly NONE OF HIS BUSINESS. This a guy who's OWN personal life has been all mess up (by his OWN admission) so her certainly has NO QUALIFICATIONS to pass judgement on the personal life of anyone else. He's sticking his big fat nose where it doesn't belong. He knows NOTHING about Jackie's personal life or her upbringing - and quite frankly he SHOULDN'T because it's NONE OF HIS BUSINESS! Just because HIS parents gave him an unhappy childhood doesn't mean Jackie's parent will. He knows next to nothing about these people yet feels somehow "qualified" to explain how Jackie is "clearly unhappy" performing like she doing forced labor with parents who are "exploiting her" and plundering her riches. The fact is, from everything I've seen or read about them, the Evanchos are about the best parents one could hope for. They take care to keep her from bad influence and stay grounded. Despite the fact that she's reputed to be worth $2.5 million they still live a simple ordinary life - living in the same house they've always lived in, going on the same traditional family summer vacation to the Delaware shore just as they've always done, with Jackie still sharing the chores with her siblings (last summer she said in an interview how happy she was to have earned $28 in vacation spending money doing extra chores - and this is someone worth over $2 million). This a pretty darned well-grounded and ordinary kid, and THAT'S a sign of good parenting. Her money is CLEARLY not being blown by her folks and she's being given as normal a life as she can possibly have while still pursuing what she loves to do - and there's NOTHING wrong with that. For those of us who KNOW these things, Pages' ignorant comments are nothing short of DISGUSTING and libelous.

Jan. 06 2012 01:39 PM
Cuivre from The Met- Balcony

Jeremy- Bobby is on record in a previous segment apparently saying there is not problem with Ms. Evaancho:


What we heard here is simply him succumbing to peer pressure of those who he was with. Courage and consistency is apparently not one of his strong points.

Jan. 06 2012 01:29 PM
Ken from Ken

Jeff Sixpack from Malibu - Plenty of women fans of Jackie - us men are more combative (it's just the way men are - and always has been). I suspect the fact that you even bring up "Pretty Baby" likely says a lot about YOU.

Jan. 06 2012 01:22 PM
Cuivre from The Met- Balcony

Jeff Sixpack- You mean men like Timmy, Bobby and Bill? Jackie has a diverse fan base- this board is where the filtering is. How many young kids read boards such as this-they get their information from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report.

Jan. 06 2012 01:19 PM

Kavic-My comment about Durbin WAS referring to a video that is allegedly her when she was 13. And those two voices (hers and Evanchos) sound nothing alike. At all.

I also find it curious that you keep on saying that she's not an opera singer, then go on to call her a lyric soprano. Do you know what a lyric soprano is? Do you know what a fach is? It's a German classification system for operatic voices that is determined by range, vocal quality and roles. Do you know how sizable a voice it takes to be considered a lyric soprano on the operatic stage? If not I would advise you go listen to Renee Fleming, Kiri Te Kanawa, Mirella Freni, and Monterrat Caballe sing "O Mio Babbino Caro." And then visit your regional opera company the next time they do a Puccini opera and pay careful attention to the lead soprano. If you cannot readily hear the differences, than my work is done here.

Many of these comments seem indicative of psychological imbalances. He doesn't like the way he dresses, so clearly he must be like Roman Polanski? You people seem wildly out of touch with reality. He hasn't created anything of note himself, so he's lashing out at this innocent girl? Um . . ok. So what about the world renowned tenor Robert White who agrees with him? You know, the one who sang for 5 Presidents?

You people need to just recognize that the public fixation with this little girl is about her youth and her image. It has nothing to do with her singing.

Jan. 06 2012 01:12 PM
Jeff Sixpack from Malibu

I'm sure that Ms. Evancho has some woman fans and even some children who like her singing. That said, I find it very curious that almost all of the freakish hysteria here is from men, and it seems pretty unhealthy to me. If you like Jackie Evancho, I strongly suggest that you rent "Pretty Baby" with an 11-year old Brooke Shields in it. At least it will give you something else to write about.

Jan. 06 2012 12:45 PM
Ken from Seattle

@Cuivre from The Met- Balcony:

I agree. This interview says more about HIM than it does about Jackie Evancho. He seems to think that just because HE had an unhappy and disfunctional childhood growing up that somehow EVERY child artist does.

As near as I can tell, they guy has never achieved anything significant in the musical world himself but has instead been relegated to simply writing about it his entire adult life - which brings to mind one of the definitions of a critic: "A person unable to achieve anything creative themselves who therefor feels qualified to judge the work of others".

Jan. 06 2012 12:43 PM
Cuivre from The Met- Balcony

Mr. Page's persistent usage of JonBenet as well as him stating that Jackie is dressed inappropriately makes people think that it is Mr. Page who is the one being salacious. Perhaps he even has Roman Polanski-type tendencies just under the surface. There is something going on in his psyche (perhaps a fetish?)for him to see ballroom/stage appropriate formal wear as "sexual". If anyone in this operetta needs to be "watched carefully", I submit it is this critic, not the parents of Ms. Evancho.

Jan. 06 2012 12:32 PM

Can someone show me where Jackie Evancho said she is an Opera singer, or where she says she wants to be an Opera singer. She has stated that she sings classical crossover numerous times, because that is what fits her voice.
The girl is unbelievably honest probably to her manager's dismay when asked who her favorite singer and song is she replied Lady Gaga and Poker Face.

Jan. 06 2012 12:20 PM
Marilyn from Michigan

Jackie is routinely checked by doctors and voice specialists. Her parents CAREFULLY monitor ALL aspects of Jackie's well-being. Her parents do NOT push her------they actually have careful guidelines to protect Jackie. Jackie would like to do more concerts but her parents balance her life!! Charlotte Church did not lose her voice-------she still sings beautifully. I find your comparion to Jon Benet disgusting. Jackie is always dressed age-appropriately!! JACKIE HAS NEVER CLAIMED TO BE AN OPERA SINGER. PLEASE stop saying she is!!!
Every person is an individual--------you can not say that you know her---because you definitely do NOT!!!

Jan. 06 2012 12:11 PM

Most of the attention has been placed on Mr. Page's comments, but I am more disappointed in the moderator Ms. Lewin. Firstly, just giving Page another forum after his Washington Post article is questionable at best. That article triggered a lot of comments. In this podcast, Page shows no signs of having learned anything from the feedback, but rather chose to stubbornly cling to his assertions.

Second, Ms. Lewin used only examples of Ms. Evancho's singing of opera arias, when the majority of Jackie's songs since AGT have been from outside that genre. It doesn't appear Ms. Lewin researched her subject very well. Third, inviting an 11-year-old to participate in such a forum is laughable.

In regards to Ms. Evancho being marketed as an opera singer, that designation can be traced to America's Got Talent. If anyone can be accused of exploiting young talent, it is they. Jackie and her parents always insist she is a classical crossover singer. Unfortunately many interviewers still refer to Ms. Evancho as an opera singer. Being a polite 11-year-old, Jackie usually refrains from correcting them.

Americas Got Talent did give Jackie her opportunity to gain national recognition, so don't expect the Evanchos to criticize them.

Jan. 06 2012 12:01 PM
Ken from Seattle

Jeff Sixpack from Malibu - Actually there are LOTS of Jackie Evancho fans. She WAS after all THE Top Selling Classical Artist of this past year - probably selling more than ALL Opera singers sold all year COMBINED. She's likely to be a HUGE force in the music industry in the coming years - so get used to it.

Jan. 06 2012 12:00 PM
Ken from Seattle

Bo from Long Island - You have ZERO evidence to support your claims - ZERO. Charlotte Church didn't "blew out her voice doing the same thing that Jackie is doing now". She didn't "blow out her voice" at all. She STILL has a tremendous voice (FAR better than that of most Pop singers - which is what she is now) - and that's after being a pack a day smoker since she was 14. It's not the high pitched soprano voice she had as child - but she's NOT a child anymore either. Any "deterioration" in that voice can EASILY be attributed to her pack-a-day habit for the past decade and the fact that she's now OLDER. The fact is - unless you're claiming to be able to turn back time and play it over again - you have NO IDEA what would have become of Charlottes voice.

Secondly Jackie doesn't sing ANYTHING like Charlotte did. They are totally different in sound. The only thing they have common is they both started young and they sang CC - but their styles and type of voice are totally different.

Jackie is a PRODIGY - even her detractors admit that - and prodigies (BY DEFINITION) do what other folks can't. The fact is, neither YOU nor ANYONE ELSE can say for sure what Jackie's voice will do - but there are plenty of examples of other folks (from Jenny Lind to Beverly Sills) who sang Classical piece while young and had FINE careers.

Jan. 06 2012 11:52 AM

I can see why Lisa Evancho said Jackie will become an Opera singer over her dead body.

Jan. 06 2012 11:16 AM
Steve Atkijnson from Snowmass

De gustibus non disputandum est.

Jan. 06 2012 11:15 AM
Jeff Sixpack from Malibu

Wow -- the Jackie Evancho fans are reminding me more and more of the followers of Lyndon LaRouche. I think there are only two or three of them posting (under many different names) as the lack of any sort of balance or reason (let alone musical knowledge) is astonishing. So Evancho is better than Fleming and Caballe, huh? Thanks very much -- check please!

Jan. 06 2012 11:06 AM
Bo from Long Island

More of the issue is Jackie's future music making. The way she is imitating an operatic voice is going to cause her to have no voice in the future. It is a terrible shame that her beautiful voice is being ruined by her current teachers. My daughter is a young opera singer (a young opera singer is between 20 and 30 years old) and I was told by other opera singers when she was a child to not allow anyone to touch her voice until she was at least 15 or 16 years old - and then to be very careful who trains her. The reason you don't hear from Charlotte Church anymore is because she blew out her voice doing the same thing that Jackie is doing now. It's very sad but you cannot compare a vocalist to a instrumental prodigy. Poor Jackie, she has no childhood and will have no voice as a adult.

Jan. 06 2012 09:42 AM
billphilpott from Shepherd Texas

It needs to be said that Jackie is a prodigy who is self taught and her own worst critic. From somewhere and she says it is God given she has gotten this amazing gift to sing as beautifully as anyone I and many others have ever heard. She is a Classical Crossover inger according to her statements. She ha never claimed to be an opera singer and probably never will be.

