Little Jackie Evancho – a warning from history

Little Jackie Evancho – a warning from history


norman lebrecht

January 01, 2012

The 11 year-old Talent star who topped the US classical charts last year has trended heavily on Slipped Disc, with readers swaying one way or the other and one of America’s big music institutions stepping to deny its involvement in her nurturing for stardom.


Now my pal Tim Page has issued a solemn warning from his southern California eyrie about the bad things that can happen to young talents who are pushed too far, too fast. Read Tim here. I hope Jackie does.


  • I read the original article and posted the following comment, which I repeat here:

    I agree with every word of this article. As a retired singer and teacher of classical singing I would never accept girls as students until they reached the age of 16. I advised them to sing for pleasure in a choir, learn to read music and play an instrument so that they were in a position to help themselves when they began their singing training. How many people realise that a girl’s voice breaks at the age of thirteen, although this break is not as obvious as a boy’s breaking voice?

    • Janey says:

      Well done.

      Given my reading of some of the comments, expect some uncomfortable responses. The Evancho fans seem to have a “take no prisoners” attitude. It’s unbelievable.

      • Robert Evers says:

        She was better then 99.99% of the grown up at 10. Now at 22 better then anyone except the 3 tenors which she keep her own

    • Chuck Yates says:

      ►► Just a few points…
      •• Mr. Page has clearly done no research whatsoever… here is a link to a focus piece by the ABC News 20/20 program and Elizabeth Vargas. There is a whole lot of information in there that he could have used to write an accurate portrayal, but he chose not to…

      •• The words ‘precocious’ and ‘prodigy’ are in the dictionary for a reason. I’m certain you have a dictionary.

      •• Mr. Page states in his article that Jackie Evancho is “…being primed, packaged and promoted as though she were a finished artist.” — that statement is belied by the fact that she’s only eleven years old. She just makes beautiful music… check this out…

      ►► Mr. Page has long since announced his aversion for the ‘Classical Crossover’ genre, as well as his avowed bitterness caused by his personal misadventures as a declared ‘child prodigy’. Because his position was predetermined and his views preconcieved, if he were an ethical man he would have recused himself from writing an article on this subject.

      •• A little girl comes out of nowhere to top the classical charts, and people like this Page guy goes off the deep end… how small and petty. Jackie Evancho has performed in sold out venues all over the U.S., she’s performed in England as well as Japan where she is booked for an encore performance as a solo headliner in January. In the last eighteen months he has done more to promote and advance the genre than perhaps any other artist on the scene. She has sold millions of albums and appeared on TV more than a dozen times. God knows we all feel sorry for those who line the halls of Juilliard and the New York subway platforms unable to get anyone to throw a quarter in their hat… but that’s not Ms. Evancho’s fault… she’s innocent.

      •• Then to top it all off… Mr. Page equates her to the tragic Jon-Benet Ramsey… that is clearly beyond the pale, just plain sick, grossly inappropriate, and insulting. Then you Madam say that you agree with every word in his article… you both should be ashamed of yourselves, and owe the Evancho family a heartfelt and contrite apology.

      • AF says:

        She just makes beautiful music… check this out…

        This clip just highlights everyone that is wrong with the situation – the exploitation of a girl with a beautiful voice. Why on earth would anyone ask her to sing an aria written for stonking great tenors??! It is no way appropriate for her, vocally or textually (do you even know what she’s actually singing?). It’s like asking a 12 year old to play in the superbowl because she’s a natural athlete. It is an insult to both her and to the music to suggest that disregarding the composer and the work itself matters not, so long as it’s ‘beautiful’ – and yes, she has an extraordinary voice; it is simply not matched to this repertoire (listen to Corelli sing Nessun Dorma for example, and you’ll understand).
        It is not at all petty to want to both protect a little girl, and respect an art form to which we hope she will mature into properly.

        The question is – should producers like Cowell & Co. exploit a talented little girl (ultimatelyl creating a flash in the pan) for their own financial gain, or do we want to see a talented little girl nurtured to grow into a fully fledged artist?

        Just like the sapplings need to grow towards the light of the forest canopy and not be immediately exposed.

        • JA says:

          And her parents share your concern about that piece of music, which is why Jackie does not regularly perform it. She has performed it in only 3 of her public concerts (one of which was the recording of her television special). She did perform it on the finales of Britain’s Got Talent and America’s Got Talent but that was at the producers request.

          My concern is that people are approaching Jackie from their own biases or preconceived ideas about what a child should or shouldn’t sing, or from their own unhappy experience as a child “prodigy”.

          If Jackie were belting out show tunes night after night in “Annie” on Broadway would there be the same level of discussion or vitriol that there seems to be leveled at her?

          She isn’t being put through the grind of producing low budget kid oriented sitcoms and movies and music videos that the youngsters who go through the industry mills of Disney and Nickelodeon. (I would have greater worries for the health of those youngsters overall).

          If Jackie had not topped the Billboard Classical charts in the US last year, would there be this discussion? Or, rather, is Jackie’s topping of the chart upset those who have had no hand in her rise up the charts? Since overtly attacking a young child would appear petty, do people couch their attacks under the veil of “concern”?

          There are ways to express concern, but dragging in the image of an abused and murdered girl, as Mr. Page has done, shows a lack of genuine concern and more of a desire to generate “hits” and comments on his page. I guess if beating up on an 11 year old girl is someone’s idea of “appropriate” then I would seriously worry about that person’s mindset.

          • AF says:

            And her parents share your concern about that piece of music, which is why Jackie does not regularly perform it. She has performed it in only 3 of her public concerts (one of which was the recording of her television special). She did perform it on the finales of Britain’s Got Talent and America’s Got Talent but that was at the producers request.

            If the repertoire is not right, she should be performing it at all, least of all on television. Can you not see how the producers, in “requesting” her to do it are exploiting her?

            My concern is that people are approaching Jackie from their own biases or preconceived ideas about what a child should or shouldn’t sing, or from their own unhappy experience as a child “prodigy”.

            It’s called wisdom from experience.

            If Jackie had not topped the Billboard Classical charts in the US last year, would there be this discussion?

            Perhaps not – because she wouldn’t be being exposed to such potentially destructive pressure.

            Or, rather, is Jackie’s topping of the chart upset those who have had no hand in her rise up the charts?

            I’m pretty sure that most of the people concerned do not care at all about the US Billboard charts – they do care about people exploiting a child and an artform.

            Since overtly attacking a young child would appear petty, do people couch their attacks under the veil of “concern”?

            No one is attacking Jackie. Really.
            They are, however, criticising those who might exploit her by pushing her far too early into the limelight. They would prefer to see a young talent nurtured into a life-long artist, rather than be exploited as a flash-in-the-pan star, chewed and spat out.

        • Ehkzu says:

          re: Jackie singing “Nessun Dorma”

          AF is conflating performing an aria in concert with performing it in an opera. These are distinct modalities, and in fact people who sing in operas can encounter aesthetic difficulties when they do arias in concert–when they fail to grasp the difference, unlike Jackie Evancho, who understands it perfectly.

          Thus when Ms. Evancho sings “Nessun Dorma” as a concert piece, she isn’t trying to portray Prince Calaf, madly in love with with the eponymous psychopathic princess of the opera. In the context of the opera, whoever’s playing the Prince must, of course, sing in character, and the aria, which is a soliloquy, sets the stage for the dramatic scenes that follow.

          If the aria is only aesthetically valid when it’s doing that, then it shouldn’t be sung in concert by anyone–even a Corelli or a Domingo.

          But this shortchanges Puccini’s genius as a composer. Of course the music stands on its own. Honestly, the opera needs it more than it needs the opera, whose libretto is the most problematic of Puccini’s operas, uncomfortably mixing a fantastical fable of a story with Puccini’s profoundly verisimo musical style. Maybe that’s why he died trying to finish it after two years of struggle.

          Outside the opera the lyrics are poetic but about as meaningful as one of Bob Dylan’s lyrics. When Jackie sings this aria, she recontextualizes it for the concert hall, without the story–which isn’t there, since it’s the aria, not the opera, that’s being performed after all.

          When Jackie sings it, it’s a song of great yearning and great will to achieve one’s dreams and aspirations.

          And actually I find that to be a better fit with the music than Prince Calaf’s declaration of love for someone who is plainly a dangerous nut case any sane man would run from as fast as he could. Really, you’d be safer with the Queen of the Night. Every night you’d have to frisk her for knives and ice picks before you went to bed.

          I should add that many people have sung this aria, man and woman, opera singers and otherwise. Aretha Franklin has done it, probably marking the nadir of her career–but not because she’s a woman. Because she sang it really, really badly.

          Whereas, given the concert setting and not the operatic one, little 11 year old Jackie Evancho sings it as well as I’ve heard it sung–in concert.

          For all the harrumphing about the lyrics, you’d think she was reading from the Kama Sutra. “Nessun Dorma”‘s lyrics are fine, given that this child is assuming the persona of the storyteller, not the person the story is being told about.

          And when it comes to authentically expression powerful longing and equally powerful will–who can legitimately say they have more of either than her? What were the rest of us doing at age 11? She is, like most geniuses–which she is, obviously–highly driven. Which means that what she feels and what she wants to do with her time is not like what you cute little niece feels and wants to do with her time.

          I find a lot of the naysaying I read here and elsewhere stems from a profound lack of understanding of human genius. Well, that’s to be expected. Geniuses are exceedingly rare, and many of us go through our whole lives without ever meeting one in person.

          And they exemplify the unfairness of nature. You may have labored twenty years, diligently, to master something, and have a genius waltz in and say of your work “And then it just repeats…right? What if we tried this?” and proceeds to invalidate your entire career.

          Lots of people tackle “Nessun Dorma” because it isn’t just a great aria in “Turandot”–it’s also a great song. And a lot easier to pop out of the opera that something from Wagner’s multi-hour songspiels, I might add.

        • M Molte says:


          As one of the great unwashed masses that make up the American Public, I couldn’t give a flying fig what “Nessun Dorma ” is saying. Who appointed you controller of the music as to what music is gender specific. I recently found a clip of Deanna Durbin singing the same song back in 1938. I would suggest calling her, she is living in France and letting her know that in your opinion it was no way appropriate for her. I listen because its a great aria sung by a suburb voice.

    • Ehkzu says:

      May I suggest you listen to an opinion about Jackie Evancho’s voice by someone who has actually examined her, and who perhaps knows a bit about voice–Dr. Clark A. Rosen is director of the UPMC Voice Center and a professor of otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

      “Dr. Rosen received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and earned his medical degree at Rush Medical College in Chicago. He received his otolaryngology training at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Ore., and completed a fellowship in Laryngology and Care of the Professional Voice at the University of Tennessee, Memphis, and the University of Tennessee Voice Institute. A board-certified otolaryngologist and member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Voice Foundation, Dr. Rosen specializes in the care of the performing voice and the treatment and research of voice disorders.. ”

      You can see him talk about Jackie here in this 7 minute clip:

      You can even see Jackie’s larynx in action as she’s singing…

      This should allay your fears that she isn’t getting expert help on voice protection.

    • Gabriel says:

      RE: Tim Page quote:”A sweet-faced child with a naturally pretty voice is being primed, packaged and promoted as though she were a finished artist. And she isn’t — not yet anyway. Right now she reminds me a lot more of JonBenet Ramsey than she does of Maria Callas. ”

      BTW do you are you daughters a resemblance do murdered young child JonBenet Ramsey (RIP angel)??

      Just don’t send a picture to USC Professor Tim Page!

      Yeah right !

      Well done article?

      Janey WP comments up to 468, I am sure you have read mine!

      Happy New Year Norman

      Thanks for allowing me to post here!!!

    • Gabriel says:

      Ms. Jean Campbell Collen

      No wonder you are retired, you are discriminating against teaching 13 year old kids

      Julliard minimum requirement is 13 years old for there Pre-college division class.
      Lorraine Nubar the Head of Pre-College class @ Julliard met with Jackie Evancho
      for a private consultation.

      As noted by Norman Lebrecht website:

      Gloria Gottschalk, Juilliard media relations manager, stated their position as follows:

      Lorraine Nubar, who is on Juilliard’s Pre-College faculty, had a meeting with Jackie Evancho – and did hear her sing, but Ms. Evancho will not be attending Juilliard’s Pre-College Division in the fall.

      What music conservatory did you teach at? Also do they still discriminate against teaching kids under 16?

      Since you agree with every word of Tim Page’s Article, Do you also think that Jackie Evancho resembles
      a deceased murdered child JonBenet Ramsey (RIP Angel)?

      It is unfortunate that many singers who can’t succeed become jealous retired voice teachers !

      • JJ says:

        Gabriel: you hit it right on the mark, they are jealous that they work all their lives and never became a household name. They can not accept the thing they have done in life as good they only cry over the thing they wish they could have done and hate anyone who has reach the height they were trying to reach. Google Jackie Evancho then Google Ms. Jean Campbell Collen and see the difference. It is jealous for sure.

  • Janey says:

    That comment section is a bloodbath. I gave up after reading just the beginning of it (there are 162, Lord help us). From what I saw after flipping to the newest posts, it gets much worse. I’m sorry that the WP is allowing it to continue.

    On a happier note, Happy New Year! Although some of us need to work. Ah well. It’s not work if you love it, right?

    • Ehkzu says:

      re: “I’m sorry that the WP [Washington Post] is allowing it to continue.”

