Katherine Jenkins – she’s gone up an octave

February 19, 2018 by norman lebrecht


Just when you thought you were safe from the soi-disant opera singer – it’s seven months since her last Slipped Disc appearance – we’ve been hit by a wave of links to her TV account of David Bowie’s Heroes.

Now KJ has never said she’s an opera singer. Nor has she ever corrected mass media that describe her as such.

But one thing’s sure: no properly trained opera singer would ever go up an octave this way.

Comments (18)

  1. Jon Eiche says:

    My daughter (who IS an opera singer, albeit in the earliest stages of her career) displays an enlightened and eclectic view of music that has taught me much. She finds worthwhile music in all styles, and she suggests that even popular musicians whose performances may lack nuance or depth can serve a worthwhile purpose in introducing music to the undiscerning. Discernment comes later. “None of us is born with refined taste,” she says. (She gets her brains, as well as her voice, from her mom.)

  2. Sue says:

    Jenkins is more of a theatrical singer; she’d be at home in a Lloyd Webber musical. Up in the back row she’d be heard if she had that microphone strapped to her head because you can hear every word she says. Many millions of people who know nothing about art music THINK that qualifies a singer as an “opera singer”. Jenkins knows this and doesn’t want to bell the cat on their ignorance. Same situation with Sarah Brightman.

    1. Nik says:

      Not quite Lloyd Webber, but she starred in a production of Carousel at the ENO in the 2016/17 season. She had pretty decent reviews, even from seasoned opera critics.

      1. Sue says:

        She would have been perfect in that musical!! Jenkins has that ingenue quality which the lead female role calls for in “Carousel”.

        1. Olassus says:

          She didn’t sing the lead.

          1. Sue says:

            Oh, which part did she play?

  3. simple guy says:

    For being popera, I didn’t think it was bad.

  4. V.Lind says:

    How is someone who has never claimed she is an opera singer a “soi-disant” opera singer?

  5. Una says:

    It’s only G5 at the very end! You need an Ab5 or A5 – can’t remember which – to sing Sea Pictures as an alto!! And you don’t need a microphone either!!

    What a load of hype!

  6. Mikko says:

    Jenkins doing Bowie? I am not touching that play button.

  7. Robert von Bahr says:

    As far as I am concerned, this was a playback. I don’t believe that what we heard was what she might have sung in the film.
    For pop, it wasn’t bad, though.

  8. Keith Ellis says:

    Take a step back and look on the bright side. Ms Jenkins may well have made a lot of people connect with music, some of whom could move on to serious opera. Others, maybe younger, may delve back to the music of the great Broadway shows by the masters, Rogers and Hart, Jerome Kern et al, some of it three quarters of a century old and Ms Jenkins is their route there.

    And if her fans don’t move on, well, it’s work for the musicians backing her.

    Keith Ellis

  9. Maria says:

    With software like Auto-Tune, it’s difficult to know with any recording or amplified performance precisely what entered the microphone in the first place. I’m not saying she uses it, just making a general comment.

    However, this isn’t opera and I can’t help feeling that featuring it here smacks of an unpleasant obsession. Leave her alone until she sings something operatic, then either ignore it or review her performance in the usual way.

  10. David Kempster says:

    The interval at the end is a Perfect 5th, not an octave.

  11. Andy says:

    At the end of the day there is always someone better. However she is past her peck but still no one has yet revealed her.

    Vocal talent.

    Having knowledge about something is gd bit needs to be backed up by fact not opinion.

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