It is really hard to confine her to CC as her talent is so good that she could sing any Genre she wanted to. The world is swiftly catching on to Jackie's abilities that many of us have known for some time. At present she is in Japan performing with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and doing some other performing there too.

Jackie's fans are of all ages but have one thing in common. We love her and are highly offended when someone publishes lies and falsehoods against her. We have been thru this several times and we are getting better at handling these situations.

To invite Jackie to this witchhunt is disgusting as she is eleven years old and has more important things on her agenda. he doesn't need to defend herself as she has millions of fans who can do that for her.

Jan. 06 2012 09:41 AM


Not only have been demonstrating your complete lack of knowledge of music, I now realize you can’t read. I stated that Ms Evancho at age eleven sounds like Ms Durbin at age twelve. There is a YouTube clip of Ms Durbin’s first radio broadcast; maybe you are having trouble finding it. It does take slight bit reading ability to use YouTube. I also stated that a this time, I think that Ms Durbin is the better singer. , Ms. Durbin was not an opera singer, turned down the Met repeatedly. However, if I want to compare any performance of Ms Evancho, I would compare it Ms Durbin. Both are lyric sopranos. Ms Durbin singing in her latter years was quite frankly superior to most famous opera stars. Now I like opera, probably attended more concerts than you have, but I think Lady Ga Ga could sing O Mio Babbino Caro better that some of the opera singers that I have heard. Maybe, your problem is that Ms Evancho is walking away from opera the same as Ms Durbin did. Possibly you don’t care. That’s fine with me; your opinion means nothing to me anyway. I do like opera and would love for Ms Evancho become an opera star. After Mr. Page’s rant she probably would come near it, too many uneducated fanatics like you.

Jan. 06 2012 08:49 AM
Ken from Seattle

This whole attitude that Opera Snobs have that somehow their "art" somehow superior to other forms of music is a joke. The fact is Operas were NOT written as "art" - they were written and produced as COMMERICIAL VENTURES. They were the "Broadway Shows" of their day - that's ALL they were. They were produced for the MASSES and done to MAKE MONEY for their backers. In their day they were sometimes considered quite scandalous and risque - and THAT'S what their authors INTENDED. They were certainly not meant to be "snooty" and "stuck up" or designed as "Elite Entertainment". They were money-making shows - just as Broadway shows are today or Rock or Rap or C/W performances are today. It was NOT about "art" - it was about "money" and Opera composers, producers and performers prostituted themselves in that regard as much as any music writer, record producer or singing star does today.

SSDD - nothing really changes that much.

Jan. 06 2012 08:13 AM
Ken from Seattle

@Peet - Yeah, absolutely it's you - you and every other Opera Snob who somehow thinks that THEIR preferred style of music is somehow magically superior to every other. The fact is CC artists such a Jackie and Brightman and Bocelli serve as "gateway" artists to introduce the world of Classical music to potential new fans - some of whom go on to become Opera lovers and thus prop up the enemic Opera fan base. Not only that, but the income they generate for the record labels helps keep the Classical Divisions of the recording companies afloat - thus making it possible for folks like YOU to HAVE new recordings of Opera performances (Lord knows Opera and Symphonic recordings alone can't do for most record labels). The 2 more traditional branches of Classical music - ie Symphonic and Opera (CC is a 3rd branch) - are the ONLY 2 musical genres in the entire music industry that don't "pay their way" but instead rely on begging for donations from "deep pocket" benefactors to keep live performances funded and rely on much more popular CC artists to keep their divisions of record labels financially viable.

And what do CC artists like Jackie get from Opera Snobs in return for saving their butts? Nothing but scorn.
You should be THANKING such artists for what they contribute both financially and in the way of public interest in Opera and Classical Music in general.

What a bunch of ignorant ingrates.

Jan. 06 2012 07:57 AM
OperaNow! from NYC

Pittsburgh Opera presented Jackie Evancho. Not the symphony. The symphony having her sing as a pops concert I can see. The opera company doing os is tacit approval which is troubling.

Jan. 06 2012 07:00 AM
through the looking glass from Long Island

As the parent of a young teenage girl, I gladly welcome a young ray of light like Miss Jackie to deflect attention from many other popular singer/trainwrecks like rihanna and ke$ha. That my young daughter would CHOOSE to listen to Jackie , follow her videos, and sing her repertoire in the shower should bring pause to all of you who are seemingly only arguing professional/technical points. Don't you think it is refreshing to encounter a young performer who is capable of opening the door to other genres for thousands and thousands of younger audience members who might not otherwise engage in the standards/light opera/operatic repertoires at all? I'd be the first to admit Miss Evancho may not be the best at her craft, but she is a very good role model for every young girl who doesn't want to identify with the skin trade of the popular music scene.

Jan. 06 2012 06:35 AM
AvidWacky from Ohio

I hope an American Hip Hop Awards show doesn't break out. We ARE an opinionated lot. First, I'll confess to being a relative newcomer to this type of Music, in regard to buying. So you could say that Miss Evancho has inspired me to crack open my change purse and actually spend money on the type of Music that she enjoys performing. Secondly, I certainly HOPE she doesn't injure herself in the process of earning an income in her chosen field of Music. That would be a real shame. She'd still, however, be able to earn an income singing in some less demanding field of Music, and as long as it weren't something offensive to my senses, I'd probably go waltzing up the street trying to get me a seat. It wouldn't be out of the question that she alighted on some branch of Music I didn't like, but untill that day is here, I'm staying. Third, I've got to agree with Sandra in as much as the JonBenet statement [??]... It made me want to puke. Jackie wasn't THRUST and DRAGGED into the limelight : the limelight came looking for her, as if it were in need. She strode confidently in, looked her audience squarely in the eyes, and for the most part, won peoples hearts. People shouldn't "Freak Out" over any perceived "sexuality" to her Music. One might read "sexiness" into anything, if they chose to. That big nekkid statue she sings in front of in Dream With Me...?? It looks quite a bit like me. I always HAVE looked a lot like that statue. Does that MEAN anything?? Maybe, maybe not, I don't know. Being mildly Autistic, it's hard for me to care. I DO know, however, that Little Jackie [no ridicule intended] has helped pull me out of a depressed mire I've found myself in in the past, and I'm hoping she'll be able to do that again in the inevitable transitory occurance of my life. Please, Mr. Page, don't take my SunShine away. Some of us are in dire straights from time to time, and need a little brightness. I just wish she'd sing something "Happy", every now and then. But, then, I'm too much of a Joker at times. I'm sorry for that. Lastly, I hope the Emperor of Japan doesn't intend to "keep" you over there. It'd be far to far to walk to see you again. But there I go again. Sorry, Miss [and Mrs.] Evancho.

Jan. 06 2012 05:11 AM

Jeremy said
“I have a feeling you don't know nearly as much as you think you do . . . . .:
You act as if everyone involved professionally with singing, voice, and classical music sides with Professor Page, while every single person who sides with the Evancho family is a mouthbreather who knows nothing about classical music or voice.

True, Jackie has fans from across the spectrum, including people who don’t normally listen to any kind of music—all the way to people who mostly listen to opera and other forms of classical music, to people like me whose knowledge isn’t very deep but who regularly listens to many genres of music from around the world and across the centuries.

In fact, while Jackie’s core constituency is Classical Crossover fans, many of Jackie’s fans are not big CC fans. Probably my favorite orchestral piece is Sacre du Printemps, for example.

Jackie’s Wikipedia site can direct you to fans of Jackie who are voice specialists and opera business professionals. Why should we dismiss people like Dr. Rosen at the U. of Pittsburgh’s voice clinic in favor of your long distance “diagnosis,” based on your knowledge of singers who aren’t like Jackie Evancho. Those who have actually examined and worked with her have a radically different view of her art and her life.

More parochialism inheres in insisting anyone who sings opera arias is ipso facto an opera singer. Singing a part in an opera, unamplified (probably) is a very different matter from singing a song from an opera in concert.

People who really understand music understand that the requirements of those two settings may and often do differ significantly. In an opera, each aria must be sung in character and it must advance the plot. The fact that audiences regularly applaud after each big aria is really déclassé, frankly. It breaks the fourth wall and turns an opera into an athletic event.

Arias sung in concert must stand alone. Not only do they not have to be “sung in character” and advance the plot, they need no to, just as it they were an art song. And in the classical crossover and pop milieus they’re sung amplified.

So when I see “Turandot” I want to see someone like Domingo in his prime doing Prince Calaf. But when I see “Nessun Dorma” sung in concert, I want to see someone who can makes the song breathe on its own, without the oddball story’s baggage. In concert my favorite version is Jackie’s because she knows how to make it a song about longing and will—not about a prince’s looneytunes love for a serial killer psychopath.

And all that stuff about the defects in her singing—you’re missing the forest for the trees. When Jackie sings “Nessun Dorma,” about a quarter of the audience starts weeping. Even Domingo doesn’t make that happen. Think about it. She’s made more people love that aria than any fine opera singer has. BTW I’m not being sarcastic about “fine.” I love great opera singers. But I also love Jackie’s very different treatment of arias.

Jan. 06 2012 03:44 AM

@jeff sixpack

"Three and a half notes" ROFL that must have been the number of beers you drank before you posted such a stupid statement. Go play in the Malibu surf with the rest of your sixpack buddies(and mind the sharks). :D

Jan. 06 2012 03:05 AM
Anwaar from California

Actually, Jackie sounds better than Deanna Durbin. I've listened to Bartoli, Fleming, Netrebko, Cabale and though I like some of their performances, I can't listen to them for more than 30 minutes. I can listen to Jackie all day long. I think opera officianados fail to understand that to the average listening public, Jackie's voice quality is more important than technique. As technically imperfect as Jackie's voice may be, It is one of the most beautiful voices ever heard and I am not alone in this opinion.

Jan. 06 2012 02:57 AM

I can't help but respond to the gross error of judgement Mr. Tim Page made when he referenced the tragic story of JonBenet Ramsey in his article on Jackie Evancho printed in the Washington Post recently.