      Well, Janey, see, Jackie’s fans’ posts follow the Washington Post guidelines. Some of the posts by anti-fans like yourself were in fact deleted because they violated the guidelines, which anyone can read and follow easily.

      But by all means write the WP and suggest that an additional guideline be added: “Anything Janey doesn’t like.”

      I’m sure they’ll hop to.

      • Janey says:

        You’ve corrected me. I was wrong. I’ve changed my mind. I think posts about Jackie looking sexy, attacks on others accusing them of being SICK (sic), and a lot of other names should be allowed to continue in the name of civilized discourse. Are you friends with Mr. Gabriel?

        • Gabriel says:

          Ms. Janey

          Happy New Year!!!

          I happen to be friend with all the ArcAngels (Gabriel & Michael)

          My boss is GOD !!!

          We protect all children because they are Angels (including Jackie)

          Jackie is a voice and messenger for GOD!!!!!

          If you want me leave I will do so!!!!

          Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”
          Matthew 19:14

          DO NOT HINDER JACKIE!!!!


  • MusicLover says:

    I agree in part with the risk of exploitation; but it is only a risk, not a certainty. I don’t sense any of the vocal discomfort that Prof. Page asserts in the samples I’ve heard, and she speaks often of how much she enjoys singing. Her parents claim to work hard at keeping her childhood as normal as possible. Beyond all that, I challenge anyone to provide another artist’s recording (of any age) of the Lord’s Prayer that is anywhere near as compelling as hers; it combines great talent with an innocent fervor that is simply stunning. Voice teachers may want to point out some technical flaw in it, but I find it unmatched in effect.
    I wholly disagree with the idea of guiding her toward an operatic career. I’d ask simply: to what end? Opera companies are folding right and left, so why set out for such a remote possibility as having a great career in a disappearing profession? Certainly, instruction is advisable, but why opera? She can find a niche that she enjoys, and we just might all be the better for it. If her *goal* is to sing opera, that’s another matter; but the evidence for that is scant at best.
    Finally, I paid attention to Church’s career and singing, and there is no comparison in the two talents under discussion. In my opinion, if Church had done more serious training early, she’d still be mediocre.

    • Janey says:

      I simply wish to call attention to the following sentences, which define your post, before moving on to other threads permanently. Thank you. —

      “I challenge anyone to provide another artist’s recording (of any age) of the Lord’s Prayer that is anywhere near as compelling as hers”

      “Certainly, instruction is advisable, but why opera?”

      “Why set out for such a remote possibility as having a great career in a disappearing profession?”

      “In my opinion, if Church had done more serious training early, she’d still be mediocre.”

    • Don McKee says:

      Amen! I say this with all of the due emotional involment even as I watch and listen to her PBS Dream with me in Concert. That Mr. Page can fail to rave for such a sublime performance is actually sad. Perhaps he is feeling all those closings you mentioned. Got to run, Ombra Mai Fu is just beginning. A questionable hair day, but acutely enchanting nevertheless.

    • M Molte says:

      Jane Campbell Collen,

      Its a good thing the parents of Beverly Sills, Julie Andres, Deanna Durbin or Judy Garland, did’t rely on you for instruction. Since all these children started to sing at the age of eight or younger in Ms Sills case, you could have informed the proud parents that there voice was sure to break. No use in working with them. Therefor they should all have waited until sixteen before they should even start to train. Now all of these children managed to become quite wealthy by the time they were sixteen. You would have been sitting on the sidelines expecting them to fail

  • MusicLover says:

    I stand by the first; I’ve heard opera stars rendition of it, and they fall short in impact, even though I can appreciate the greater vocal skill in them. I’ve listened almost exclusively to classical music for three decades.
    The next two are questions, and unanswered.
    The fourth is prefaced by “In my opinion”. Church’s singing never moved me; some of Evancho’s does.

  • Stephen Runnels says:

    The pompous ignorance regarding Jackie Evancho on this thread is unbelievable. How many of you “critics” have actually listened to all this little wonder has to offer, let alone follow the superior guidance and instruction she receives from real professionals, along with parents who dote on Jackie like no parent I have ever seen. You special geniuses don’t even know the difference between ‘Opera’ and ‘Classical Crossover’. Before you pontificate your opinion regarding Jackie Evancho and her musical career, try to actually familiarize yourself with the genre, and then attend one of her concerts. You may then understand not only why Jackie is so amazingly special, but also why we who do follow this little wonder are so intensely fanatical about her.

  • JJ says:

    Well it may or may not be true about Jackie being push. Although the author of this article doesn’t live at home with Jackie and her parents. Nor I believe follows her around back stage at her concerts or at the studio. So really he has the same info as the common people sees as to what going on in Jackie’s life. And what jackie or her parents reports to the public to go on. And from what I see the little girl says she loves to sing it makes her happy and makes her complete. And the Parents say that she is check I think every three months by a doctor who deals with singers. Along with making Jackie stay a child at home down to the point of having to do her share around the house. So I don’t see the problem here and she should be given the benefit of doing what she enjoys and all these expert who most likely never even met the child or family needs to find another topic to get their weekly paycheck. And keep their article on something they know about and stop quessing. In other words stay out of jackie life.

  • Sam says:

    Mr. Lebrecht, Happy New Year.

    Jackie Evancho has already had a career that would be the envy of nearly every opera singer (or any kind of singer) save a few (indeed it *is* the envy of many classical singers). Neither Tim Page, nor anyone else who has commented on his article. can say that, like Evancho, they have given solo concerts in Avery Fisher Hall and many of the other great concert venues throughout the United States and Japan. If it all ends tomorrow (or at the end of her current touring schedule), she will have had a wonderful day in the sun. If she had not seized the day, she might never have had this opportunity to enthrall millions with her albums and concerts, and we might never have had the opportunity to hear her. Who knows what the future will hold for her? Certainly not Mr. Page!

    By the way, have you listened to Jackie’s album, “Dream With Me” all the way through yet? It is pretty obvious that Mr. Page has not.

    All the best!
    Sam Silvers,
    New York City

    • Blank says:

      Good point. In astronomy, big stars have a shorter life span and go out as a supernova, small stars simmer to oblivion. I for me will not be sadden if Ms. Evancho quits singing tomorrow because to me she is already a supernova.

      • Janey says:

        You should probably ask Betty White, Angela Lansbury, Tony Bennett, Meryl Streep, Stephen Sondheim, Glen Close, Renee Fleming, Sarah Jessica Parker, Reba McEntire, Barbra Streisand, Helen Mirren, Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Wynton Marsalis, Herbie Hancock, Andrea Bocelli/Sarah Brightman, John Williams, Aretha, Maya Angelou, Picasso, and at least hundreds of others about your “big stars have a shorter life span” theory.

        I hate to tell you this, and I know this sounds harsh, but if Jackie Evancho quit or had to quit singing tomorrow, no one would remember her in 10 years… or maybe even 5. She’s accomplished nothing that would put her into the longterm collective memory of society. There have been prodigies before – and the one most like her – Charlotte Church – sold millions more CDs and was an absolute worldwide sensation. That ground’s already been broken.

        But if she protected her voice, really learned her craft and worked hard, she just maybe could become as respected and admired as some of those I listed above. If she doesn’t manage to keep the voice, so much of what she’s doing will have been for nothing (except the money, I suppose).

        • crryep says:

          Nope, Charlotte Chruch is not the most like Jackie. Hardly comparable at all. Charlotte’s
          phrasing amd her abilty to emote aren’t near Jackie’s ability. Never was. Charlottes voice was nowehere near as buttery and rich. Hardly pleasing at all. Big pipes yes, but no Jackie Evancho.

          • crryep says:

            Yes, and there’s nothing wrong with money. I hope see can make as much as Charlotte and even more. Yes some people will hold it against her if she does, but they aren’t paying her rent.

  • It’s all very well for members of the public and those commenting on this site to find Jackie’s singing moving and compelling at this early age. What concerns me is what will happen to her as she grows older and her voice breaks in a year or two.

    • Richard Hamilton says:

      If by then she can afford to take the time (both financially and in career pacing – she has very high ambitions) for if not full formal classical training, at least the sort that pop singers that wish to preserve their voices take, then what does it matter?

  • I’d rather Jackie had a singing career which lasts 50 years rather than end up as an embittered woman, constantly looking back to the glories of her childhood, and wondering where all her “loyal” fans have gone!

    • Gabriel says:

      Ms. Jean Campbell Collen

      I only know one great pro opera singer to crossover to pop/rock/jazz and that is Rene Fleming (Bel Canto Expert)

      Ask Ms. Rene Fleming about jackies voice and her willingness to work with Jackie as reported
      by Lisa Evancho (Daily Mail U.K.)

      I presume Ms. Fleming does not share the same assessment of Jackie’s voice otherwise
      she would not have contacted her mother abotut working with jackie.

      What Opera House did you perform at?


      • Janey says:

        Is this reported elsewhere, also? I can’t stand the Daily Fail. Not trustworthy.

      • kitty says:

        There have been many opera singers who could sing jazz and pop too. Check out Eileen Farrell – you cannot even say from her jazz recording that this is an opera singer much less a Wagnerian soprano, Federica von Stade, Peter Hoffman, Benjamin Luxon, Muslim Magomaev who had separate pop and opera careers in the Soviet Union, More recently – Vittorio Grigolo, Malena Ernman. There are others, I don’t recall the names at the moment.

        I am staying out of Jackie Evancho’s discussion – she has a lot of talent, but I am not qualified to discuss whether or not she is hurting her voice. I’ll leave this debate to those more qualified than I am as well as those who think they are qualified.

    • Charles Hoff says:

      Let’s talk again in 50 years.

      • Charles, I won’t be around in fifty years – that’s the reason why I’m retired – because I’m old! Let’s talk in ten instead. This discussion is getting ludicrous and personal, so this is the last time you, and all Jackie’s vitriolic fans, will be hearing from me.

    • Don McKee says:

      You are stating the obvious. Who would not feel that way?

    • crryep says:

      I supposr being “embittered” is the only other option??? Yikes!

  • elmerone says:

    Why try to judge and compare Jackie Evancho to other singers and their pitfalls? She is a savant without any disabilities. And savants mystify. Her future is up to her and her parents, and they seem to be a well adjusted family, unlike some other young stars that were brought up in a dysfuntional family, and the fall from grace that comes because of it. So why don’t we all sit back and enjoy listening to a one in a million gifted child who brings joy to millions of people around the world.

  • Oid Mattox says:

    Her parents seem very grounded and aware, and I and everyone else are aware of the breaking in her voice with certain songs. I also know they have rearranged songs to fit her voice.
    So right before you call child protection services figure out when you became omnipotent.
    Young people sing some in front of millions.

  • Janey says:

    Naomi Lewin hosted a 30 minute discussion with Page, Robert White and Bill Palant about Evancho and child prodigies in general. Interesting stuff and typical comments on the article.

    Wonderful to hear White singing at age 10!

    • Gabriel says:


      I like to see you perform !!

    • Ehkzu says:

      Janey, the “interesting stuff” included Page stating as fact that Jackie Evancho’s parents were child abusers who were sexualizing her. That falls under both the UKs and America’s defamation statutes.

      Either Professor Page is right and Jackie’s parents should be in jail and Jackie and her siblings in foster care, or Professor Page should be held to account before the bar for character defamation. For anyone to say such things about Jackie and her family goes far outside the boundaries of music criticism. For the other guests on the show to assent to such assertions without challenging them–even if they don’t like her singing–is craven.

      This “interesting” discussion moved smartly from classical music criticism straight into the territory of the supermarket tabloids–with the difference being that the tabloids protect themselves by making their scandalous accusations in the form of questions. Professor Page did no such thing, but stated his as incontrovertible fact. That’s what made his words actionable.

      I’m sorry for you that you would find such an extreme assault on a family’s character “interesting.” I would only find your praise of this understandable if you belonged to, say, a Salafist sect like the Taliban, which would consider the dress of 99% of Americans and Brits “sexualized.” In which case I would assume that you wear a burqa in front of strangers–or at least a chador. Do you?

      • Janey says:

        I am a great admirer of Robert White and was thrilled to hear his thoughts as well as an example of his singing as a child. I respect his opinion highly given his experience and knowledge.

        I found the discussion interesting in many other ways, also, and agreed with many points. As did many others, I must only assume.

        Your tome ends with a wonderful example that obscures the point completely by using provocative, non-nonsensical language. I will, therefore, ignore it.

        There is a newer, updated post on this topic, with comments on the WQXR discussion, if you are interested.

        • Sam says:

          Robert White told WQXR last year that Evancho is not hurting herself, but now he just sits and nods and smiles as Tim Page repeats this outrageous attack on Evancho’s parents and claims, without bothering to check (he and Mr. Lebrecht find the facts unimportant!), that she is being somehow exploited. White did exactly what Evancho is doing when he was a child. He was lucky not to be so successful that the critics and singers of his day would fear his competition in the sale of recordings. If Jackie screamed rock and roll, it would be alright with these hypocrites. A pitiful display of sanctimonious snobbery, tinged with commercial fear.

  • Although it seems that one can’t present one’s point of view here, which a few have tried and which concurs with the three people in this interview, without causing a torrent of hostility, I’ll do it regardless. Jackie Evancho is a very talented singer and has true musicality. This is evident from the sheer fact that she can produce something as endearing as it is in the manner she does. Jackie Evancho is not a full grown female singer. She doesn’t have the chops to sing full bel canto filling a whole concert hall and soaring above the sound of a full orchestra. And yet, having heard this, she tries to imitate it and uses a microphone to project, rather than her voice. And there is NO child that could accomplish this, it simply isn’t possible for a voice of her age. And in order for her to imitate the sound of a full grown female voice she sings in her throat, this kind of vocal gymnastics is fine for someone who just imitates a grown female voice after hearing it on the TV or in a show, but to turn it into a whole production it becomes very dangerous to Jackie’s own voice. She’s NOT a full grown femal singer, her voice ISN’T meant to make such sounds. She’s a young girl. What should have happened, and that would have happened would she have gone to ANY good voice teacher, is that they would have corrected how she sings and she would have stopped singing in her throat and she would sound like she naturally should sing as a young girl, not the contorted sound of a very musical girl imitating a sound her vocal chords weren’t meant to reproduce. She’s NOT a full grown soprano. To become a whole production, she only accomplishes an imitation of such a sound by truly abusing her vocal chords. And she doesn’t know any better, hasn’t been to a good vocal teacher who would point this out. And none of this or the comments of the other people who know what a healthy vocal production is are meant to berate Jackie, they aren’t because of jealousy that she has such fame, they aren’t trying to disqualify her innate natural talent and her musicality which deserve to be nurtured in a healthy way so that they can achieve their full potential rather than to be used as a sort of Circus act so that the mob can adore a little girl imitating a full grown voice, believing dangerous unnatural vocal acrobatics point out some super powers. And any truly good vocal instructor would point out how Jackie is singing in her throat, how she’s not using her vocal chords naturally but contorting them imitating the sound of a full grown woman, and show her how to sing in a manner which would be natural and would bring out the true quality of her voice. If you all love Jackie so much, just imagine if all of her talent and musicality were to become natural. The problem here seems to be that this would take away from the whole media exploitation and what to me truly has become a CIRCUS act of a young girl sounding like a grown woman (with help of a microphone) and singing in a manner that’s unhealthy to her voice. At this point, one truly has to question what’s going on. If Jackie started singing in a natural way rather than an unnatural way which facilitates her sounding like a young girl with supposed super powers who can sound like a full grown woman, (while using a microphone and singing in an unnatural way); one needs to question whether her starting to sing naturally would then cause her to lose her whole image, this Circus act wouldn’t sell anymore, and she and her whole family might find out how she was being abused the whole time. Hopefully, she could then tell her own story and the hyped up eager exploitive nature of the whole racket selling her would be exposed. The whole hype for people to see some supposed miracle of nature, and all of the media hype that goes with it. At this point she’s in danger of never finding out what her true natural talents are, regardless of how famous she becomes or how many people adore her. And no one pointing this out is berating Jackie, is jealous, is resentful. They point this out because they care about her. And fine she’s made millions of dollars… I think if the mob and those around her cared about her, they would care whether or not she’s being given the chance to learn what her musicality and vocal abilities would be were they nurtured in a natural way, NOT as an entertainment, NOT as a circus act. And ANY good voice teacher would point this out…

    • Gabriel says:

      Roelof Alexander Bijkerk

      I seen you video on YouTube video “Chopin – Waltz in F Minor”

      You’ve must be proud to have “141′ viewers compared to 11.8 million views on Jackie’s video !

      A classical trained pianist lecturing us about a child prodigy “Jackie Evancho


      Your credentials are not superior to Team Jackie !!




      *Musical Snob definition: person who believes s/he has a more refined taste in music and has much more knowledge in the field of music in general. Every song and genre is unacceptable unless the snob happens to like it, then it is absolute perfection. Music snobs feel obligated to enlighten everyone with unwelcome critiques and irrelivant musical trivia.

    • crryep says:

      Jackie’s voice is natural… it’s the singers(opera) that take 10-15 years to develop their voice that you have to wonder about.

      • AF says:

        Everyone’s voice is natural – the question is – is the vocal production natural or manufactured?

        I’m sure pretty much all of my colleagues would agree that as opera singers, that 10-15 years is mostly a process of letting the voice actually be free. Sure, we learn breath control and support, resonance etc. but mostly it is about letting the voice resonate naturally and freely.

        • Ehkzu says:

          Jackie’s voice sounds natural to the fans who have purchased enough of her CDs and DVDs to make her the best-selling classical artist in America. It sounds natural to her voice coaches and otolaryngologists. If it doesn’t sound natural to you, I suggest listening to her again. If you’re fortunate, you’ll hear what so many others find so affecting.

          BTW many of Jackie’s fans are also opera fans, as I am. I also like Yemenite Jews’ wedding party music, but I don’t judge Jackie by much she sounds like Ofra Haza.

    • Ehkzu says:

      Roelof, please look up “paragraph” before you post anything else. Surely they taught you about that in college. it’s the writing equivalent of phrasing in singing. Imagine if someone sang without phrasing. it would be unlistenable. And in writing it makes your ideas look like a rambling stream of consciousness that forces readers to work hard to do the organizing of your thoughts that you failed to do.

      And yes, I’m a former English teacher (and magazine editor).

      Your confident assertions regarding the health of Jackie’s voice are completely contradicted by otolaryngologist Dr. Kessler, famous as throat doctor to the opera world’s elite, based in NYC, and vocal coach and former operatic mezzo Yvie Burnett, as shown in the following twitter exchange yesterday with Jackie, currently in Japan to sing with the Tokyo Philharmonic, and Yvie and Dr. Kessler::

      Jackie’s tweet:!/jackieevancho/status/156122795527512064

      My vocal chords are “pristine” according to Dr. Scott Kessler, NYC. Thank you Doc. K. It was great seeing you!!/yvieburnett/status/156129959562330112

      “@jackieevancho: My vocal chords are “pristine” according to Dr. Scott Kessler, NYC. ” of course they are ! U sing healthily and properly! X

      Unless you are an otolaryngologist specializing in professional singers’ voice issues who has examined Jackie, or at the very least a vocal coach who has worked with Jackie, it seems that you should defer to their judgment. Will you?

      I also observe that you’re describing Jackie as a defective operating soprano rather than as an effective classical crossover soprano. She’s not trying to sing operatically. She has never said she’s trying to sing operatically. She says she’s a classical crossover singer. So you’re comparing her to an inappropriate standard. She uses a microphone because everyone who isn’t an operatic singer uses a microphone.

      Your presumption about what is “natural” might be better described as your expression of orthodoxy in the face of interpretive genius. Her sound isn’t what you’re used to, so you appear to need to rationalize it in terms you are used to.

      I can’t read your mind but I can read your words, and your description of Jackie’s fans is clearly contemptuous, of her parents as clueless, of her voice teachers and otolaryngologists are borderline criminal. You presume to know that she’s being abused–thus accursing her parents of either connivance or idiocy–despite her exhibiting the behavior, easily viewable in hundreds of YouTube videos of her at work and play and in interviews, of an extremely happy, fulfilled, well-adjusted, albeit highly ambitious, young human being.

      This means you’ve systematically insulted and/or belittled everyone Jackie knows and cares about.

      The only time I’ve ever seen Jackie get hot under the collar is when she was asked about the sorts of accusations you’ve made here–accusations stated as fact from someone who’s never met her, worked with her, examined her, or, evidently, bothered to find out about her from the many sources of info available to all of us. You would not enjoy what she would have to say to you after hearing what you’ve said about Mike and Lisa Evancho.

      What I don’t know is what has impelled you to write such terrible things. Attributing it to invidiousness is one possibility, but I agree that it might be nothing of the sort. People spend their lives building up a degree of expertise about something or other. My postman is a very good postman, and he has a lot of expertise about his line of work. Sounds like you have expertise developed around yours, which I assume has something to do with voice coaching. It had better, or you’re even more out of line than I’d thought.

      And here you’re confronted with someone who doesn’t sound like you assume kids should sound. Your first clue about her uniqueness should have been the fact that (a) she’s now a celebrity, so (b) many thousands of ambitious girls and/or their mothers want to emulate Jackie’s success by sounding like her. Yet I’ve seen many, many attempts, and all are abject failures. Other people can’t do it.

      So here you are trying to explain away, in terms you understand, something no one has been able to emulate. First rule of science is that one’s explanations have to have predictive value. Yours do not. She’s something new.

      Moreover, while there are many orthodox opera world-involved people saying what you’re saying, there are many others–as the tweets above attest–who directly contradict you. So for us laymen this isn’t like, say, global warming, about which the climate science community is in agreement. It’s one where there are distinct camps. And the ones on Jackie’s side tend to be the ones who have actually dealt with her in person.

      The fact that you show not the slightest doubt about your accusatios bespeaks a tightly closed mind, so I don’t expect this to pry it open. Perhaps I’ll just hear a lot of blather about well, what does an otolaryngologist know, or what does Yvie Burnett know.

      I suggest you take seven minutes out of your life and watch the segment on Jackie’s life and voice on the American television magazine 20/20:

      You’ll be tempted to dismiss it because it’s typical mass market American hyperbole–but it includes an interview with Dr. Clark A. Rosen, a leading voice specialist who has written several texts on the subject. It also shows how normal her home life is.

      We all need a helping of humble pie once in a while. It just makes you human. In your case a public apology to the Evancho family and the doctors and coaches who work with Jackie would be in order, though, since you’ve made serious accusations against them which are close to falling under the defamation laws. Not that you’re in any danger of being sued, of course. But you should wish not to defame people whether it gets you sued or not, since you’ve committed yourself to behaving ethically, I think.


      • I think: English is about communication, not about corporate media propoganda, something college professors and other teachers don’t seem to quite get all the time. Teaching isn’t about teaching others to excuse not having said anything by packaging it accordingly with paragraphs and other things. Neither is it teaching people to find fault with others who you can’t understand by saying they should have packaged it your way it, regardless of whether it would ever mean anything. It’s about having something to say, not about not saying anything while you think you’re saying everything and can get others who also haven’t said anything to agree and approve. I’m not really too concerned about paragraphs when I blog here. I don’t think that would help you understand what’s said. You do make a beautiful display of them yourself. They package quite nicely this joke you make out of parroting corporate media logic and propoganda. I might suggest that this entertainment you offer would be even better off adding numerous of these smiling and winking faces and things. Something else I don’t know how to do and have no concern for. And no, I didn’t learn about “paragraphs” in “college.”

  • Dan says:

    What I don’t understand about the critics of Jackie is the accusation of gold-digging, especially to the parents. Are her agents, producers, etc. taking advantage, yes! Jackie’s parents, NO! Please feel free to dispute any of the following points towards this argument.

    1) Classical singing?!?! Let’s be real, if you wanted to “cash in” on a talented child, the LAST thing I’d recommend is this approach.

    2) Classic music In America?!?! The target audience in America for classical music WAS very small. in Europe and East Asia is much bigger. Someone wanting to “cash in” would leverage this as quickly as possible. This is still largely untapped for Jackie. She has politely acknowledged and honored her fans abroad with two short visits; however, clearly, it hasn’t been a priority for Jackie.

    3) The Evanchos’ have 4 talented children, not just one. They also have several extended family members that are musically talented. Someone wanting to “cash in” would be exploiting this. (Think Jackson 5, the Osmonds, etc…) I don’t think Jackie has ever performed together publicly with another family member, and definitely not in the past two years.

    Simply put – If the Evanchos are trying to “cash in”, they’ve chosen a hard road, perhaps one of the hardest roads imaginable. Can you think of ANY other person in history who “cashed in” by having a 10 year old singing classical music alone on stage in America?

    Someone wanting to exploit a talent would have chosen a more proven path. Instead, this has all the tell-tale signs of a trailblazer.

    • cabbagejuice says:

      Shirley Temple earned a million dollars before the age of 10 at the height of the Depression. In fact, she is the emblematic trailblazer for kiddie stars who came after her. The personal price to her was high with abuse that she herself later admitted.
      According to the latest promotional material on Jackie, she is doing “crossover” music. It seems the opera stuff has been dropped and with good reason.
      The danger to Jackie as with Shirley Temple or any young star who had been pigeonholed in some category, is the difficulty to escape it upon maturity.
      I personaly don’t know what crossover music is except it may be a large enough area to embrace almost anything.

  • Ehkzu says:

    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.””

    • an excerpt from a quoted “excerpt”: “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.”

      • Ehkzu says:

        You seem to think you’ve made some kind of point here that negates the rest. Satori for an anti-fan. But whatever you’re getting at certainly whizzed right over my head. I just hope it isn’t something supercilious…

  • cabbagejuice says:

    There are two issues here, one of shifitng criteria that society may consider acceptable or not for the treatment of children. Should they work in textile mills 10 hours a day? This was acceptable less than a century ago. Should they make bricks in the sun all day in some poor countries? This is being done now and even worse.

    Back in the Baroque era there were few dissenters, if any, who protested the mutilation of boys if it produced fantastic singers. Today, it may be a concern that the average Olympian female gymnast will have delayed maturation and in height will be shorter than her peers, the reason being training that begins earlier and earlier. Who is going to prevent or forbid such manipulations, much less identify it as a form of child abuse when winning is important and the competition is so numerous and dense?

    Asian instrumentalists keep getting younger and their pieces more difficult. How can a 5 year old play a difficult Impromptu by Schubert? The same answer for the question “How to get to Carnegie Hall?” – “Practice, practice and more practice!”