I am a child and family therapist. I recall watching with horror as the film of little Jon Benet Ramsey played over the T.V. when the murder investigation was going on. That innocent child displayed body moves that were sexually provacative and abnormal for a child so young. I knew she was coached at the very least, to behave in a sexually seductive manner. I feared to think what else had happened to her before her death. This little girl had her innocence stolen from her and her physical beauty was sexualized and exploited by those who should have protected her. But other than the fact that young Jon Benet and Jackie Evancho were/are beautiful and photogenic, any commonality I can think of stops there!!

I have watched many, many videos of Jackie Evancho including numerous interviews and performances. I also attended one live performance of Jackie's in 2011. As a family therapist I have been curious and watched this child and interviews with her family carefully. Blatantly AND between the lines the message is clear: Jackie Evancho is immersed in a supportive, nurturing and loving family environment. NONE of her attire has EVER been the least bit sexualized or seductive. I have NEVER observed inappropriate body movements or anything remotely similiar to what we saw with Jon Benet. What was Mr. Page thinking?

In fact, without exception Jackie non-verbally presents herself as child-like in excitement, enthusiasm and joy after each song she sings. She exhibits humility and innocence in her body language. Often she will actually take a little skip or jump in place during the applause which delights her. Information in spontaneous and prerecorded interviews is consistent with the non-verbal messages that this is a happy, well-adjusted, child who loves to sing.

Yes...during her singing you will witness intensity and interpretation of emotions she surely has never experienced first hand being only 11 years old. But this is an interpretive genius. She takes her cues straight from the music. And what you witness during a live concert is nothing short of miraculous! Jackie has repeatedly been given a choice to stop performing and go back to her life the way it was, according to an interview with her father. But this results in tears and pleadings to be able to continue to perform.

It would be most tragic for the readers of Mr. Page's article if they are disuaded from attending a live performance of Ms. Evancho when the opportunity presents itself. This is no exploited prodigy. This is a young girl, who given the exposure of television performance, was discovered by the world. This will be no flash in the pan. This is music history being made. Don't lose out on the opportunity to be witness to it.

Jan. 06 2012 02:45 AM


If you think Evancho sounds like Durbin did, then we have found the crux of the issue. Your ears. They sound nothing alike.

As to whether or not people singing opera at a young age will ruin their voices, that's very tough to say. There is no formula to making or ruining voices. Marilyn Horne said she started at 8 or younger, but she was very carefully guided by a parent who was a trained singer. The issue is THE WAY THE MUSIC IS SUNG. You can ruin your voice singing happy birthday if you pressing your larynx down with your tongue and forcing air through your cords.

Also, did someone say that "O Mio Babbino Caro" was restricted to opera singers? It's an operatic aria, and of course judgments about the quality of a performance of it will be made to opera singers.

I have a feeling you don't know nearly as much as you think you do . . . . .

Jan. 06 2012 02:06 AM
peet from Pasadena

Yes, it's me, personally, who's killing classical music. because my big mean nasty words about 'standards' and 'musical integrity' are keeping people like you away, people who just LOVE classical music but stay away from the concert halls because you might run into me during intermission. Aaaanwar - you got me. I became interested in opera just out of a desire for fame and power. Oh well. As for Evancho's fans, I'm sure she has millions. Not as many as Britney Spears, but, as we all know, she's still young. Really, really young.

Jan. 06 2012 01:56 AM

@ Bruce from Chicargo,

I just looked at my last post and it had typos also. Its quater to two here, and I think we both must be getting tired. Good Night hope to continue this again in the future

Jan. 06 2012 01:50 AM

I would be genuinely curious as to many commenters's familiarity with the subject matter at hand. Singing. If the discussion was about global warming and all of the scientists on the panel agreed, that would tell me something. The panelists agreed that she is manufacturing that sound and that there is no longevity in the way she is singing. Which is true. How do they know? Because any trained singer can hear it. As to whether or not she claims to be an opera singer, please. She is marketed hard and heavy as a young operatic wonder. Her star number has always been "O Mio Babbino Caro," an aria from Gianni Schicci that about three people on this thread have listened to. People who know about opera don't buy it. It's not snobbery. It's just being familiar with the subject at hand. Do you understand the concept of intonation? Legato? Consistency of vibrato? Dynamic markings? Italian diction? If not, how can you judge the quality of her performance. To what are you comparing her singing?

And that's what I think bothers me so much when I have this discussion with people. A singer's fame does not necessarily have anything to do with their vocal ability. For some reason people seem to think that because they have ears and a radio that they know something about music. You don't. You may know what you like. And you are certainly entitled to your opinion about her singing. But maybe you should check your ego before you deign to argue with trained musicians about the health and efficiency of a young singer who delves into the standard operatic repertoire.

I agree that opera should not be an elitist art form. But that doesn't mean we should apologize for the art form. It's as if to say "We know it's boring, but isn't this little girl cute?" Those going to see opera for a famous little girl who won a tv contest are not sustaining the art form. The aficianados who listen to real opera singers are. Opera singers like Caruso, Ponselle, Fleming, Stracciari, Flagstad, Melchior, Gencer, Radvanovsky, Price, Gedda, DiDonato, Polenzani, Zajick, Bjorling, Wunderlich, Brownlee, Te Kanawa, Horne, and a million others that most of these furious dissenters have never heard of. The ones who are the most excellent proponents of this art form. And they're all just a google search away.

But of course no one is interested in that. They'd rather talk about how cruel everyone else is than educate themselves about what the hell it is they're talking about.

Jan. 06 2012 01:48 AM

#Bruce from Chicago,

First I want to post your exact quote “in regards to your listening and hearing: you mention Durbin, Sills, and Andrews -good choices because they all say lightly and appropriately. Jackie is way off base in her singing and it wont last” I can’t male sense of it. You are starting to ramble. What does say lightly and appropriately mean? Who says what to who and when?

Jan. 06 2012 01:38 AM

@ Bruce Kemsler
Just were, did Oh mio babino caro come into this polite discussion. Are you suggesting that because Ms Evancho has sung this in the past, she now is officially an opera singer? How pretentious of you to think it can only be restricted to opera singers. Singers from classical cross over, pop and even rap, if that is your main interest, can sing it if they wish. I believe the exact quote is “she pushes and is forcing her voice to sound heavier” By that I assume you are trying to assert that that this is not her natural singing voice. That is why is suggested you look at Ms Durbin. Similar voices. Ms Durbin was reputedly courted by the Met to sing with them. However, Hollywood paid more money. Please do your homework.

Jan. 06 2012 01:23 AM
Ken from Seattle

Well Peet - you'll be pleased to know that YOU (and people like you) are the very REASON Opera and other forms of Classical music are dying in this country. Since you're so intent on keeping your club small and exclusive you'll be ecstatic to know that your little club of Classical Music and Opera fans is getting smaller all the time, pleased as punch to know that "the Syracuse and New Mexico symphonies folded. The Louisville Orchestra spent much of the year in bankruptcy proceedings and suspended concerts for the fall. The Utica Symphony also fell silent. Even the storied Philadelphia Orchestra sought bankruptcy protection, unheard of for such a major ensemble. Philadelphia shares the prize with the New York City Opera, which moved out of Lincoln Center to save money, cut its budget by nearly two-thirds and is struggling with its orchestra and chorus over its proposal for a drastic reduction in work." Soon all five of you remaining snobs will have the entire world of Classical music (including Opera) to yourselves. Oh HAPPY HAPPY DAY!


Jan. 06 2012 01:19 AM
everett cox from Arlington. Tx.

Let me be clear; Jackie has NEVER portrayed herself as an opera singer, and she is not billed as an opera singer. The only operatic arias she has ever sung are the one you played, OMBC, and Nessun Dorma, Pavarotti's closing number(and guess what she knocks them out of the park). Nessun Dorma is a BIG aria, and she has not sung it since her appearance on Britain's Got Talent last August.

Jackie knows what it takes to be an opera singer she's not stupid. She says quite rightly that she sings pop songs with a Classical voice which is the genre of Classical Crossover, one which neither of these falsely so-called "music critics", Page and White, have mentioned. Have you guys ever head of Tarja Turunen? Simone Simons? I didn't think so. They are at the top of the Classical Crossover genre.

BTW Ms. Moderator, the reason Jackie could not be with you is because she was on a flight to New York then to Japan where she will perform three concerts for the Japanese people and a private performance for the Royal Family. Mr. White did you do that when you were her age and singing? No? So sorry. Ms. Moderator you might try getting in touch with the Evancho team to set up an interview with her. She has done many interviews.

Her parents are supportive of her wishes to sing. They do not push her at all. She works less than 100 days a year and sings material that does not stress her voice. She has had voice training with former Welsh opera singer Yvie Burnett and she will continue to receive training.

Jackie will have a long and successful career as a singer, while Tim Page will sit behind his computer and suffer, knowing he was wrong about Jackie Evancho.

Jan. 06 2012 01:19 AM
Anwaar from California

@peet from Pasadena
You're probably going to get a stroke if you don't calm down. As you drive your Toyota corolla down the street remember that no one of importance in the opera world knows you and more importantly among the millions of Jackie's adoring fans no one really cares about your opinion. And last but not least Tim page may just have helped increase Jackie's popularity with his podcast.

Jan. 06 2012 01:18 AM
PeabodySherman from San Diego

I don't like the implication of exploitation or the sly link to Jon Benet Ramsay ("disgusting".) Mr. Page's observations based on Jackie's first AGT video. Has Mr Page and the other critics seen Jackie's later work, or better, seen her live? I have seen Jackie live, and she is marvelous.

Sixteen Grammy Award winner David Foster did predict future controversy because Jackie recorded Nessum Dorma. So that criticism was expected.

I am not a music expert like Mr. Page and his allies.

I know Jackie sung with Canadian Tenors, Sarah Brightman, Katherine Jenkins, as a lead off singer for Oprah Finale handing off to Josh Grobin (other great entertainers who followed her.) Jackie has sung with numerous singers watching her in the wings - people like Charice, Natalie Cole, LeAnn Rimes, Stevie Wonder, and others watching her. Mr. Page, the just mentioned singers started at a young age, too.

At Celebrity Fight Night, Jackie caused Reba McEntire to cry. David Foster, Yvie Burnett, Simon Cowell, AGT, BGT, and PBS producers, Jay Leno's Rickey Minor, and various orchestra maestros all have worked with Jackie. Jackie on tour has sung with up-and-coming tenors singing duets standing next to Jackie. The above-mentioned people know a few things regarding singing, too, and they've seen Jackie sing live or in practice.

My question - Is Mr. Page and his allies implying the above-mentioned famous artists failed to do due diligence and failed to correct or stop Jackie harming herself with her singing technique?

Jan. 06 2012 01:15 AM
Bruce Kamsler from Chicago, IL

to Kavic - in regards to your listening and hearing: you mention Durbin, Sills, and Andrews -good choices because they all say lightly and appropriately. Jackie is way off base in her singing and it wont last.

Jan. 06 2012 01:14 AM
Bruce Kamsler

to Kavic - Oh mio babbino caro, is from a Puccini Opera. And quote me correctly - I said she is pushing her voice not lowering it. And as for the rest - you prove yourself to be an uneducated pompous ass.

Jan. 06 2012 01:02 AM

@Bruce Kemsler from Chicago.

Now I have been supporting both the symphony and the opera for many years. You are the first to tell me learn more about the art of singing. So let’s start with your first fallacy: “She is lowering her voice to sound heavier. Now if you care for an education (I do hope you are capable of being educated) I would refer you to another lyric soprano Ms Deanna Durbin. Probably never heard of her being the uneducated lout that you are. You can view her on YouTube. Her voice at age twelve is spot on to Ms Evancho’s at age eleven. She also would, according to your limited experience, be accused of pushing air and forcing her voice to sound lower. Ms Durbin went on to be one of the highest paid female performers in Hollywood in the forties, Second fallacy: Children singing opera develop nodes before they are twenty. Neither Beverly Sills or Julie Andrews developed nodes before they were twenty. Just were do you get you idea’s from, comic books? Third fallacy; Ms Evancho sing opera. Wrong she is a classic crossover singer. I suggest you do your homework before putting your foot in your mouth.

Jan. 06 2012 12:55 AM
peet from Pasadena

I am a total opera snob. I will completely and happily admit it. A snob. I honestly think opera is the king of all art forms, and would rather listen to it than anything else. Got that? A stuffed shirt, an effete, pretentious, arrogant, elitist. I drive a corolla with 200,000 miles on it, and ate a festive meal of tamales and beans tonight, but when it comes to vocal art, the huge majority of overproduced vapid superficial trivial music you--yes YOU--listen to is barely worth taking the time to insult. That's my opinion. That's my taste. You're welcome to listen to whatever turns you on. Meanwhile, I am silently judging you. So let me clarify: Evancho is not "uppity." when it comes to opera, she is "incompetent." Her managers (I'm looking at you, Foster) are having her butcher these popular arias to give her a little aura of high art. We, the defenders of high art, are calling BS. Not on her, but on Foster who should know better but is dizzied by the dollar signs in his eyes. Steve, you don't have to tell ME she's not an opera singer. You have to tell the people who swoon over her wobbly, unemotional, saccarine version of "O mio babbino caro." And to ccrryxszvpwhatever, I didn't say she won't improve. She will get slightly--SLIGHTLY--better at pop music. Probably. But the door to singing opera is shut. She doesn't know that yet. She probably doesn't care; no one else around her seems to care. But she won't be able to go back and retrain. Linda Ronstadt sang Pirates of Penzance, and did an admirable job. She tried to do La Boheme, and quit about a month into rehearsals. And this was a highly successful professional with a fully developed voice. She couldn't meet the demands. Finally, Chuck, here's the reason the Classical Community isn't lining up at the stage door begging for autographs: because when it comes to the 'art' part of her repertoire, she is immature and (for people who listen to opera regularly) unlistenable. We've gone through this before with countless prodigies, and here in the United States of Amnesia, someone has to keep track of the carnage. She is a cute little girl and people are amazed at the big voice. Wow! Such a little girl! Such a BIG voice! And that's about the level of sophistication. So as long as you want to defend her as a pop singer, great. But please keep art out of it. She's not there, and she won't get there. Can't, actually.

Jan. 06 2012 12:47 AM
Steve Ledford

It seems to me that whether or not one has ever experienced a phenom like Jackie, it would behoove them to acknowledge that uncommon things (even things regarded as miracles) do happen. All the arguments that are presented for or against Ms. Evanchos' talent/impact are measured by each individuals life experience and expectation. Simply put, let her be who she wants to be. I strongly suspect her parents love her and want what is best for her. To suggest or imply other wise would be grasping at straws given the the fact that (according to Mike Evancho) they have to limit the amount of performances Jackie does because she loves preforming and relishes the opportunity to bring enjoyment to her audience. So, just accept it. Jackie has been blessed with an extraordinary talent that is hard for people to wrap their minds around. It's just not natural, and that is exactly the point!! Simply because one has never experienced something doesn't mean that it doesn't happpen/exist. Let's face it, every person is unique. Jackie is unique in a way that defies logic and life's experiences. Eleven year old girls just can't sound like that without some contrivance. Really?? You would not have to do much research to find many young prodigies who have stunned the experts with their ability to excell in their art. That being said, does anyone honestly beleive that Jackie's parents, agents, handlers or record label would be SO STUPID as to risk killing the goose that laid the golden egg?? So, in the end, it will boil down to what Jackie wants to do with her instrument. If the desire to perform remains in her heart, then no dream is to extreme. And, as a final note, Jackie said in an interview on 20/20 that her voice is proof to the world that MIRACLES DO HAPPEN!!

Jan. 06 2012 12:21 AM
Bruce Kamsler from Chicago, IL

to Kavic - CLEAN OUT YOUR EARS. Her voice is uneven; she pushes and is forcing her voice to sound heavier than it really is. People around her see $ everywhere. She will develop nodes. Learn more about the art of singing and just don't mouth off.

Jan. 06 2012 12:18 AM

@Bruce Kemsler from Chicago
That is one of the stupidist things said here tonight. There are a number of child singer that sang when they were Ms Evancho's age or even younger. Beverly Sills, started singing at age three. Deanna Durbin age eight. Judy Garland age eight. July Andrews age eight. All went on to have great careers Before making statements like "develope nodes by twenty" or "depraved people exploiting her", be prepared to offer proof. These statements are the reason that the opera world will never have Ms Evancho in it.

Jan. 06 2012 12:07 AM

It is a real shame that Mr. Page even started this discussion. Here we have a little girl that everyone agees has a great voice. Purest want to send in back to school and train it thinking that is the only wasy she achieve greatness. A section of the opera community think by beating her up now, they will save her from herself. In the future when she has been properly trained, they can sit back and congratulate themsevles for the genuis they have created. Now I love opera. All forms of classical music. I would love to see Ms Evancho decide she perfers to sing opera. After this debacle, I doubt that she will go anware near the opera community. What a loss, and I blame it on Mr. Page and his cronies.

Jan. 05 2012 11:49 PM
Bruce Kamsler from Chicago, IL

She will probably develop nodes and stop singing before she is 20. She has no business singing opera at 10. That she is allowed to ruin herself and her voice is an indictment of the depraved people around her exploiting her.

Jan. 05 2012 11:45 PM
Ken from Seattle

@Ehkzu - Yeah, with snobbish supporters such as those in the panel it's NO WONDER Opera is dying in this country (even the famed New York City Opera is having a horrible time). Opera didn't begin as the music of some kind of perceived "elite". In it's early years it was written for the masses and - as much as any genre in the music world today (INCLUDING POP) was a commercial venture written not so much as "art" but to MAKE MONEY for the producers just as Broadway shows are produced today. Over time musical tastes changed and today - especially in this country - Opera is largely dependent upon grants and donations by deep pocket benefactors in order to keep it's head above water. The LAST thing Opera needs is this snooty "we're better than everyone else" attitude that Opera Snobs seem to have. The fact is Jackie and other CC artist have probably drawn more interest in Classical music in general - INCLUDING Opera - than ANY Opera singer alive today. And Opera most definitely NEEDS the help.

Jan. 05 2012 11:42 PM
Ken from Seattle

M Nolte from Hilton Head - Yeah that's exactly right. I will say that it's a pretty good bet that OVERALL it requires much more skill to be a successful Opera Singer than to be a successful Pop Singer - but that DOESN'T mean that all Opera Singers are more highly skilled or more talented than all Pop Singers (thats a logical fallacy these folks seem to be constantly making) - and Jackie is FAR MORE than a simple Pop Singer. Even her detractors in the Opera world typically admit that she's a prodigy - and the fact is that prodigies BY DEFINITION break the rules and do things that other "normal" people simply cannot. Like you, I MUCH prefer Jackie to ANY Opera Singer and in fact PREFER CC as a genre to Opera as genre and find Opera to be wayyyyy to stilted and formal - and wayyyy too often HARSH on the ears - to suit my tastes.

Jan. 05 2012 11:21 PM

This panel discussion of Jackie Evancho was as objective as a Fox News panel discussion on President Obama.

Throughout the podcast biased assumptions were made, one after another--including by the ostensible moderator. It's a sign of intellectual insecurity when a panel's participants are all on one side of an issue--unless it's one where there's no controversy.

Thus I don't expect a panel on astronomy to include a Flat Earth Society representative. This panel's participants all took it as established facts that Jackie Evancho's parents are abusing and exploiting her; that she's being sexualized--since no none demurred when Professor Page stated that as a fact; that no legitimate orchestra would invite her to sing with them except for one on Pittsburgh; that her singing is unpleasant to listen to; and that she's pretending to be an opera singer.

Regardless of whether you like Ms. Evancho's singing or not, none of these are accepted as factual by everyone in the relevant communities.

Her wikipedia listing lets you link to comments by people in the classical singing community such as otolaryngologists, professors of voice, opera directors, and music critics--all of whom admire Jackie's singing, believe her parents are doing a great job, and in particular guarding the health of her instrument aggressively.

So it's not like countervailing views are unheard of. Quite the opposite. Therefore it seems both petty and parochial to exclude any opposition to Professor Page's avuncular dithyrambs.