    So those who would like the public to think that a girl who was born in a rural part of Japan could play Mozart Concertos at the age of 11, just popped out of the head of Jove and didn’t have a clever Juilliard trained teacher every step of way, well, they feed the public what they want to hear and they already been primed to by film and the media – a “Star is Born”.

    This notion of something out of nothing, the other side of the exploitation coin that hardly anyone would want to see, is so engrained in the cultural unconsciouness that the buttons are there for the pushing.

    The passionate intensity that accompanies the glorification and sanctification of prodigies to the extent of accusing the other side of attack (when they do plenty of their own) and gratuitious insults is based on defending a principle that they probably would not even recognize as being one.

    If a kid can come along and sing operatic arias with an alleged woman’s voice, then who really needs training and music schools? It’s an inverted snobbery to call the dissenters jealous snobs when what they’re really broadcasting is a crude anti-intellectualism and preferences based on gut and herd reactions.

    • Ehkzu says:

      Nice to see the Victorian myth of childhood being kept alive.

      Comparing Jackie to a castrated boy–nice touch.

      In fact, over the 150,000-odd years recognizably human beings have been running around on this Earth, girls Jackie’s age worked–and in traditional societies today, work–an average of about eight hours a day, and as much as 9.5. This does not include the 14 hour days of child slaves in Pakistani brickworks and carpet factories.

      “Boys are given goats to herd and messages to deliver. They hunt and fish. Girls weave, haul water, grind corn, chop firewood, serve as part-time mothers to their younger siblings; a serious share of baby care in the world is performed by girls not yet in their teens.

      “Workloads and expectations vary substantially from one culture to the next. Karen Kramer and Russell Greaves of Harvard compared the average number of hours that girls in 16 different traditional cultures devoted each day to “subsistence” tasks apart from child care. Girls of the Ariaal pastoralists in northern Kenya worked the hardest, putting in 9.6 hours daily. Agriculturalist girls in Nepal worked 7.5 hours a day.”

      Jackie’s “workload” is about 1 day a week on average, carefully spaced out. So by the lights of most societies on Earth, over the span of Man’s existence on Earth, Jackie’s a slacker, actually.

      • I don’t have the desire to look over, proofread, re-profread after letting it sit for a day, and then perhaps post or not, all of my responses to this “dis-cussing” here. And if I did, everything would be a day old and that’s not the idea of these blogs. But fine, since you brought up “phrasing” and said this is what “paragraphs” are about: To begin with, paragraphs aren’t like phrasing in singing, this would mean that a singer would have only one breath for each paragraph, causing eventual death for lack of oxygen. Sentence structure and punctuation are more like phrasing. And, if I may from one of your posts, here’s one of your sentences that might point what happens when there’s a lack of attention to phrasing, since you are “professional” you might consider it: “Karen Kramer and Russell Greaves of Harvard compared the average number of hours that girls in 16 different traditional cultures devoted each day to “subsistence” tasks apart from child care.” Without proper attention to your phrasing, this sentence refers to “different cultures devoted each day to ‘subsitence’ tasks apart from child care.” The sentence also implies that girls have something to do in “16 different traditional cultures devoted each day to ‘subsistence tasks apart from child care”; or rather 16-different-traditional-cultures-devoted-each-day-to -subsistence-tasks-apart-from-child-care,” but it’s not stated what they do. So, it might read: “Karen Kramer and Russell Greaves of Harvard compared the average number of hours that girls in 16-different-traditional-cultures-devoted-each-day-to -subsistence-tasks-apart-from-child-care !?” This way it could be implying here, with the added illuminating punctuation, that these 16 girls have something to do in 16 cultures which are devoted every day to subsistence tasks apart from child care; but one can’t complete the thought because it is so unusual that whole cultures as conglomerate entities, rather than humans, spend time devoting themselves to subsistence tasks, other than child care. Thus, one gasps in mid thought and loses track of what’s being said, because of the sheer idea of such a thing. Since, you state you are professional and aware of phrasing in writing, one can only assume this is what you meant. It’s also quite understandable behavior on your part since it becomes extremely difficult to see a difference in all of the prefabricated responses that occur here from whoever they are, responses directed at anyone daring to say that perhaps Jackie might be encouraged to do things differently (and for example not sing opera arias, when as you say opera isn’t her interest). Although this is a complete contrast to a conglomerate of 16 cultures, there is some basic resemblance to conglomerate behavior, which you seem to be animating in trying to figure it out. One might also ask oneself several things: Why are these 16 cultures devoting themselves to subsistence tasks other than child care? What happens to the children in their culture, and what does this have to do with Jackie? And what do girls have to do in such a culture? And are they prevented from taking care of themselves? And why does this cause one to stop in mid sentence without revealing what these girl do in the conglomerate of 16 cultures, causing a sort of gasp? Or maybe you might try the servile comma and phrase it this: “Karen Kramer and Russell Greaves of Harvard compared the average number of hours that girls, in 16 different traditional cultures, devoted each day to “subsistence” tasks apart from child care. But since you are “professional” one can only appropriately feel that you meant exactly what it seemed to mean, and that one sentence completely explains it all…

      • cabbagejuice says:

        It’s supposed to be easy to be exposed for a few minutes to 20 million people or more on live TV? And all that for a child no less who doesn’t have the built up experience of those who climbed up the ladder of success gradually and not catapulted there?

        Pressure is telescoped to such a laserbeam intensity that no one in his right mind could call it “slacking”. Working 10-12 hours a day bears no comparison to such emotional stress. Any performer knows that one is only as good as the last concert. This can make or break adults. Is it fair to dump such a burden on kids? At least Shirley Temple had the luxury of performing in films where takes and retakes could be made. She could make loads of mistakes and no one would have been the worse for it.

      • Janey says:

        “Jackie’s “workload” is about 1 day a week on average, carefully spaced out. So by the lights of most societies on Earth, over the span of Man’s existence on Earth, Jackie’s a slacker, actually.”

        Not according to the events listed on her web site, which do not include promotion, recording, meetings and so forth.

        If she actually worked once per week, she would go to school. She does not.

  • Stephen Runnels says:

    The funny(sad) aspect of a Tim Page or others who have such disdain for Jackie Evancho voice their opinion out of pure, unadulterated ignorance and a knee-jerk reaction to a style and flavor of singing they are unfamiliar with. Page conceptualizes what he hears from Jackie as Opera. Why? Jackie never has performed an Opera. Others also have determined that because they hear a maturity and a range, pitch and tone that belies her age, somehow she is damaging her voice. Again, Why? Knowing the family construct and professional attention Jackie receives regarding her well being, there is no reason to place undo concern over her singing now or in the future. Trying to compare Jackie Evancho to others is also a disservice to her. Charlotte Church ruined her voice due to an unhealthy lifestyle (see doughnuts and drinking), and the real culprit, smoking, that ruined her instrument, not because she sang the wrong type of music.

    I believe the real reason for such a negative response to Jackie is the adult reaction to the emotional effect Jackie delivers in performance. To have the singing of an 11 year old girl bring you to tears can be a shocking bit of emotional introspection.

    • cabbagejuice says:

      The wrong type of music for a voice might not do damage right away but bad habits are established that are hard to break like forcing the sound into the resonators, breathing high, etc.. This is the problem in singing even one operatic aria, sustaining the melodic line with a high degree of endurance. So the condition of vocal chords when examined is not an absolute measure of whether good technique is being used at the time.
      Julie Andrews did high and light music as a young girl. Bartoli’s parents who were also her teachers did not push her beyond what she was able to do at any stage of her development.
      There must be something to the caution that good and great vocal mentors have exhibited over the centuries and what they have put into writing about their teaching methods. This is empiric knowledge, how things work, transmitted from generation to generation. Apparently, we can throw all that out now and accuse those outside the AGT or BGT crowd of pure, unadulaterated ignorance reacting emotionally (that of course the judges of AGT would never be convicted of) and not being able to believe their ears, so reject it with the same irrationality and of course, jealousy.

      • Ehkzu says:

        And here we have–however occluded–the truth. Jackie’s existence must be disproved lest the edifice of three or four centuries of voice coaching instruction comes crashing down, and any parvenu from a petit bourgeois family can cut in line in front of Properly Trained People.

        Your fears are unfounded.

        It takes a genius to do what Jackie does, and genius is exceedingly rare. She has a control over her vocal apparatus that others–even highly trained singers–do not, and so they must have the training you believe is the sine qua non of musical existence.

        Moreover, that edifice of musical instruction you adore is centered on singing in operas. It may have escaped your attention, but Jackie isn’t an operatic singer, states that she is not, has never said she is, nor has any family member said so, and she used to correct others who said so until she realized it was a waste of her time to do so. Now she just smiles politely.

        Singing an opera aria softly, through a microphone, transposed for safety, is not singing operatically.

        AGT and BGT have been beating the bushes for the “next Jackie Evancho.” So far, nada. It would be surprising if they ever find another Jackie, given the rarity of true genius appearing in a given field of endeavor.

        So Jackie’s existence and singing style does not negate your profession. You can desist from attacking her. She is singing “healthily and properly” according to vocal coaches trained in the Estill method–though they mainly focus on helping her not develop any bad habits, since, as I’m sure you’d agree, prepubescent children should not be subjected to rigorous voice training.

        Other voice students still need you. It’s OK.

        • cabbagejuice says:

          If Jackie is the poster girl for the Estil method , then her singing Ave Maria is Houston doesn’t advertise it well at all. In fact, it was downright awful. She has a soprano voice, yet she was singing it in a low key, pushing the sound into the resonators and gasping for air even louder than the notes themselves. Having her go through that is doing her and her voice injustice.

          Kids with musicality and pure voices are not rare, but unusual. Before her “training” (that defenders of prodigies don’t want to admit because their little pets just drop like angels from the sky), she sang a Pie Jesu with a pristine voice and beautiful phrasing, much better than Charlotte Church could even dream of, then or now. Then her teachers and coaches started mining the operatic repertoire for her. And she didn’t sing Nessun Dorma, O Mio Babbino and Ombra Mai Fu “softly and transposed for safety” . When these were less than successful, the line was, well we don’t want to do snob music.

          There’s something really funny going on here. Because she doesn’t exactly excel in that tacky highbrow stuff (although Julie Andrews at around her age sang the aria from Mignon with all the coloratura), her valiant defenders are busy cocking a snook at “Properly Trained People” whom Jackie is allegedly “cutting in front of in line” and thereby upending the whole musical and vocal establishment for about 400 years. “A child will show them.” – NOT!!!

          It’s really too bad that she got off on the wrong foot with opera because she could probably be singing now Schubert’s Ave Maria in a soprano key suitable for her with the sustained and calm breathing that the music requires. It would be understandable if she doesn’t want to touch this repertoire again having been so burned by it. And that is the wrong that is being done to her (although her fans think that dissenters are attacking her – not the case at all!) cutting off a large area of repertoire that she probably would have excelled in. Instead, she is being made into the poster girl of football fan (my team is better than yours) anti-intellectualism.

          • Ehkzu says:

            While you were writing this, she was singing “O mio babbino caro” for the Emperor and Empress of Japan in a command performance for them.

            Jackie knows who they are but she has no idea that you or I exist, and the ankle-biting of folks like you has zero influence on her choice of repertoire one way or the other.

            And calling Jackie’s renditions of the arias she’s done “less than successful” is laughable. While you’re tut-tutting, huge audiences are giving those renditions standing ovations–many of them weeping–and then buying her CDs and DVDs in, literally, the millions.

            And the concert she’s headlining in Japan in a few days is sold out.

            The opera world should be begging her to add more arias to her repertoire.

            But, since your confusion continues, let me remind you that singing an aria is not the same thing as singing operatically, and vice versa. You could sing an advertising jingle operatically, or perform the Queen of Night aria in a Donald Duck voice.

            And Jackie does not sing operatically. Has never sung operatically. And most likely will never sing operatically. She will sing arias that move her, as it pleases her, in her own distinctive non-operatic style, with or–quelle domage–without your permission.

  • Ehkzu says:

    Someone on this thread asked what “classical crossover” music is–that being Jackie’s genre.

    It’s music from both popular and classical sources, performed classically but not operatically.

    It tends to be kind of aspirational in tone and slow to medium-paced in tempo.

    Women tend to like it more than men.

    Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, and Sarah Brightman come to mind, though none of them claim to be classical crossover singers. There’s also Katherine Jenkins, Hayley Westenra, and dozens of others you can read about on the UK’s classical crossover site:

    It bears some relationship to the genre I’d call “light classics.” But CC is mostly sung with orchestral accompaniment (or piano, I guess), sometimes percussion used in a restrained manner.

    Any form of classical popularization would be related, as would, to varying degrees, opera stars’ pop albums.

    Jackie Evancho’s fan base is centered on CC fans. I’m not one myself, though, nor are many others. I prefer “heavy” classics, I suppose–Bach’s more austere later works, emotionally violent stuff like Rite of Spring, operas like Tosca or Mahagonny–though I always cry when Mimi dies…

    Jackie Evancho’s original inspiration for singing was listening to the movie version of “Phantom of the Opera” starring Emmy Rossum, and she has shown great affection for much of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music.