The excuse of having no opposing voice because Jackie Evancho declined your invitation is jaw-dropping. If her parents had let her come that would have proven that they didn't care about her. For the host to even have asked her to come bespeaks a level of obliviousness--and unconcern for her well-being--that I can scarcely imagine. Rest assured that Professor Page and his cronies will never have the opportunity to get at her or anyone who works with her.

Jan. 05 2012 11:12 PM
M Nolte from Hilton Head


I was a season ticket holder to both the Clevenad Sypony and the Cleveland Opera for years. I heard some great opera perforances and some poor perfomances and some bad performances. Opera is not a sacred art form. There are a number of pop singrs who whould have been just as good, if not better than some of the performers that I listened to. Maria Carry to name one. I just returned from Ms Evanchos concert in Vegas. My wife and I both agree that we would prefer to see her perform, than go to any current opera company. My oppinion, having heard Ms Evancho, is that she can sing opera erias better than most Ive heard. You dont have to bee an opera snob to enjoy good music.

Jan. 05 2012 10:55 PM
Ken from Seattle

@Tracey - There is not ONE SHRED of evidence that Jackie runs a greater risk of ruining her voice than any other singer in any other genre. She sings well within her range, she doesn't strain (you NEVER see the veins popping out of her head the way you do with the multitude of "Whitney Houston wannabees out there) and sings with mic to a relatively light schedule. THOSE are the facts.

Jan. 05 2012 10:54 PM
Ken from Seattle

Tracey - Just because they DON'T sing that particular combination of notes doesn't mean they CAN'T. Pop and other genres don't generally require it but that doesn't mean that some of those singers COULDN'T do it - they CLEARLY have the range to do so.

Folks like you seem to think that music is some kind of mysterious voodoo that only the "high priests" of Opera can somehow understand. That's a bunch of ignorant nonsense - but go right ahead and drink that kool-aid if you like the flavor. There is NOTHING special about Opera - the SAME notes are used.

Jan. 05 2012 10:48 PM
Anwaar from California

You sound extremely bitter and upset. And you assume that Jackie will lose her voice. Perhaps she will and perhaps she won't . No one can tell for certain. What is certain is that she is a prodigy with a rare talent and a voice to enthrall and mesmerize millions! .. And that is precisely what she is doing!
But look at the bright side. If she loses her voice you can come back and gloat and say "I told you so".

Jan. 05 2012 10:45 PM

@Ken from Seattle

It appears you truly are too ignorant to understand that there isn't a pop singer on the planet that could sing those arias I linked to. I can't help you.


No pop singer can sing the Queen of the Night aria or Lucia's Mad Scene. If you think so, you are most certainly just as mad.

I understand enough about you now. Good luck to you. Most of all, good luck to little Jackie, who will be fawned over and told she is perfect until, very probably, she no longer can sing.

Jan. 05 2012 10:31 PM
Cuivre from The Met- Balcony

Joe Duerr- What you describe is exactly the reason Mr. Page used only one, somewhat impersonal competition video to base his conclusions on (besides his experiences from his own childhood, perhaps). I honestly believe he saw something in Jackie, and thought, "I better not watch any more of HER!! I might actual start to like her!" No critic could ever have that happen to them- it would be professional suicide. Fortunately, us non critics can listen to her and make an informed judgement- that is "to know Jackie's singing is to love it". Perhaps a pretty little blonde girl didn't invite little Timmy to her Birthday Party back when he was a little boy, and he feels Jackie will serve as his foil?

Jan. 05 2012 10:29 PM
M Nolte from Hilton Head

Any one that can bring more classical music to the awareness of the American public has my whole support. Mr Page on the other hand would silence Ms Evencho in the name of purity in opera or some other such nonsense. He supports this by claiming that child singers burn out before becoming adults. What kind of music critic has never heard of Beverly Sills, Deanna Durbin, Julie Andres, or even Judy Garland? He must have become a fan of rap, preferring to listen to someone beating on a hollow log with a stick uttering bad poetry or obscenities. I would suggest that Mr. Page do his homework, look up Deanna Durbin, a lyric soprano who started to sing when she was eight, under contract to MGN when she was twelve. There a plenty of clips on YouTube. The reason I bring this up is that they share astonishingly similar voices. A clip of Ms Durbin on the radio at age twelve shows her singing voice to have what critics here call an "artificial voice" then reverting back to a little girls voice afterward. She went on to become the highest paid female performer in Hollywood in the forties. Ms Durbin repeatedly turned down offers to sing for the Met. She is probably the first Clinical Cross Over Singer. The same genre that Ms Evancho states she prefers and Mr Page state does't exist. Then Mr Page goes on to link Ms Evancho to Jon Benet Ramsey. Good lord, I didn't that poor girl could even sing. You sure can learn a lot from has been music critics.

Jan. 05 2012 10:22 PM
Ken from Seattle

Tracey - AGAIN, there are NO "special notes" that only Opera singer sing. Notes are note and ranges are ranges. Opera DOES more or less REQUIRE an extended range, while Pop does NOT - but that's NOT mean that some Pop singers don't have just as good a range as even the best Opera stars - it just means that a great range is not REQUIRED to be a successful Pop singer. Some of the most successful Pop/Rock singers don't even have good voices (Bob Dylan comes to mind) but that doesn't mean that ALL Pop singers are vocally inferior to Opera singers. There are Pop/Rock singers with GREAT vocal ranges that can hit ANY note the Opera singer can. They sing in a completely different style and DO sing with a mic but their vocal ranges are JUST as impressive as any Opera star. So again - they ALL sing the SAME NOTES - NOTHING special about Opera in that regard. Singing without a mic? Sure - a very specialized Opera skill - but so what? CC artist - including Jackie - always sing with mics.

Jan. 05 2012 10:16 PM
Carlos Martinez from Chicago

This whole discussion reminds me of the criticisms thrown at Bass singers of Southern Gospel music like J. D. Sumner by the classical singing community, in that the only way they can achieve their booming low notes is by practically eating their microphones and having a 1000 watt speaker to amplify the notes. Just because their unamplified voices does not shake the very walls like true basso profondos such as Vladimir Pasjukov (R.I.P) does not mean that their music is not beautiful or that the feelings they evoke in their listeners are not real. In a similar vein, Miss Jackie Evancho achieves her sound using the same technique as traditional pop singers do, where the sound is generated in the back of the throat and is not intended to be projected but rather relies on amplification. Obviously, if she were to try to project her sound it would indeed damage her vocal chords because she would excert tremendous pressure on them. However, that is not the case, she is in fact singing more closely to a "crooning" style which allows for a softer more intimate sound. Critics are right in that her style of singing would have to be unlearned if she wanted to sing with a true operatic voice, but regardless of what critics my prefer I believe that is not in her current plans.

Jan. 05 2012 10:13 PM
Ken from Seattle

Tracey - WHAT exactly do those videos prove? What's their ranges? Tell me what the numbers are? You clearly don't even know what those artists ranges are - but are just ASSUMING that non-opera singers don't have those kinds of ranges. MOST Pop singers don't sing those kinds of ranges but that's NOT true of all. The 3 I mentioned are KNOWN for their extreme vocal ranges. Christina Aguilera is reputed to have a 4 octave range, Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston have a 5 octave range. Those are numbers as good as ANY Opera Singer - and BETTER than most. Again, those videos didn't really prove ANYTHING. Give me some FACTS.

As far as the silly comment made by another poster regarding the lanquage it's sung in - WHAT does the language have to do with the quality of the VOICE? Absolutely nothing. Jackie sings in several languages too (French, Italian and Latin - as well as English) - as do MOST CC singers - so what?

Jan. 05 2012 10:06 PM
Anwaar from California

@bernie from UWS,
You seem to imply that Jackie has very little talent. Thats one reason why your reasoning lacks credibility. Jackie is widely known and recognized as a prodigy ... A very rare and unusual prodigy. If she sounded natural like any other 11 year old girl she would never have the kind of success and adulation she enjoys today... Much to the chagrin and dismay of arm chair opera experts. The millions of fawning fans she has garnered in slightly more than a year dont listen to her for objectivity...they listen because she mesmerizes them with a voice that's considered incredibly beautiful regardless of age and gender....and that is a fact...ask any fan or music industry expert.

Jan. 05 2012 10:04 PM
Mother from USA

Talk about a biased conversation!! You invited Jackie Evancho to participate with a bunch of pit bulls, why would she. Let's go over a few of the items Mr. Page brings up.
He doesn't like how she dresses. That's almost hysterical to me. Has he shopped for a 11 year old these days? Try finding age appropriate clothes (which Jackie does wear). Not an easy task these days. Are you Amish by any chance?
He doesn't like her management which he made a point of not wishing them any success but he did wish Jackie well (as long as she doesn't sing) He continues to bring up the Jon Benet Ramsey which is the most offensive remark he has made. There is absolutely zero, nada, zilch to compare the two. Look back at Jackie when she was Jon Benet's age, she wasn't made up, she wasn't dressed in costumes, she didn't parade around the stage performing like she was a 20 year old. She was a little girl who sang in front of microphone. No comparison, whatsoever. Her parents have commented on some shows where the makeup artist overdid Jackie and were quite upset with it but apparently when in front of cameras, makeup is almost mandatory. Even men go to makeup when in front of a camera. He's done nothing but try to trash everything around her, her entire support system, whom she happens to have very strong feelings for. He comes on a radio podcast with all his "cronies" so he can get some support because in the real world, he doesn't have a leg to stand on. He has done everything in his power to trash everything about an 11 year old kid and then he wonders why people are upset with him? Oh, but "I wish her well". Yea, as long as she goes away and climbs the ladder the old fashioned way. Her voice he continues to critique on recordings from over 18 months ago. He has never seen her in person. Well, Mr. Page, your loss sir. She's a beautiful, kind, sweet kid who has a dream and you would do anything in your power to squash it, even go on a radio podcast to continue your rant and drum up support from your "cronies" Mr. Page, GET A LIFE and if you were any kind of a responsible journalist, you would have done some research.

Jan. 05 2012 10:04 PM
Joe Duerr from Santa Ana, California

Let me start by saying I don't know anything about music.
I have no idea the difference between one octave or four.

I have seen Jackie criticized for her breathing, hand movements,
the way she stands and God knows what else.

I would like to start by saying I don't care how she breathes
so long as the sound comes out the way it does.
If your listening to how she breathes you're missing everything.
She sells millions of albums because of the way she sounds, not breathes.

I think more singers should pay attention to her hand movements because
to me it looks like she feels what she is singing. Just sayin...

She is using her voice not gimmicks, vulgarity or sex to sell her music.
I don't think I'm alone thinking that is refreshing in today's world.

When I watch her sing Nessun Dorma I still tear up.
I went online and listened to thirty other people do the same song.
I even posted links to all 30 for anyone else to try.
Jackie is still the only one that leaves tears in my eyes.
So IF she is not doing it right I hope she never does.

I haven't seen her as much in person as I would like to have but
I have never seen her bruised, doesn't appear to have been beaten, in fact
she honestly looks like she is having fun.
In fact if we go by appearance there need to be a lot more 11 year old kids as humble, polite, gracious, well mannered and giving as she is.

As for Tim Page I think the only reason he wrote what he did was to get attention. I and thousands of other people had never heard of him before this, no matter how important he thinks he is.
I really think he needs to have a beer and chill.

All of this is just my opinion.
a JEffl (Jackie Evancho fan for life)

Jan. 05 2012 10:03 PM
Cuivre from The Met- Balcony

And to those who think Jackie is being exploted and is ready to run away due to her being forced to perform, you would be well served to watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAPamp5jcLk

Jan. 05 2012 10:00 PM

Who the hell is this tracey person?? She obviously knows nothing about Jackie and classical-crossover so people really don't care about your opinions and the opinions of these stupid so-called "experts" thank you very much.

Jan. 05 2012 09:55 PM
Chuck Yates

►► The question everyone is asking is... why aren't others in the Classical Community stepping up with counterpoints in support of Jackie Evancho... there are several reasons...

1) Arrogance. They tell each other that they can diagnose an anomaly of vocal technique using a YouTube clip of a concert performance. Of course, we all know it's nuts, that's like a doctor claiming to diagnose athletes foot while the patient is going over the low hurdles.

1) Pettiness. It has always been easier for the cynics to posture themselves for a hearty ITYS. In twenty years, should Jackie be recognized as an icon, the naysayers from her youth will be dead, forgotten, and, as always, irrelevant.

2) Peer pressure. They would be ostracised from others in their insular and inbred orbit.

3) Money. They should be thrilled that Jackie is making the revenue pie bigger by drawing in new fans. Instead, as stated by Mr. Page, they think Jackie is diverting boxoffice away from those singers who have been around longer.

The sound of the cheers, bravos, and standing ovations being showered on Jackie is painfully deafening from where the cynic sits, on the curb under her marquee. Ironically, Jackie would be the first to welcome them inside.

Jan. 05 2012 09:53 PM
Richard from Virginia

In reading some of the comments posted here I cannot stop to reflect on the fact that Jackie's gift to us is a gift from God and she expresses that gift beautifully and humbly. She appears to be a normal child with a huge talent and appears to also have a stable home life. I thank God for the gift of Jackie Evancho.

Jan. 05 2012 09:53 PM
Dirk Digler from LES

Tim Page is exactly right. Whether or not she thinks she's enjoying this lifestyle, her parents should know better. No kid at age 11 should be singing the amount she does, especially using that strained "fake opera singer" voice.

The whole act is just plain creepy and people who eat this stuff up are the same kind of people who exploit 5 year olds by dressing them up for child beauty pageants.

Jan. 05 2012 09:38 PM
M. Sims

What are the flaws you speak of? Breathe control?
See its always difficult talking to these so called "experts" who seem to have an opinion and who dont care about the facts.
They rationalize their criticism as "concern".
I want "Tracy" to write what videos has she seen of her? Has she seen her in concert recently?
If you havent seen her live in front of you, Tracy what makes you think you are any kind of expert? Have you Tracy or any of these so called critics ever discussed her technique with her Parents or her Vocal Coaches?

Lets be honest here, talking about Jackie gets you attention.
She is the biggest new star in classical music.
Tim Page has this huge article which recieved a lot of traffic because shes so popular and because he compared her to Jon Benet.

Its been discussed before, she is not an opera singer.
Her classical crossover repertoire includes a few opera arias and she doesnt sing them
as an opera singer would, they are transposed down to a level within her range. That is not dangerous.
Regardless of what your opinion is she is not singing anywhere near the same amount as any opera singer or as rigorously. When she does sing at occasional concerts, she sings for a very limited amount of time with usually a break or two in the middle of her short set.

Also regardless of your opinion, no one is forcing or pushing her into anything. There is no exploitation. She loves to perform and this comment about her Rockefeller Center performance is nonsense, she with every performance appreciates the crowd response and loves it. Hes not seen her live either.

This whole notion that she is not singing safely is only theory
and unproven. Keep posting her agt debut video btw.
She continues to improve with every performance.
Go see her in concert.

One last point, Bocelli debuted on a show similar to AGT in Italy,
Sanremo festival and thats what launched his career.
Its the same with Jackie. It was only a launching pad.

Jan. 05 2012 09:19 PM


I appreciate your comment. These aren't my favorites overall, either. I like the verismo arias like those by Puccini, but it is coloratura that most easily shows the separation between operatic sopranos and other singers.

Thank you.
(this is not what anyone would expect from Jackie Evancho, needless to say - just a demonstration here as requested)

Jan. 05 2012 08:56 PM

Tracey, I'd never want to take away from what opera singers can do. They indeed have finely honed skills. What you showed is extreme vocal athletics. While not very pleasant to listen to, very impressive.

Jan. 05 2012 08:50 PM

Sam.. to answer your question, two words: Peer Pressure.

Jan. 05 2012 08:47 PM


I provided the requested proof for @Ken from Seattle that opera singers can hit notes and combinations of notes that other singers can't. Down the comment section a bit. If you'd care to add any links, please feel free.

It's a preposterous suggestion.

Jan. 05 2012 08:42 PM

I just found last year's WQXR clip where Robert White said that he did NOT think that Evancho was hurting her voice: http://www.wqxr.org/#/programs/artsfile/2010/dec/03/

He apparently hasn't listened to her sing anything new since then. So, why the change of heart?

Jan. 05 2012 08:25 PM

Pasadena Peet

Who cares if Houston doesn't sing in a bunch of languages. Big deal. Who cares. Meaningless. Most opera attendees have no clue what they're hearing context wise. They have to read the program to know what the heck th e opera is about. Again, meaningless.

According to you Jackie won't improve. People have been saying that since America's Got Talent, and obviously they were wrong. She improves drastically from month to month. When David Foster recorded "Dream with Me", he said that Jackie improved so much from the first sessions to the last he felt like recording the songs over again. LOL... but that would be silly because if he recorded them over again, at the end of those sessions he'd feel the same way again... and back to the studio.. a never ending cycle. You bet your sweet begonia she's improving.

Jan. 05 2012 08:16 PM
Steve Atkijnson from Snowmass

@Peet says:

"Eventually, she’ll have to give up that repertoire because people will begin comparing her versions of arias with the versions by people who trained, and waited, and were patient, and know what they’re doing. "

And here we have, in a nutshell, the source of vituperation from the opera snobs - she's uppity. She has not "earned" her success. IOW, jealousy.

P.S. - repeat for Peet - NOT an opera singer. NEVER said she was an opera singer. DENIES being an opera singer.

Jan. 05 2012 08:11 PM
Peet from Pasadena, CA

You’re right, Evancho is not an opera singer. The point is that she will never be one. Never. Eventually, she’ll have to give up that repertoire because people will begin comparing her versions of arias with the versions by people who trained, and waited, and were patient, and know what they’re doing. Charlotte Church abandoned even her pretentions to serious music. She hosted a talk show. That’s Evancho’s career trajectory. Instead of being a singer, she’s going to be a celebrity. Cashing in on stuff she did as a kid. Fine. Any way to make a living as long as you’re not hurting someone. But she sounds artificial and forced NOW. She won’t get better in the future. As to whether the ‘notes’ sung by opera singers and by pop singers are the same? I guess. In the same way that I grill steaks and Bobby Flay grills steaks. We’re doing the same thing, right? When Whitney Houston can sing in flawless Italian, German, and French, without amplification, for three hours straight, in Baroque, Classical, Romantic, or Modern style, I’ll take that argument seriously.

Jan. 05 2012 08:04 PM

@Lisa Hirsch: I've heard Jackie without a microphone (briefly, when it went out for 30 seconds or so) - because I was in the front row, in fact in the closest seat on 20 December in Pittsburgh. She kept right on singing, and (except for the echo - not reverb - from the speakers in a hall not really designed for amplification) she sounded the same as with the amplification, except much much quieter. Using a mic, she's no louder than she needs to be, unlike some.

Jan. 05 2012 07:58 PM

Cuivre from The Met- Balcony-

LOL no doubt, Lisa would not only hold her own, she would eat Page alive. She would hold him accountable for suggesting things such as they were sexualizing Jackie. He's void of facts, and besides Lisa being part lion & bear, she has a pedigree in logic. He'd be toast.

Jan. 05 2012 07:36 PM
Cuivre from The Met- Balcony

Bernie- Does it take 10-20 years of intense training for opera singers to learn how to sound natural? Jackie is an autodidact. Could someone giving an impression of an opera singer have a 3 1/2 octave range? Perhaps we could ask that famous opera tenor, Frank Caliendo? He should be able to pull off a good Pavarotti, right?

Jan. 05 2012 07:35 PM
Bubba from Flyover, USA


I don't gloss over her faults, I am not capable of hearing them. I belong to the "I don't know Art, but I know what I like" group, I haven't had the vocal training to know what the faults are, or why they might be harmful.

I do know her singing is more beautiful than almost anyone I've ever heard. Many people are probably in the same boat with me.

I don't think there is anything anyone can say to me that would help me see her faults. I literally can't hear them. It might make me stupid also, but at least happy. You are barking up the wrong tree. Talk to Julliard about her. They can fix her in a couple of years (minimum age @ j is 13) if she shows up on their doorstep.

Jan. 05 2012 07:33 PM

Jeffsixpack, Actually 3 1/2 octaves... PLUS.. and that was months ago. Just listen. She's has hit them before available on vidoe to your ears, but just doesn't do it as a rule.