    You might sniff and say “Well, he’s well suited to an 11 year old girl’s mindset” and I might agree with you, personally. I was drawn to her music by her performance of “Ombra Mai Fu,” among other pieces, and I find myself preferring her version of it to Cecelia Bartoli’s even thought the latter’s has been considered canonical by many. But I prefer Evancho’s relatively unadorned version. She used the rich tone she’s developed to carry it, rather than the trills and whatnot most are used to hearing done with it.

    I’m not proselytizing for Classical Crossover. It’s a hybrid genre, not to everyone’s taste, and not very broad in its range of emotions expressed=–not tiny, but not huge either. The important thing is to realize that this is Evancho’s genre, not opera, and that Evancho has really, truly, never claimed to be an opera singer or to sing operatically, and neither has her manager, her parents, or Sony, her label. She is called an opera singer by television hosts because it boosts ratings (and because no one knows what CC is). She used to correct them but finally realized it’s no use.

    • cabbagejuice says:

      Those who can’t make it in serious opera like Emma Shapplin and established artists who want to boost their income and record sales like Bocelli meet somewhere in the middle in CC. It’s important to look the part to sell to the masses, like Richard Clayderman with all the superficial trappings of a piano virtuoso and the quasi-operatic hysterical emotings of a Schapplin. It makes a lot of dough of course, even when the voice is in shreds like Brightman who made a big splash with Jackie on BGT- not a role model to follow at all.

      I have listened to some more of Jackie’s singing and she can’t sustain long notes past a second without a tremolo. Classical crossover becomes more and more a gimmick rather than anything serious in its own right.

      • crryep says:

        So if it isn’t executed in a technical manner sufficient to please you, it’s a gimmick, rather than something serious?

        • cabbagejuice says:

          The Pav surely had technique left over for several other tenors but some of his last crossover vids simply made me cringe. Back in the 80’s Bernstein was repackaging his West SIde Story with operatic singers who sounded like fish out of water. Maybe that is when the CC phenomenon really got off the ground. And of course there was Clayderman with plenty of technique BUT with the LOOKS and the ACT of a virtuoso. The crossover sort of thing existed back to the films of mid 20th century (“Warsaw Concerto”) and was campy with performers such as Liberace but now it has become a science, how to promote classical music among the masses with it not being exactly that.

          So the CC label is somewhat of an oxymoron. Opera aside, to sing the Ave Maria by Schubert in a pop style accompanied by emotive arm movements is not classical at all. A perfect example of the gimmick aspect is Shapplin who all she needs to do is look and act the diva with a sprinkling of high notes here and there.

          • Ehkzu says:

            As it happens I’m not a big fan of CC myself, and that Bernstein operatic West Side Story has got to mark some kind of nadir of art.

            But the fact is that there is a big market for quasiclassical music. Always has been, always will be. And for those who lack the listening chops to deal with truly classical music, it beats a lot of alternatives.

            I strongly prefer, generally, serious classical music, from Machaut to John Adams, with my lodestone being Bach (and the duet from his Cantata No.78, Jesu der du meine seele, being my idea of perfect music).

            So you see, not all Jackie fans are CC fans, though it would seem that nearly all CC fans are Jackie fans.

            What I think you’re missing is that she elevates the genre through the refinements of her style and sound to something else. And no one who prefers pop music to classical would call Jackie’s style “pop.” They all call her style, mistakenly, “opera.” Dinging her for moving her arms as she sings is silly BTW. If you think classical singing requires you to “park & bark” you’ve really got some larnin’ to do about concert performance.

            Ultimately I believe Jackie is sui generis. Otherwise I wouldn’t be a fan myself. She’d just be someone my wife plays along with her Bocelli and Groban albums.

  • Pat says:

    The vocal tricks Jackie is using have been known to the knowledgeable for years, Nobody has choose to use these methods for good reason.Whether damage will take place to her vocals or not is harder to predict,but you certainly will not improve.She is a rare musical genius is all part of the promotional stunt.Shes invented nothing.Most of the emotional response is to the arias & songs performed:while Agt and David Fosters comments intensify the audiences response.Every time I see Jackie compared to someone it is always kids on utube or talent shows. Try going to a conservatory or choir,really compare her to excellence

    • Ehkzu says:

      Whether you approve of her “vocal tricks” or not, her singing is the most commercially viable of anyone performing anything like classical music in North America–a huge market. Hence Billboard Magazine–the bible of the music industry–recognizing her as the top-selling classical artist of 2011, with over 2 million CDs and DVDs sold.

      Therefore others would have sung like her if they could, by now–regardless of age–in an effort to achieve anything like her commercial success. But if anyone has done so, their work isn’t available online. it’s easy to look. Go to YouTube, search on “Jackie Evancho” and look at all the clips wannabes have tagged with Jackie’s name so their darling daughter’s efforts will appear on Jackie searches.

      So if you think her “tricks” “have been known to the knowledgeable for years,” give us a link to someone sounding like her. Otherwise, given the ubiquity of the Internet and YouTube and the presence of innumerable Jackie wannabes there….you are factually incorrect, and honor-bound to admit it.

      • Xyz says:

        All this cutting and pasting your quasi intellectual speeches from Evancho forum to Evancho forum all,over the net – does it make your mouse hand tired? I’ve never seen someone quite so proud of their own perceived cleverness.

  • Pat says:

    One more thing compare her to others without all the voice enhancement they have been using.Drop the mic, voice thickening,and dubbing.

  • I think that there are two thing going on here. There’s the timeless beauty of opera arias, and there’s the eternal innocence of the human condition reflected in a child. However, that innocence already is there in the music. You don’t need a child imitating the sound of a full grown operatic voice in order to hear innocence. Neither does this bring out the innocence that is a child. A child simply singing music that’s appropriate for her age would be appropriate: music that doesn’t cause her to try to imitate the sound of a voice she can’t have yet (while she says she’s not really interested in opera). And all of the marketing, all of the corporate media exploitation, all-of-the-well-meant-adoring-fans isn’t going to magically put the two together. While Jackie has a natural innate talent: she’s musical, she’s very intent on what she’s doing and she has good concentration: her being able to imitate the voice of a full grown soprano (a voice that needs no microphone, and has a natural fullness that a young girls voice doesn’t have, nor is meant to have, nor should have, nor is any less of a wonder because it doesn’t naturally have); this doesn’t make Jackie a miracle of nature that’s greater than hundreds of years of vocal tradition. And in trying to imitate the sound of a full grown soprano, not only do I hear Jackie using her voice in an unnatural way, but she’s prevented from allowing the quality that’s already there, which is natural for a girl her age, to emerge.

    • Ehkzu says:

      Paragraph (ca. 1525): a subdivision of a written composition that consists of one or more sentences, deals with one point or gives the words of one speaker, and begins on a new usu. indented line.
      –Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary

  • JJ says:

    Well I have sat here at my computer and read all these comments and I realize that it comes down to this. It doesn’t matter what any of the people commenting says on here. Jackie packs the house and sing for presidents and emperiors. People likes her and are her fans. You can cut her down all you want it won’t effect the fans. They will tell you the same thing that I will tell you now…… If you don’t like Jackie Evancho don’t listen to her it is your right, the same as it is my right to like her singing and to listen to her. So take your negative comments and your thumb go sit on it in the corner and cry. Fans don’t care period about you period.

  • cabbagejuice says:

    I really can’t stand the way the “true believer” fans of JE behave. Here’s one example: “If you think classical singing requires you to “park & bark” you’ve really got some larnin’ to do about concert performance.” Here’s another: “So take your negative comments and your thumb go sit on it in the corner and cry. Fans don’t care period about you period.” It’s even worse on youtube sites: “I share your love of critics and would assign to them a level in hell that even Dante could not imagine.” This only proves that the promoters and packagers of JE have successfully pushed all the irrational buttons of the public and it’s no use talking to them because their attitude is “don’t bother us with facts”.

    Well, Ehkzu, she is revving up her breathing when when pumps the air with her arms. I didn’t insult you or her and since i do know something from concert performance from both sides of the stage, I resent your saying that I have “larnin'” to do. If you can’t hear how awful the Ave Maria by Schubert is, how gimmicky her “prayers” are on stage, then you are just an empty shell waiting to be filled with whatever cultural propagandists want to emotionally manipulate the public. The recorded music is much more manipulated than you can ever imagine as it has been with many classical artists who also cut and paste. Her live performances show up the vocal faults much more that attest to people not caring about her development but are right there to cash in.

    If you all just want to believe in musical miracles and soak up the sound while turning off your brains, go ahead. However the sheer nastiness of most of you show that everything is not sweetness and light and in fact, you are all very unsure of yourselves indeed. I don’t really care to discuss anymore with the lot of you.

    • Gabriel says:


      “if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen” Harry Truman

      Whiner !

      • cabbagejuice says:

        JE’s performances in Japan were as gimmicky as ever. She has been singing the “O mio babbino” for 3 years without a clue as to what the aria is about of even how to pronounce it. Otherwise she would not be breathing in the middle of words. Most Japanese listening to wouldn’t be able to tell the difference either so why bother? The only good part was at the end where she floated the high note in her own voice, not the contrived one in the lower range. She should be singing everything in that pure disingenous voice but it would not rack up the big bucks because she would not stand out from anyone her own age possessing a pleasant voice and musical talent..

        • TheOne says:


          Where have you been hiding, under a rock? And just exactly what do you mean by “gimmicky?” If you are talking about Electronic Enhancements and AutoTune, forget about it. Jackie would never allow it. Never has, except in England on BGT where she had no say in the matter. I’ve sat 10 feet away from her and she sounds even better live.

          When you have small lungs, you cannot breathe like an adult, you don’t have the lung capacity to do that. Breathing is going to be a work around for her until her lungs mature. Her natural voice is the one she sings in not the contrived one you claim. She also knows what “O Mio Babbino Caro” is all about. Why shouldn’t she. She takes that song, with beautiful Phrasing, perfect pitch and spot on sincere emotion, and delivers a masterpiece. She becomes that Girl, pleading with her Father for the Boy she loves. I guess some people only hear what they want to hear. She has wowed the people at Opera Companies and Music halls, all across the Country, and they all seem to disagree with Mr. Page’s assessment of Ms. Evancho. He best hope that The Evanchos don’t sue him for Libel, because my Company Attorney’s have told me they would win. Mr Page went way too far with his comments, and he can’t use his Asbergers as an excuse, because he did the Podcast, knowing that he wasn’t mentally fit to do it.. He wasn’t qualified or fit mentally to do the original review of Jackie either. That’s why he was removed from the job as a WQXR Music Critic in the first place, and his well known hatred of Child performers hammers that point home.

          I have no idea of whether Mike and Lisa Evancho will do anything legally, but you best hope they don’t, because Mr. Page and Mr. Lebrecht, don’t look now, but your Libel’s are hanging out. The Judge would throw the book at you. You best hope you are wrong about the kind of people and Parents the Evanchoes are, because if they are so money hungry as some of those here suggest, I would say it could easily cost you a million or more apiece! Just keep in mind that once all of this is made available to the general public, these two won’t have a leg to stand on.

          • cabbagejuice says:

            I’m not hiding at all and more than glad to be of service!
            “Gimmicky” as in Richard Clayderman’s sound and light performances that were wowing the masses and bringing in the bucks – so much of Jackie’s presentations depend on lush backgrounds, PR buildup – but also musically, plenty of prestidigitation. If she can’t sustain long phrases, then the song is cut into bite size chunks.
            “When you wish – gasp – upon – gasp – a star”. Breathing inside the words of O mio Babbino is sorry, indefensible. I am not the only teacher who has pointed out the smoky quality of the middle range doesn’t match the upper one. This is a clear indication that it is a manufactured sound. Because she is, thankfully because of her limited lung capacity as you pointed out, not able to bring the chest register up to the high notes, they haven’t yet been ruined.
            Looking serious and as though she is about to cry (even if Emma Shapplin got away with fin de siècle emoting) is not going to save her awful renditions of Ombra Mai Fu and Nessun Dorma.
            Her promoters and teachers are doing her a great disservice by putting such half baked performances before the public. Later on, these may very well become a source of embarrassment.

        • Stephen Runnels says:

          It is sad you have so little respect for the quality of talent this little girl has offered to us. You have convinced yourself of flaws that just are not there. My personal relationship with classical music spans over 50 years, and I can tell you Jackie Evancho possesses more quality, talent, and potential than anyone I have experienced in my lifetime. To witness this little wonder performing in person allows you to realize the extraordinarily flawless tone and pitch her instrument provides. Such emotion and display of presence Jackie gives to every song belies everything you have said. I really think you are hearing voices in your head rather than the actual experience that Jackie provides. The nits you pick regarding what you believe you hear have separated you from the reality of enjoying a truly magical experience. So very sad indeed.

          • cabbagejuice says:

            Extraordinary flawless tone? There must be something wrong with your ears.
            I was thinking though, that as with Clayderman, the public has been seduced by and gotten carried away by visuals – how to ACT the virtuoso.
            Don’t worry, teachers and coaches of prodigies are very aware of extra-musical elements, like looking up to the ceiling in rapture, or dramatically raising one’s hands in triumph after a phrase and last but not least FACIAL EXPRESSIONS. They have it all down to a science.
            This element was very obvious in a presumed informal vid of Ombra Mai Fu where right before singing Jackie puts on a mask of drama to come, knitting her brows together and focusing her eyes in a manner so as to project pathos, a rather common expression of hers onstage. The only problem in Ombra is it is not high tragedy. It’s about serenity and calm.
            Also, now that you mentioned that I convinced myself of flaws that are not there, when someone comes into my studio and sings with a vibrato, can’t sustain the breath, has an uneven scale, I don’t applaud them and say they should run to the nearest agency to be audtioned.
            Somehow I get the impression that the Emperor’s Clothes would have an important moral here for those who want to believe that you don’t need thread to make brocade.