Jan. 05 2012 07:30 PM
Cuivre from The Met- Balcony

crryep- I do believe they would have been no match for Lisa, had she been in studio with them. Typical for these types to not have any counterpoint, and only throw out a token "We asked if they wanted to come"...

Jan. 05 2012 07:22 PM
Bubba from Flyover, USA


This is the video clip from NPR Tiny Desk Concert.

There is also a link on that clip to the Audio clip which is three songs.

This is what she was like in May of 2011. She sounds even better today. Much better. Hard to believe she can improve this quickly.

Jan. 05 2012 07:21 PM

@Ken from Seattle

I hope the links work.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myfj2dvAuRU (I listen, not watch)




Jan. 05 2012 07:17 PM
Bernie from UWS

What's fascinating to me is how much the super-fans who rushed to Evancho's defense here seem to be unwilling to give any ground that there are serious flaws in her voice (which any competent voice teacher will identify). I'm a fan of many different artists with vocal weaknesses (heck, Bob Dylan among them) but I'm not blind to their flaws.

I think it's important to realize that Evancho may have some kernel of talent behind all the star machinery. And she may even bring happiness to her fans. But you can also objectively listen to her and realize that she's mimicking an operatic voice, and there's nothing "natural" about the way she sounds. It's not a judgment, just a fact of what we're dealing with.

Jan. 05 2012 07:15 PM
Ed Cloos from Florida Panhandle

I haven't heard her a lot. but I've very much enjoyed what I've heard. She's a kind of "freak", of course, but her singing is beautiful. If she didn't perform now the experience would be lost for all of us. Her voice surely will change as she grows to adulthood, and maybe it will be great and maybe not. I haven't seen credible testimony that her youthful performances are hurting her or are likely to.

Jan. 05 2012 07:07 PM
Steve Atkijnson from Snowmass

@Lisa Hirsch, you said "I want to know how much post-processing is done with Jackie Evancho's voice between the microphone and the speakers to get it to sound so much like a mature instrument. Or I want to hear her without the microphone."

This is about as close as you will get. Audition for PBS held in an office.


Also, there are numerous YouTube videos taken in venues like nursing homes, where I don't think they had audio processing equipment. You could listen to them. Her AGT audition piece, "Panis Angelicus" is one such.

So, if there is no processing, then I take it you admit that the maturity of her instrument is real?

Jan. 05 2012 06:49 PM
Lisa Hirsch from California

The person saying that opera singers often perform on consecutive days is wrong. Take a look at the schedule for any opera at the Metropolitan, San Francisco, LOC, etc. and you'll find that a particular work is not scheduled on consecutive days. That's to keep from killing the singers.

I want to know how much post-processing is done with Jackie Evancho's voice between the microphone and the speakers to get it to sound so much like a mature instrument. Or I want to hear her without the microphone.

Jan. 05 2012 06:36 PM
Jeff Sixpack from malibu, CA

Three and a half octaves? I think not. Maybe three and a half notes.

The show was spot on. Thanks for airing it.

Jan. 05 2012 06:32 PM

Janey, If I'm not mistaken, Jackie an average of once a week at best. That's with a limited song set. She uses only 2 1/2 octaves of her 3 1/2 plus range as to stay in a safer range.

Oh I'm sure she could hurt her voice, but she is risking that. I believe in taking risks especially when you are benefiting from them n so many ways.

Yes there's a risk. Everyone knows that.

Jan. 05 2012 06:15 PM

It was mentioned during this blog cast that Jackie and her manager were ask to participate in the conversation, but didn't.

I'd like to ad that Jackie flew to jJapan late Tuesday. I'm sure her schedule made in impossible to accept the invitation, being on opposite side of the world time. Also, I assume for a big event like this, a concert and performing for the emperor and empress, that her manager is along with the entourage.

With that I'm not certain it would be appropriate for an 11 year to defend what she's doing in such a format.

Jan. 05 2012 05:55 PM
Ken from Seattle

So prove it. Show that "opera singers routinely hit numerous notes in a myriad of combinations that other singers cannot". Show how they hit notes that say Whitney Houston, and Mariah Carrie and Christina Aguilera cannot. You say it's easy to prove - so do it.

Jan. 05 2012 05:39 PM

Why not play excerpts from Evancho's 2011 recording, "Dream With Me" instead of her live AGT performance, recorded when she was 10 years old and singing for the first time on national TV? How about her performance of "Angel" or "When You Wish Upon a Star", which she also sang as a duet with Tony Bennett on his album Duets II? How about this song from her April 2011 PBS special?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pMM8sdXp5o

I don't understand why you just accept that she is singing dangerously. So Tim Page doesn't like it. Many other critics have hailed her vocal beauty, phrasing and interpretive powers. I don't hear vocal stress. Not perfect technique yet, but Evancho sings with a natural beauty that would make any singer jealous. How about this: Evancho has already had a more successful career than Robert White has had by many measures. Has he ever had a platinum-selling album? No. A solo concert at Avery Fisher Hall? No. If she stopped singing today, her career would have been something that few performers could ever hope for.

More important, though: Tim Page has been attacking this young girl's parenting, even though he hasn't bothered to actually look into it. Wasn't Naomi Lewin uncomfortable simply *assuming* that Evancho is being "pushed" and exploited? How could she allow Page to repeat, unchallenged, his outrageous comparison of Evancho to JonBenét Ramsey, whose parents were accused of her murder? There is abundant evidence to the contrary. It was also outrageous when you said that you had asked this 11-year-old child to sit with a hostile music critic and an old opera singer to defend her singing technique on live radio! This is just bad journalism.

Jan. 05 2012 05:35 PM
J from Sarasota, FL

@Ken You are correct about the opera arias, I used that term loosely. The program was indeed a mix, however, there were more than 2 arias on the original program. What was cut in PBS' editing process may have changed some of that, I never watched the PBS broadcast. I can attest to my involvement by the fact that the 13th Variation of Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini that was recorded (pno/orchestra, no voice) was not originally programmed, but because of this last minute idea from artistic leadership, the producers were required to do some serious leg-work to negotiate the proper contracts/music rentals for this copyrighted work.

Jan. 05 2012 05:29 PM

@ken from Seattle

You are mistaken. Opera singers at no time perform more than once every two days but more likely three. Your indignation is based on a lack of understanding of the voice - an understanding the three very experienced commentators had.

The point is the girl. Regardless of who or what she is called (I have seen her talk about singing opera), she needs help. Typing in capital letters and flinging all the ridicule you can muster will not change this fact.

Jan. 05 2012 05:28 PM

I'd like to call Page on this. I read every post on his page, and only a few at best could be considered "angry" as he put it. Also, he implied that people threatened his life. There were no such comments in that direction what-so-ever.

With that, if someone was angry, that reaction may be reasonable. He said that Jackie Evancho reminded him more of JonBenet Ramsey than Maria Callas. He never mentioned how, so I ask him, and he didn't reply.

JonBenet Ramsey at 6 years old was dressed and made up to look like an adult. Jackie always dresses age appropriate, and does not wear make up. Only lip balm. Jackie dresses in age appropriate in formal attire at concerts as boys wear formal suits when in chorus. The only "adult" thing about Jackie is her voice, and it's real... not contrived.

Jackie is also twice the age of Ramsey. Ramsey life was a tragedy. Is Page suggesting that Jackie's life is a tragedy? Personally I think he was just trying to make people think so.

Also Maria was a prodigy vocalist, just like Jackie. Very similar as children.

Jan. 05 2012 05:18 PM


It is well known that both Andrews and Sills had prematurely developed vocal apparatuses.

@Ken from Seattle

In actuality, opera singers hit numerous notes in a myriad of combinations that other singers cannot. If you are not familiar with opera, you likely would not understand this point. It is very easy to prove.

Jan. 05 2012 05:13 PM
Steve Atkijnson from Colorado

Let me type this slowly.

NOT an opera singer. NEVER claimed to be an opera singer. DENIES she is an opera singer.

But apparently, she has raised some fear in the opera community, so it becomes necessary to create this "opera singer" straw man and then knock it down.

Jan. 05 2012 05:11 PM
Cuivre from The Met- Balcony

Here is the truly unaltered voal performance I neglected to link to in my previous post:


Jan. 05 2012 05:05 PM
Ken from Seattle

J- Sorry, but I don't buy your claim to have been involved in the Dream With Me concert production. Jackie was not singing arias throughout that show. There were in fact only TWO arias performed. Secondly, your claim that "pro singers would require a day off to rest their voices" is flat out WRONG. Even in the Opera world, shows are usually performed several days in a row. This month for example the Seattle Opera performs Attila several nights in a row on a couple of occasions. Overall, Jackie's singing schedule is pretty light - generally consisting on 3 performances a month.

Jan. 05 2012 05:04 PM
Bubba from Flyover, USA

"...The path not taken."

Should she wait or should she sing?

Will singing change her voice?

Will the next few years change her voice anyways?

As a teenager, will her interests change from singing to stamp collecting?

If her voice changes, will it be for better or worse?

All fascinating questions that by now have been deliberated ad nauseum.

For my part, at the age of 64, I'm VERY happy I lived long enough to hear her voice, see her perform, and watch her develop over the past few years. She has been improving by leaps and bounds, and I don't think I've ever seen someone who enjoys getting out on stage to sing as much as Jackie.

While she is on this path, her parents and handlers are managing the day to day as well as the longer term issues, so I leave it to them to make the right decisions by keeping the big picture in mind. I believe the are and they do.

Like any good Bubba from Flyover, USA, I also leave it to others to know the proper techniques for teaching singing to talented young newcomers. I've seen how fast she improves and how she changes her technique. Study her performances on Youtube and see for yourselves. HUGE changes in under a year!

Tim Page wrote his piece in WAPO in such a manner that it really ended up being a polemic at Jackie's expense. As a result, I believe he missed his point altogether. It looked like any of a number of term papers I might have written in High School just to get them in on time for at least partial credit. This recent comment might be his idea of a first step to resurrect his reputation. Better he should drop this subject altogether, in my opinion.

Jackie is already on a path. Where it goes, I don't know, but I support her right to pursue it until her parents change it, because later, she won't be able to go back in time and take the other path, "...the path not taken." (Apologies to Robert Frost.)