          • Xyz says:

            No, what’s sad is tht you fancy yourself such an expert In classical music and yet have such a woefully misinformed ear and knowledge of healthy vocal technique in children. Singing in your church choir does not, I’m afraid, make you an expert.

  • Success doesn’t determine everything, even when it’s AGT. As much as I wish her all the happiness in the world, this might apply to Jackie (as much as everything else that’s been written) although it seems to some that the subject has been changed. Also. For example. The fact that McDonalds has sold more then 237 billion hamburgers doesn’t make the hamburgers healthy food. That they buy more than 1/20 of the whole potato crop in the US doesn’t mean that those potatoes couldn’t have been used in a healthier manner than they are. And people pointing things like this out (maybe McDonald’s isn’t the best nutritional choice), even if these thoughts are only are in the subjunctive realm and completely untrue (maybe we might all drop dead without McDonalds because of some yet to be found chemical imbalance their food adjusts), these thoughts simply are helping people make an informed choice by challenging them to question and to consider. No, I don’t think that they are all jealous of McDonalds and want to have their own fast food chain recognized by something as well knows as the Golden Arches. Many fast food restaurants have tried to be as much a “financial” success as McDonalds but haven’t succeeded. This doesn’t mean that McDonalds has super powers in it’s ability to supply nutrients and happiness to the public or that they are a trailblazer in their contribution to the health of the population of the earth. This also doesn’t mean that McDonalds, as a metaphysical entity, will last longer than cows and that cows were designed just for them. And hiring a doctor, who was entertaining becoming a plastic surgeon, to test whether those who have eaten a meal at McDonalds immediately drop dead, only to have him find that this isn’t the case – this doesn’t prove it’s healthy food either. Neatly wrapping all of this in discard-able packaging, still doesn’t make it healthy, as little as packaging incongruent hostile thoughts in what appear to be paragraphs means that one has organized their thoughts into delightful phrasings for the benefit of the reader rather than for the benefit of propaganda. Perfume won’t determine nutritional value either.

  • TheOne says:

    Come on now, “and one of America’s big music institutions stepping to deny its involvement in her nurturing for stardom.” That would be fine if it was what happened, but your words are a pretty wide stretch from the truth. Loraine Nubar at Juilliard was the person you are talking about, and she was asked if Jackie Evancho was attending Juilliard. Juilliard gave a statement to the press that they had no involvement with Ms.Evancho, and she was not attending Juilliard. Ms Nubar made a statement of her own, saying that Jackie and her Mother had Met with her, and that she had heard Jackie sing, so there’s no” big music institutions stepping to deny its involvement in her nurturing for stardom.”

  • Gabriel says:

    The One (Neo The Matrix)

    Per Lisa Evancho (Jackie’s Mother) Lorraine Nubar was giving private periodical vocal instructions to Jackie.
    These vocal instructions were outside the confines of Julliard.

    It’s done all time in the music industry

    Sony Records vast assets can buy the best music pros


    • cabbagejuice says:

      Yomama-Gabriel, that is just the point, in order to preempt anyone from claiming even unofficially by her fans that J is studying with a Juilliard teacher, the institution made the statement that they are not teaching her. Now according to her ardent fans, that would seem to be a silly lost chance to hook up with fame and glory.

      • Gabriel says:


        Please send us your video and link to your website. Our good friend and talented classical pianist
        Rolling Berserk gave up his link!

        Don’t be shy, a lot of aspiring classical musicians are waiting!!!!!!

    • TheOne says:


      Not only was it done all the time in the Music industry, it was a very common practice, way back in the 50’s at Juilliard, and it’s been done with many Opera companies as well. Most are handshake deals (with some money in hand), or something pre arranged through connections.

      In 1936, after Deanna Durbin turned down Cesar Sturani, the General Music Secretary of the Metropolitan Opera, who had offered Deanna Durbin an audition at 15. Durbin turned down his request because she felt she needed more singing lessons. Andrés de Segurola, who was the vocal coach working with Universal Studios (and himself a former Metropolitan Opera singer), believed that Deanna Durbin had an excellent opportunity to become an opera star. Andrés de Segurola had been commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera to watch her progress carefully and keep them advised. 100 years before that it was not uncommon to see one Opera Company’s star, taking private lessons from a competing Opera company’s Vocal Coach!

      BTW, Lisa Evancho never said that Lorraine Nubar was giving private periodical vocal instructions to Jackie. What she actually said was that someone from Juilliard was working with Jackie from time to time. There was no mention of private periodical instruction.

  • Janey says:

    There is no way I believe that Jackie Evancho’s voice is the product of work with Lorraine Nubar, or that her technique has been given the ok by Nubar. I only hope others do not believe this, either.

    • Ehkzu says:

      Janey, five windows light the caverned soul…but some windows are smaller than others.

      You rebut a claim no one formally associated with Jackie Evancho has ever made–that her voice is “the product of work with Lorraine Nubar.” Her voice is the product of Jackie Evancho and no one else. Her talent exists sui generis, as the less talented multitude take their lessons, as they should, since on one but a genius can follow the path of a genius.

      If Jackie’s most fervent anti-fans spent as much time researching such things as they spend making confident assertions about someone they’ve never met, never seen sing, never coached, and never talked with anyone who did coach her, they might know better than to keep knocking down claims no one made in the first place.

      And they would also find out from listening and watching the numerous clips of her performing from age 7 onward, that she’s an autodidact whose technique isn’t perfect yet whose interpretive skills move millions in a way that established. well-trained singers fail to.

      The ranks of her fans–people who are moved by her singing–include the emperor of Japan and his family, and the president of the United States (who recently showed an intriguing level of singing talent himself with a few notes) and his family.

      What her family has said on multiple occasions is that she’s too young for formal training. What she does with voice coaches/instructors is to make sure that she isn’t developing bad habits, and that she isn’t doing anything that might damage her voice. The fact that her voice and her vocal cords are in pristine condition was verified again for the umpteenth time, this time by the NY otolaryngologist who specializes in professional singers–both opera and musical theater.

      Let’s see,,,voice safe, check. Technique has made her the most successful classical singer in North America today, check. Now one of the most popular classical singers in Japan after touring there this month, check. CD sales in the millions, check. By all appearances enjoys happy home life and earns top grades in her schooling, check. Has earned the enmity–at age 11–of a statistically insignificant number of classical music fans/instructors who apparently cannot reconcile her existence with what they “know”….check.

      • Janey says:

        Jackie Evancho is not a classical singer, and even if she were, she by no means would be the “most successful in North America” – unless the only measurement you use is sales of two non-classical Christmas albums and one crossover album.

        Does she sell out every venue she plays? No. Does she make the highest fee per concert? No. Are her albums and concerts met with rave reviews? No. Does she appear with the most prestigious orchestras in the most prestigious venues? No. Is she nominated for an Ekho, Grammy, Brit, or any other classical award? No. Are composers running to her door to write for her? No. Does she have a list of product endorsements? No.

        The fact that you made this claim shows how focused her fans are on money as the sole harbinger of success.

        I hear Snooki is twice a New York Times best-selling author. Perhaps she is the most successful author in North America?

        Fans on this thread are claiming Ms. Nubar is Jackie Evancho’s coach. I simply don’t believe this claim. I notice you did not answer that claim, which was the singular point of my very concise post.

      • TheOne says:


        I’m remembering a discussion 6-7 months ago on one of these blogs where someone said that no one knows how Jackie makes that voice. I could be wrong but I seem to remember that it was you that answered, “of course they do”, claiming that any voice coach or teacher could tell you exactly how she makes it. If it wasn’t you, I apologize.

        I’ve been looking at Audio scans of her voice, and I’m seeing something in her voice that shows on these scans that doesn’t correspond with any other voice that I can find. I’m beginning to understand that maybe Dr. Clark Rosen is right, that perhaps it is all up there in her brain. From what I see from these Audio scans, he’s right.

        At this point I have to agree with you that I also don’t believe that Jackie Evancho’s voice is the product of work with Lorraine Nubar, or that her technique has been given the ok by Nubar. I agree 100% with the first part, but the second part is much more complex. If Jackie is doing something, that’s never been heard in the past, how can Ms. Nubar fairly judge whether it’s safe or not? Especially since I think that it is exclusive to Jackie and Jackie only. It’s not a technique, so I’m guessing that it can’t be taught.

        Where it really get’s interesting is when Jackie’s local Pittsburgh vocal coach started working with her to eliminate some bad habits she had acquired. The chin waggle, and she had started forcing her Larynx down, which is where that constricted sound was coming from in her lower and lower middle range. Shortly after her coach had gotten her Larynx floating free again, Jackie started getting a really bad runny nose, a couple of days before her December 29th performance with David foster, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. It was determined that she would be able to perform, because there was no cough or pain. I’m guessing that her local coach advised her to hold something back, and she did. There were also a few changes in some of the arrangements, to better safeguard her voice. I know she wasn’t happy with her performance, but she was much better than she thought she was. She also learned that her now open vocal tract is allowing her to get the same volume with about 30% less air, as well as aiding her tone and timbre, as well as improving her diction. A week or so later, she’s on this morning TV show in japan, and she sings a beautiful rendition of “O Mio Babbino Caro”, and Crescendos the last note, for the first time ever!. How does a child that has minimal knowledge of written music, know how to do that? And the note was divine! Textbook perfect, probably her first try too.

        I’m going to continue my search for those vocal patterns, but after more than 300 different voices tested, and no similarities, I doubt that I’ll find one.

        • cabbagejuice says:

          First of all, I did see a vid of the O Mio Babbino in Japan. Sorry, she was constantly gasping for air and even breathing in the middle of words. The only really good note was at the end where she floated the Ab, no crescendo there or even needed. There she was normal and natural as it is very difficult to bring up the chest tones that high. But that choir girl timbre didn’t match the rest of the voice.
          Timbre is a personal trait. Remember “Annie”? She had an endearing, special sound as a kid but from what I know, little or no professional singing been heard from her since for about 30 years. This is the danger that most of the voice teachers have been warning about – pushing the sound into resonators – no special trick but a foolhardy one.

      • cabbagejuice says:

        Oh pul-lease, this scam is as old as the hills and at least back to Mozart: “Her talent exists sui generis, as the less talented multitude take their lessons, as they should, since on one but a genius can follow the path of a genius.”
        What you don’t see are the notebooks with mistakes corrected by Leopold Mozart, you don’t see the work behind the 9 year old Beethoven practicing until midnight. This is not to say that these kids were not above average talent. Any teacher knows that learning rates are different among students but genius is still 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. Even JS Bach told his sons they could be as good as he was if they worked as hard as him.
        Much of the work behind the scenes, the musical decisions, phrasing, etc. for prodigies is done however by clever coaches and teachers. They tell the kids to look up, to focus their eyes in a certain way, they choose the key in which she sings in, the timbre, even what to say, in case you all thought it was spontaneous.
        I would reckon that in the not so distant future we are going to hear that JE will be taking a vocal rest or something like that so she can “catch up on schoolwork”. This will be around the time of the vocal change that females also go through. It will be an entirely different ballgame after that. I hope that she will survive it.

  • Stephen Runnels says:

    Cabbagejuice, What on Earth is your motivation in disparaging the wonderful and gifted talents of a little girl? You go so far as to complain that she is breathing! What? It is starkly apparent you dislike Jackie Evancho. You make it clear that listening to her is difficult and downright painful for you. Yet you still plod on with complaints and criticisms, pick at disparities and other issues that only you seem to hear, and show disdain for her parents, management, doctors and vocal coaches. Why? You must realize Jackie touches millions of people, and more so every day. You project your own personal despair onto Jackie’s future by asserting she will somehow lose something as she grows older. Jackie Evancho is a special, unique talent that should be appreciated, not disparaged. I’m sure there is a style and concept of music out there that you can understand and enjoy. Obviously, Jackie Evancho is not for you.

    • Xyz says:

      Millions of people like McDonald’s ….it doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. Since when is the fact that she sells lots of records a proof of her artistry? Britney Spears sells a lot too.

      The naysayers in this thread are speaking up out of concern….concern that a clearly lovely and bright young lady is being led down a path where her voice will be gone by young adulthood due to mismanagement. No 11 year old sounds like this, ever. Her sound is achieved through unhealthy manipulation of th vocal apparatus which WILL come back to haunt her.

    • cabbagejuice says:

      Stephen, I am not disparaging the talents of a little girl. On the contrary, I have said many times she is talented. I don’t complain that she breathes. In singing, one doesn’t usually breathe in the middle of words. This might be bad technique or sheer sloppiness. At any rate, it should go on the stage in that comdition. I never said it is downright painful for me to listen to her, only having to answer the stupid comments of her fans. What difference should it make it there is not 100% agreement on how wonderful a singer might be?
      Aha, that is the point, if ONE person disagrees with followers of a cult it only calls into question their own beliefs and makes those uncomfortable who are really not sure of themselves. True believers cannot argue with facts, instead sling spitballs like “you project your own personal despair”. Well, you project your own global uncertainty about yourself.

  • TheOne says:

    cabbagejuice says:

    “Much of the work behind the scenes, the musical decisions, phrasing, etc. for prodigies is done however by clever coaches and teachers. They tell the kids to look up, to focus their eyes in a certain way, they choose the key in which she sings in, the timbre, even what to say, in case you all thought it was spontaneous.”


    When it comes to Jackie you are so wrong, it’s pitiful. All these things you claim for prodigies being done by clever coaches and teachers, are false when it comes to Jackie. She get’s no coaching for her stage presence either. She makes her own Musical decisions. She does her own Phrasing, and is probably better at it than 90% of the real opera singers in the world, and that’s from people who are Opera lovers. Musicians are always asking themselves about how she phrased a piece, usually accompanied by a “Why didn’t think of that!” Just ask Christopher Hahn, Anthony Walker and John Federico of the Pittsburgh Opera! She chooses the key she will sing in, and her Timbre, and she most definitely is spontaneous. She also has the final say on whether to perform a piece of music or not, and works with the Conductor by herself!

    If you knew anything about Ms. Evancho, you would know that! She’s a Prodigy and a Musical Genius, and she isn’t referred to as being that because she doesn’t accomplish these things. She does them in Spades, because she is that good. I’ve sat not 10 feet away from her in LA, and I could hear her real voice over the production’s. I find it impossible to find meaningful words to describe her voice. It’s like it’s from the depth of her Soul, just beautiful stuff.

    cabbagejuice says:

    “I would reckon that in the not so distant future we are going to hear that JE will be taking a vocal rest or something like that so she can “catch up on schoolwork”. This will be around the time of the vocal change that females also go through. It will be an entirely different ballgame after that. I hope that she will survive it.

    Again, you don’t know anything about your subject. Again, if you did, you would know that the time you refer to is already here. Has been for over 6 months! I think the problem she had of forcing her Larynx down was caused by it. I think it was the Hormones, which is the first step on her biological clock. She suddenly discovered that she had this great lower to middle guts in her voice, and then lost it as the hormones got more balanced. I believe that she was trying to find it, and the best she could do was force her larynx down. Now that this problem has been corrected, and her vocal tract has been opened up, she sings even better, naturally! She’s grown 6 inches to 4′ 8” tall, and her lungs are growing with her. Maybe David Foster is right. Maybe Jackie will become a young woman before she’s a Teenager!

    Say what you like, but Jackie says that these gifts of hers came from God. I’ve seen and heard too much from Jackie to doubt what she says. It’s my opinion that she is right! Perfect? No! She’s an 11 year old girl, I don’t think she expects to be perfect all the time

  • dirigent says:

    AH yes, I am jealous of Ms. Evancho’s success. I am also envious of Mitt Romney’s millions. Mostly though, I am saddened by the general stupidity of most people.

    The saddest thing about JE is that she represents a corollary to the Peter Principle – nothing fails like success. She does not know how to sing, and with all of this financial success and mindless fans who are obviously both deaf and blind, what motivation could she possibly have to learn how to sing properly now? She would have to stop doing what she is doing, and start from scratch, and why should she do that when what she does now provokes the most ardent responses from people who don’t know anything but “know what they hear” or “know what they like” or whatever.

    “All I know is that she moves me.” That’s right, that’s all you know….

    • TheOne says:


      Nice to know that you are jealous of ms. Evancho’s success! LOL!! Mitt can keep his dirty money that he made putting tens of thousands of Americans out of work. Be sure the next time you are saddened by the general stupidity of most people, the next time you feel that way, look in the mirror and say a prayer for yourself.

      Seriously though, I guess you know more about music than the people who hire Jackie to sing in their Opera Houses and Music Halls. In one of Jackie’s early concerts at Boca Raton billed as “A Night at the Opera with Jackie Evancho and the Young Stars of the Met” It must have killed you people when the Young Stars raved about Jackie’s performance. She has the full support of virtually every Opera House and Music Hall she’s played so far, except Lincoln Center. Oh, she performed well, but the place was filthy dirty, and I’m still chuckling about the Phony “Phantom” review in the New York Times, and I’m proud to say that I was the Major pain in his side, because I proved to his Managing Editor’s satisfaction that he didn’t see Jackie’s performance. As it turns out, he didn’t even write the review! Unfortunately for him, there was a problem very early in the Concert, an accident on the part of the Conductor where 2 pages of the music were stuck together, and he lost touch with the orchestra. Jackie just stopped singing and looked to the Conductor, as the instruments wheezed down, then they began again. The Reviewer didn’t know that, so it wasn’t reported in his review. Had he been there,he would have had a golden opportunity to blame her for it. There’s a thought, maybe someone here wrote the review for him. Nah, it couldn’t be. LOL!!

      Your remark that she doesn’t know how to sing just doesn’t hold water. I guess people like Michael Baitzer of NPR radio don’t know what they are talking about, because he accompanied Jackie on piano, singing “Ombra Mai Fu”, live in the studio, and she was perfect! I remember at the time someone commenting on one of the old threads that Jackie had “conned” Mr. Baitzer, and she would straighten that out when she saw Michael. I guess that never happened, because Michael Baitzer is still a big fan of Jackie’s. The Pittsburgh Opera, Carnegie Mellon School of music and The Meyerson Symphony hall in Dallas don’t know what they are talking about? Neither do the Japanese. Jackie did a “Command Performance” for the Japanese Royal Family. Talk about an honor! The Japanese are so smitten with her they asked her Mother if Jackie could do a full tour of Japan in 2012., but Jackie already has her schedule already set for 2012, with enough commitments, that there just isn’t enough time for Jackie to do it. Perhaps in 2013.

      While you are thinking about snappy comebacks about all of this, I have to ask, how come all of these prestigious people and venues are so out of step with your thinking? How come you are so right and they are so wrong. You seem to frown on her making money, why? Your Opera and Music Hall singers make money singing, don’t they? Why shouldn’t Jackie. It’s not her fault that Billboard put her Genre into classical music, is it? In 2010, Jackie was the number 1 singer and had the number 1 album for the year in classical music. In 2011 she finished the year at #1, #2, and #4 in Classical Music. She finished the year rated #35 overall of the top 100 performers, in all Genres, and she will have a new Album out this year. Pretty remarkable for someone you claim doesn’t know how to sing. It’s so amazing how well she fooled all of these learned music people into thinking that she’s great, I mean compared to you, they don’t know anything, do they?

      The biggest thing you fail to see is that People want change in Classical Music. They no longer wish to hear classical music presented in the same dreary way it’s been done for the last 150 years or more. People want some variety, and something new. They are tired of the same old same old. That’s why an 11 year old girl tops the Classical Charts, because Jackie gives people what they want to hear, and her domination of the Classical charts is proof of that. What really makes me laugh is all the free publicity people like you give her actually hurts your own cause.

      I’m not saying that Jackie is perfect, because she isn’t. She still has some growing to do before she is ready for more serious training, and she’s getting closer to it every day. There’s an old saying, “You live by the sword, you die by the sword”, and all you people are accomplishing is hastening your musical Genre’s own death! You shouldn’t be saddened by the general stupidity of most people, you should be saddened by your own stupidity. Jackie is at least honest with herself and with her fans. You idiots sit there and pound each other on the back while trying to destroy Jackie’s career by lies and deceit, something you will never accomplish, and that is 63 years of musical experience talking! It seems to me that “all you know”, isn’t very much!

  • C.J. Sperling says:

    “You know, child prodigism – if I may coin a word – is a disease which is generally fatal. I was among the few to have the good fortune to survive. But I had the advantage of a great teacher in Professor Auer and a family that instinctively had a high regard for music, very good taste and a horror of mediocrity.” – Jascha Heifetz

  • cabbagejuice says:

    @The One “She chooses the key she will sing in.”
    Sure, this phenomenon must be better than the young Mozart who had to learn the key system from his father while learning composition and to play piano and violin – to be able to intuit scales without exactly knowing what they are – WOW! BTW, some of the keys are really too low for her voice. Maybe a real expert should be consutled.

    “She get’s no coaching for her stage presence either. She makes her own Musical decisions. She does her own Phrasing, and is probably better at it than 90% of the real opera singers in the world, and that’s from people who are Opera lovers… She chooses…her Timbre, and she most definitely is spontaneous.”

    Maria Callas surely is no match either for this miracle of spontaneity. As a young teenager she would stay from morning until night at the studio of her teacher Elvira de Hidalgo in Athens learning stagecraft and musical phrasing among other trivia like vocal technique that eventually enabled her to be “spontaneous”.

    Hey, even Picasso didn’t come out of a void. His father was an art teacher. Children start to learn by imitation. If they don’t have models in the home like Mozart, they have teachers and coaches outside who show them what to do. Schubert’s father was a music teacher but he also studied with Salieri, among others. But, heck, who needs study anymore when you can have an implanted chip that gives one preternatural knolwedge?

    • TheOne says:


      If you want to come here and be sarcastic and be a wise guy, I can just ignore you, but in the interest in having a real discussion, I’ll answer your first paragraph. If you decide you want to continue this discussion, I’ll oblige. OK? Motzart! Have you ever heard of Emily Bear? She made herPiano Debut at Carnegie Hall, when she was 9. In fact it’s ironic in that she took Jackie Evancho’s place when she canceled out of the Concert. She can hear a piece one time and play it back perfectly on the piano. She started doing it at 2 1/2, repeating things she heard her brother play Her Grandmother thought it was the brother practicing, and walked into the room to find Emily at the piano, playing her brother’s music lessons. She was walking up and down the Piano Bench playing scales To date, she has composed over 350 songs, many of them before she could read music at all. She totally blew away Jazz Legend Ramsey Lewis the first time they played together. His answer was that “Emily is a Pianist, and a great one

      I’ll even give you a better example, myself. In my own way I was able to read music before I ever learned to read music. How? By watching my Mother play. I would sit there on the piano bench and study what she was doing. Gradually I learned to relate the notes on the sheet music to the keys she was playing, but when I would try, it was all disjointed and out of time. Gradually I discovered what decided how long a note was held, the time of the music, expression and so on. I was 3! I started real piano lessons when I was 4, and have been playing quite well for 60 years. Up until recently I played both Piano and Theater Organ. I had a stroke this past summer that’s left my left hand usable for more mundane things, but my fingers don’t work well enough to play up to my standards anymore. The whole point is that I was able to figure out a system to read and play the music when I didn’t know how to read music.

      Maria callas is really a poor choice as you never hear the words Great Voice and Maria Callas in the same sentence. She has a weak but adequate voice. She doesn’t have as high a range as Jackie (G6). What really makes Callas a star is her theatrical presence in an Opera is the best in the business. Her acting ability on the Opera stage is second to none. Over the years I have enjoyed many performances by Callas.

      Oh well, I’ve come this close to the end of your post, that I might as well finish my reply.

      There have been a number of artists that have had no background like Picasso that became famous painters and sculptures that had no models to go by growing up. I do have to chuckle about the implanted chip. The funniest part is that you are so close to being right. Think about it. If you were to have a chip implanted in your brain, it would be a programmable ROM chip. ROM stands for Read Only Memory. Since there is no actual RAM in the brain, which stands for Random Access Memory. Jackie’s brain obviously has something else that works for Jackie. I can’t fault Jackie for saying it’s a gift from God., because one day when I was a couple of months away from my third birthday, I woke up one morning and started singing along with the radio that was always on in my house (WNEW NY) I can only give you my Mother’s viewpoint for the rest, because I don’t remember it. My Mother tells me that she asked me if I felt all right, and I told her that my head was fuzzy, like it was asleep. My mother says that I told her that “a man came into my room last night and touched my head, only it felt like his fingers were inside my head. I mean what did I know from anything when I wasn’t even 3 yet. I learned to sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” for my Grandmother’s 55th birthday and sang it accompanied by my Mother on Piano, about a month shy of my 3rd birthday. I earned $20 for doing it, my first paid performance. Like Jackie, I’m a believer, and to my dying day I will always believe that the man in my room was God! Today I just shrug it all off. I could write a book on the many strange happenings that have occurred to me in my life, so I never question. I once flew a Testor ten cent glider from my Aunts Parlor, into her living room. When I went to pick it up, it vanished right in front of my Aunt, my Mother, and me! I wouldn’t see it again for another 40 years!

  • cabbagejuice says:

    “…Michael Baitzer of NPR radio don’t know what they are talking about, because he accompanied Jackie on piano, singing “Ombra Mai Fu”, live in the studio, and she was perfect!”
    Not by a long shot, the voice was wavering, she couldn’t sustain long notes and the pronunciation was bad (unimportant though for the general public who doesn’t want classical music presented in a “dreary” manner.) Just because various institutions and certain people in the music field are joined up with a certain hot personality, it doesn’t mean that an artistic impluse brought it on. Maybe you should read “Who Killed Classical Music” to get a glimpse of how deals are made behind the scenes and favors are traded.
    And as for the Japanese public and what they are smitten with, several years ago there was a big sensation that went on for years, a translation of the English poem “Do not stand at my grave and weep” joined to a rather mediocre melody. “I am a thousand winds” was selected as the favorite in an end of the year song contest sung in a quasi operatic voice (actually pretty bad) and from then on the sky was the limit. Making megabucks along the way, it reached the heights of absurdity with a women’s theatre group dancing in tuxedos and the others floating around like spirits in a chandeliered gilt hall that couldn’t but wow the masses. (It may still be on youtube.) Later, there were commerical spin offs like “thousand wind” sake, incense, pickles picture books, a memorial and contest among other things.