Jan. 05 2012 05:02 PM

It doesn't always turn out badly. I don't have direct links handy, but last night on YouTube I ran across a recording of 12 year old Julie Andrews singing Je Suis Titania with a cadenza that displayed her then 4 octave range and a film of 8 year old Bubbles Silverman singing on a radio talent show. Not perfect performances but remarkable and fascinating. Easily found with YouTube's search function.

Jan. 05 2012 05:01 PM
Ken from Seattle

Tracey - that's a bunch of bull. No one is "Accusing" Mr. Page of having a mental defect - he ADMITS it himself. It's just a FACT. Secondly, it doesn't matter if OTHER (ignorant) people call Jackie an "Opera Singer" - the fact is she is NOT - nor does she claim to be (any more than Sarah Brightman or any other CC singer is). Yes, she's performed a HANDFUL of Opera Arias (3 I believe) but they are a VERY SMALL part of her what she does - so it's NOT like she's performing Opera all the time.

Not that it matters as you say - there's NOTHING special about Opera Arias. They all involve the SAME NOTES as any other musical genre. In spite of what the "high priests" of Opera would have you believe, they don't have their own "special" set of notes that other genres don't. Sorry to disappoint you but they sing the VERY SAME SET OF NOTES as everyone else. There ARE things about Opera that DO require special (years) of training - specifically things like filling an Opera House with your voice WITHOUT the use of a mic for periods of up to 2 hours an evening (for several evenings in a row) - NONE of which apply to CC singers since they sing WITH a mic.
In short, there is NOTHING Jackie is doing that is any more stressful on a voice than what any other singer does - and I venture that all those "Whitney Houston wannabee" kids out there belting out songs at the top of their lungs with their veins popping out on their necks and foreheads are doing things FAR more more harmful to their voice than anything Jackie does. Maybe these 3 clowns should focus their attention on all THOSE kids (and Youtube is FULL of them).

Jan. 05 2012 04:53 PM
bruce benson from California

In my earlier post I misidentified Mr. Page with the wrong name. My apologies. It is Mr. Page, not Mr. Pilant (whose name I further bobbled by spelling it Plant), with the problems I have suggested.

Jan. 05 2012 04:49 PM
Cuivre from The Met- Balcony

Jackie will take the accusation that her vocal quality MUST be ENHANCED as a compliment, much as her father said she takes the accusations that she is lip-synching as a compliment. Here is another modified vocal performance. I believe the sound mixer must have been very discreetly disguised in the book shelf she sang in front of. Perhaps the "unnatural" voices are the ones it takes 10-20 years of training to produce. Jackie's voice simply falls outside the typical bell curve of what people have grown accustomed to expect- she is a statistical outlier-which is what a prodigy is. This is the point!

Jan. 05 2012 04:47 PM
J from Sarasota, FL

I was involved in her video recording at the Ringling Art Museum in Sarasota, Florida, and it was almost grotesque to see the expectations put on this young girl. The orchestra was well into 3 hours of rehearsal (orchestra overtime) and she was still standing in her same spot on stage, still singing same arias, before performing almost the same length of a performance with re-takes the next day. Any pro singer would have required a day off to rest the voice. There is also something very unnatural about her voice, not to mention some of the overdubbing we noticed...these young girls are definitely more of a revenue tool for various parties involved.

Jan. 05 2012 04:32 PM
bill philpott

I am really surprised that Mr Page's comments would even be published anywhere but in the National Inquirer. I have heard all of Jackie's songs that have been published on youtube and have all of her CDs and the PBS Great Performances Concert.I ee nothing wrong with Jackie's Career, singing or parenting.

Closed minds cannot comprehend the enormity of this beautiful, gifted child Prodigy. She is the most polite decent respectable human being I know and deserves none of this slander.Is there no common decency left?

Jan. 05 2012 04:24 PM

- Mr. Page undoubtedly mentioned the Berlin Philharmonic because it is recognized as the best orchestra in the world. I imagine little Jackie will have a wonderful time singing with the Tokyo Philharmonic, which is a pop orchestra.

- Accusing Mr. Page of having a mental defect is uncalled for.

- I have seen the child referred to as an opera singer many times. In a search for articles, the titles use the term "opera singer." She sings opera arias, including Nessun Dorma.

It makes not one iota of difference. Her vocal production is potentially dangerous whether she is labeled as an opera singer or not. The individual who suggested criticisms are inapplicable because the child is a crossover singer obviously knows nothing about vocal production.

- I too hope a teacher is found so that her gift may be preserved.

Jan. 05 2012 04:23 PM
Chuck Yates from Los Angeles

Jackie Evancho has never claimed to be an opera singer... period. That fact is clear, that fact is well known. She sings what sounds good for her instrument and her talent. That is why music lovers have purchased millions of her albums, and why she is able to continue on her sold-out concert tour, and why she has been invited to perform on television over a dozen times in the last eighteen months.

She doesn't sing opera... period. Ellis 'Tim' Page knows this, but he also knows that if he prefaced his comments with that fact there would be nothing else for him to say. The purpose of his articles and interviews would be moot and irrelevant. When was the last time Mr. Page was asked his opinion on a radio show? He was allowed to participate in this one because of the article he wrote, and the angry public response it elicited caused by his wildly inappropriate comparison of Jackie Evancho to the tragic Jon-Benet Ramsey, murdered at the age of six. Here is Mr. Page's written quote regarding Jackie Evancho, "...she is being sexualized and paraded." --- Nothing could be more ridiculously absurd.

Jan. 05 2012 04:02 PM
Cuivre from The Met- balcony

Ms. Evancho is NOT being marketed as an opera singer. She is a Classical Crossover performer, therefore the aspects of her singing, as judged by effete opera experts makes about as much sense as a podiatrist opining on best surgical approaches to a brain tumor. Them mocking her audiences only proves their

As to their opinion on the Evanchos parenting, that just reeks of sanctimony and their assumptive projections, perhaps based on, especially Mr. Page's unhappy upbringing and his diagnosed mental deficits WRT Asperger's syndrome and the associated lack of emotional intelligence. Tim Page judging the interpretative ability of Ms. Evancho makes about as much sense as David Duke judging a Miss Black America pageant.

Jan. 05 2012 03:59 PM

Arden.. fair question.. "where are her parents?"

At least one of her parents is with her at every show, and every other engagement too. Also along is one of her siblings if not all of them. Uncles and aunts are frequently along too. Also along on occasion is a child friend.

Her parents are also concerned about her vocal health, and say no to many performances, and keep her schedule light. When she performs, she has a rather short song list. Until she reaches puberty, and is of age to pursue vocal lessons more aggressively, her coaching is limited to correcting technique that may hurt her voice. Early on when she first started singing, she was receiving voice lessons, but when her parents learned the aggressive nature of her teacher's methods were not a good ting, they dropped the coach.

There are times when producers want Jackie to spend more time on her work, but her mother is adamant that Jackie has to have her "kid" time. That the music must wait! Her parents regularly have talks with her about not continuing with the music, and that she doesn't have to sing/perform, but this always brings Jackie to tears begging to pursue her dreams.

I'm not sure what hand gestures have to do with anything other than being intense into song. Plenty of adult artist catch "butterflies" too.

In regard to looking to the pianist at the end of that one performance before reacting to applause, Jackie almost always waits until the last note of music is played even if it's several bars after she last sings, before she leaves a song behind. She gives her accompaniment due respect. This is also evident even when she does videos at home. She waits until the very last note of a song is complete before her great big smile appears. She's into the whole of a composition. Simple as that.

When she performs she often is bouncing on stage in excitement. She appears to be having a blast, and in total joy. She's made several comments about how much she loves to perform.

Great questions Arden!

Jan. 05 2012 03:59 PM
Ken from Seattle

Tracey - LOTS of things were error - from WHY Charlotte Church is no longer a major musical figure to the silly and ignorant claim (I can't recall WHICH of the guests made it) that serious symphonies (aside from those in Jackie's home town of Pittsburgh) won't perform with her (he said something to the effect of "you won't see her performing with the Berlin Philharmonic - you can count on it!" - when in just few days Jackie is performing with the TOYKO Philharmonic. This is just a hit piece by a bunch of snobs who don't even bother to get their facts right.

Jan. 05 2012 03:50 PM

@Ken from Seattle

What was in error? Perhaps instead of such language, you might calmly be specific.

Jan. 05 2012 03:30 PM
Ken from Seattle

What a bunch of ignorant and misrepresented BS! For supposed "experts" you'd think they could at least get their facts right. Utter garbage!

Jan. 05 2012 03:21 PM
Arden Anderson-Broecking from Fafield County, Connecticut

Stark questions, indeed. Where ARE her parents?
This child (she is a child, after all)has a beautiful,almost unearthly and surprisingly mature voice,but will she be able to keep it, let it grow and mature without being pushed and pushed (used to raise money???)so that her sound loses it sweetness. I am speaking as one who began isnigng in public at about the same age, under the guidance of agifted and very careful teacher. I went on to have a long performing and directing career,and have been teaching for several decades. Watching Miss Evancho, I am concerned about the coaching and tutelage she is receiving, citing, for example, specific error and/or changes in "O mio babbino caro," her small repertoire of "butterfly-catching" gestures, her obvious nervousness on occasion,i.e. her performance at Rockefeller Center a couple of Christmases ago when singing with a more mature singer, that instead of acknlowledging her audience applause right away, she almost always looks back at the omnipresent man playing the piano for her, either alone or with an orchestra. Most important, I do not sense that she feels joy as she sings, in spite of her smiles. Again. Where are her parents?? Perhaps she should be a girl for a couple more years,get her education, both musical and academic,and find her joy.

Looking back at how Beverly Sills was cared for, and how Munsel and Peters were allowed to mature without the relentless public exposure, I only hope that Jackie Evancho will be able to have thatm so that her future as a singer will not be foreshortened, as has been the experience of so many\
young hopefuls.

Jan. 05 2012 02:49 PM
George from UWS

I've seen this young lady on Public Television when they're asking for money. She's really adorable and while I don't think she's opera, her music speaks to me all the same. If people want to buy her records, that's their perogative.

Jan. 05 2012 01:55 PM

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