    “People want change in Classical Music. They no longer wish to hear classical music presented in the same dreary way it’s been done for the last 150 years or more. People want some variety, and something new. They are tired of the same old same old.”
    There is some truth in what you say here. I for one, gag at how operas stoop to the general taste by incorporating shock techniques like “was that really Dessay’s ____ in Lucia and Cleopatra sticking out?”
    But it really depends on WHAT people you are talking about who allegedly want variety. The educated public is not interested in new sensations and don’t really need them. However, the pop public will be more than gratified if they can also experience a couple minutes of opera without all that snooty technique. I believe that the pop presentations of Emma Shapplin as a “diva” and Richard Clayderman as a “virtuoso” prepared the way for this latest sensation.

  • cabbagejuice says:

    @TheOne It really depends what circles you happen to frequent if you think that Jackie has got one on Maria Callas. Statements like this convince me that chips of “true believers” are implanted in the brains of JE’s fans.
    “Maria callas is really a poor choice as you never hear the words Great Voice and Maria Callas in the same sentence.” Why don’t you google Callas and Great Voice, you will not only find it profusely in the same sentence but is cited as one of the great voices of the century.

    “She has a weak but adequate voice. ”
    This must be a joke: a “weak voice”(!) , how about Callas in Mexico City in 1950 soaring over a full orchestra plus chorus in Aida with a prolonged Eb in alt? How about Lady Macbeth? How about Tosca? Of course, nothing can compare with a precocious child who still didn’t master vocal technique but is presented onstage anyway and depends on a microphone.

    She doesn’t have as high a range as Jackie (G6).”
    Let’s all hear that high G. So far she has never sung in public higher than an Ab almost an octave lower. Please compare that with Julie Andrews who at the age of 11 sang the Bolero of Mignon with tricky high coloratura up to D in alt, done PERFECTLY. (It’s on youtube.)

    “What really makes Callas a star is her theatrical presence in an Opera is the best in the business. Her acting ability on the Opera stage is second to none.” We don’t have too many instances of her acting unless one was lucky enough to see her onstage. However, her voice, musicality, phrasing, the intensity of her interpretations are enshrined in recordings for all posterity to wonder at, to appreciate and humbly learn from.

    The difference between most of the prodigies presented before the public is they didn’t have half-baked techniques that their fans have to continually make excuses for. This is what is so utterly wrong with the above business. It stands to reason that an institution like Juilliard would deny involvement because conscientious teachers do not place a talent in progress before the public, only finished products.

    I first sang before the public at the Philadelphia Convention Center at the age of 3 1/2 because no one else in my ballet class older than me could carry a tune. I remember the microphone being brought down to my height. I didn’t feel nervousness, just sang the song and that was it. I don’t attach any importance to that incident except to acknowledge the imitative abilities of kids – likewise Emily Bear.

    • cabbagejuice: Thanks for Sharing that Julie Andrews is on youtube singing as a 12 year old actually. That IS amazing! I enjoyed hearing that.

    • TheOne says:


      I wasn’t the one who claimed G6 as Jackie’s high note, Juilliard was at her last testing. As far as Callas’s voice goes, it’s always been controversial. To this day Maria Callas does not like her own voice

      The Callas Sound

      Callas’s voice was and remains controversial; it bothered and disturbed as many as it thrilled and inspired.[14][17] Walter Legge stated that Callas possessed that most essential ingredient for a great singer: an instantly recognizable voice.[28] During “The Callas Debate”, Italian critic Rodolfo Celletti stated, “The timbre of Callas’s voice, considered purely as sound, was essentially ugly: it was a thin sound, which gave the impression of dryness, of aridity. It lacked those elements which, in a singer’s jargon, are described as velvet and varnish… yet I really believe that part of her appeal was precisely due to this fact. Why? Because for all its natural lack of varnish, velvet and richness, this voice could acquire such distinctive colours and timbres as to be unforgettable.”[29] However, in his review of Callas’s 1951 live recording of I vespri siciliani, Ira Siff writes, “Accepted wisdom tells us that Callas possessed, even early on, a flawed voice, unattractive by conventional standards — an instrument that signaled from the beginning vocal problems to come. Yet listen to her entrance in this performance and one encounters a rich, spinning sound, ravishing by any standard, capable of delicate dynamic nuance. High notes are free of wobble, chest tones unforced, and the middle register displays none of the “bottled” quality that became more and more pronounced as Callas matured.”[30]

      Nicola Rossi-Lemeni relates that Callas’s mentor Tullio Serafin used to refer to her as “Una grande vociaccia”; he continues, “Vociaccia is a little bit pejorative—it means an ugly voice—but grande means a big voice, a great voice. A great ugly voice, in a way.”[31] Callas herself did not like the sound of her own voice; in one of her last interviews, answering whether or not she was able to listen to her own voice, she replies,

      Yes, but I don’t like it. I have to do it, but I don’t like it at all because I don’t like the kind of voice I have. I really hate listening to myself! The first time I listened to a recording of my singing was when we were recording San Giovanni Battista by Stradella in a church in Perugia in 1949. They made me listen to the tape and I cried my eyes out. I wanted to stop everything, to give up singing… Also now even though I don’t like my voice, I’ve become able to accept it and to be detached and objective about it so I can say, “Oh, that was really well sung,” or “It was nearly perfect.”[32]

      Maestro Carlo Maria Giulini has described the appeal of Callas’s voice:

      It is very difficult to speak of the voice of Callas. Her voice was a very special instrument. Something happens sometimes with string instruments—violin, viola, cello—where the first moment you listen to the sound of this instrument, the first feeling is a bit strange sometimes. But after just a few minutes, when you get used to, when you become friends with this kind of sound, then the sound becomes a magical quality. This was Callas.[11]

      [edit] Vocal category

      Callas’s voice has been difficult to place in the modern vocal classification or fach system, especially since in her prime, her repertoire contained the heaviest dramatic soprano roles as well as roles usually undertaken by the highest, lightest and most agile coloratura sopranos. Regarding this versatility, Maestro Tullio Serafin said, “This woman can sing anything written for the female voice”.[5] Michael Scott argues that Callas’s voice was a natural high soprano,[8] and going by evidence of Callas’s early recordings, Rosa Ponselle likewise felt that “At that stage of its development, her voice was a pure but sizable dramatic coloratura––that is to say, a sizable coloratura voice with dramatic capabilities, not the other way around.”[33] On the other hand, music critic John Ardoin has argued that Callas was the reincarnation of the nineteenth century soprano sfogato or “unlimited soprano”, a throwback to Maria Malibran and Giuditta Pasta, for whom many of the famous bel canto operas were written. He avers that like Pasta and Malibran, Callas was a natural mezzo-soprano whose range was extended through training and willpower, resulting in a voice which “lacked the homogeneous color and evenness of scale once so prized in singing. There were unruly sections of their voices never fully under control. Many who heard Pasta, for example, remarked that her uppermost notes seemed produced by ventriloquism, a charge which would later be made against Callas”.[14] Ardoin points to the writings of Henry Fothergill Chorley about Pasta which bear an uncanny resemblance to descriptions of Callas:

      “There was a portion of the scale which differed from the rest in quality and remained to the last ‘under a veil.’ …out of these uncouth materials she had to compose her instrument and then to give it flexibility. Her studies to acquire execution must have been tremendous; but the volubility and brilliancy, when acquired, gained a character of their own… There were a breadth, an expressiveness in her roulades, an evenness and solidity in her shake, which imparted to every passage a significance totally beyond the reach of lighter and more spontaneous singers… The best of her audience were held in thrall, without being able to analyze what made up the spell, what produced the effect–as soon as she opened her lips”.[14]

      Callas herself appears to have been in agreement not only with Ardoin’s assertions that she started as a natural mezzo-soprano, but also saw the similarities between herself and Pasta and Malibran. In 1957, she described her early voice as: “The timbre was dark, almost black—when I think of it, I think of thick molasses”, and in 1968 she added, “They say I was not a true soprano, I was rather toward a mezzo”.[3] Regarding her ability to sing the heaviest as well as the lightest roles, she told James Fleetwood,

      “It’s study; it’s Nature. I’m doing nothing special, you know. Even Lucia, Anna Bolena, Puritani, all these operas were created for one type of soprano, the type that sang Norma, Fidelio, which was Malibran of course. And a funny coincidence last year, I was singing Anna Bolena and Sonnambula, same months and the same distance of time as Giuditta Pasta had sung in the Nineteenth Century… So I’m really not doing anything extraordinary. You wouldn’t ask a pianist not to be able to play everything; he has to. This is Nature and also because I had a wonderful teacher, the old kind of teaching methods… I was a very heavy voice, that is my nature, a dark voice shall we call it, and I was always kept on the light side. She always trained me to keep my voice limber”.[34]

      [edit] Vocal size and range
      Callas’s range in performance (highest and lowest notes both shown in red): from F-sharp below the Middle C (green) to E-natural above the High C (blue)

      Regarding the sheer size of Callas’s instrument, Celletti says, “Her voice was penetrating. The volume as such was average: neither small nor powerful. But the penetration, allied to this incisive quality (which bordered on the ugly because it frequently contained an element of harshness) ensured that her voice could be clearly heard anywhere in the auditorium.”[29] Yet, paradoxically enough, in “Le Grandi voci”, Celletti states that Callas had not a mere penetrating voice but “a voluminous, resonant and dark” one (“una voce voluminosa, squillante e di timbro scuro”). After her first performance of Medea in 1953, the critic for Musical Courier would write, “she displayed a vocal generosity that was scarecely believable for its amplitude and resilience.”[16]. In a 1982 Opera News interview with Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge, Bonynge stated, “But before she slimmed down, I mean this was such a colossal voice. It just poured out of her, the way Flagstad’s did… Callas had a huge voice. When she and Stignani sang Norma, at the bottom of the range you could barely tell who was who… Oh it was colossal. And she took the big sound right up to the top.”[35] In his book, Michael Scott makes the distinction that whereas Callas’s pre-1954 voice was a “dramatic soprano with an exceptional top”, after the weight loss, it became, as one Chicago critic described the voice in Lucia,[16] a “huge soprano leggiero”.[8]

      In performance, Callas’s range was just short of three octaves, from F-sharp (F♯3) below middle C (C4) heard in “Arrigo! Ah parli a un core” from I vespri siciliani to E-natural (E6) above high C (C6), heard in the aria “Mercè, dilette amiche” in the final act of the same opera, as well as in Rossini’s Armida and Lakmés Bell Song. Whether or not Callas ever sang a high F-natural in performance has been open to debate. After her June 11, 1951 concert in Florence, Rock Ferris of Musical Courier said, “Her high E’s and F’s are taken full voice.”[16] Although no definite recording of Callas singing high F’s have surfaced, the presumed E-natural at the end of Rossini’s Armida—a poor-quality bootleg recording of uncertain pitch—has been referred to as a high F by Italian musicologists and critics Eugenio Gara and Rodolfo Celletti.[29] Callas expert Dr. Robert Seletsky, however, stated that since the finale of Armida is in the key of E, the final note could not have been an F, as it would have been dissonant. Author Eve Ruggieri has referred to the penultimate note in “Mercè, dilette amiche” from the 1951 Florence performances of I vespri siciliani as a high F;[36] however, this claim is refuted by John Ardoin’s review of the live recording of the performance as well as by the review of the recording in Opera News, both of which refer to the note as a high E-natural.[17][30] In a 1969 French television interview with Pierre Desgraupes on the program L’invitée du dimanche, maestro Francesco Siciliani speaks of Callas’s voice going to high F (he also talk about her lower register extending to C3), but within the same program, Callas’s teacher, Elvira de Hidalgo, speaks of the voice soaring to a high E-natural, but does not mention a high F; meanwhile, Callas herself remains silent on the subject, neither agreeing nor disagreeing with either claim.[10]
      [edit] Vocal registers

      Callas’s voice was noted for its three distinct registers: Her low or chest register was extremely dark and almost baritonal in power, and she used this part of her voice for dramatic effect, often going into this register much higher on the scale than most sopranos.[28][29] Her middle register had a peculiar and highly personal sound—”part oboe, part clarinet”, as Claudia Cassidy described it[14]—and was noted for its veiled or “bottled” sound, as if she were singing into a jug.[28] Walter Legge attributed this sound to the “extraordinary formation of her upper palate, shaped like a Gothic arch, not the Romanesque arch of the normal mouth”.[28] The upper register was ample and bright, with an impressive extension above high C, which—in contrast to the light flute-like sound of the typical coloratura, “she would attack these notes with more vehemence and power—quite differently therefore, from the very delicate, cautious, ‘white’ approach of the light sopranos.”[29] Legge adds, “Even in the most difficult fioriture there were no musical or technical difficulties in this part of the voice which she could not execute with astonishing, unostentatious ease. Her chromatic runs, particularly downwards, were beautifully smooth and staccatos almost unfailingly accurate, even in the trickiest intervals. There is hardly a bar in the whole range of nineteenth century music for high soprano that seriously tested her powers.”[28] And as she demonstrated in the finale of La sonnambula on the commercial EMI set and the live recording from Cologne, she was able to execute a diminuendo on the stratospheric high E-flat, which Scott describes as “a feat unrivaled in the history of the gramophone.”[8]

      Regarding Callas’s soft singing, Celletti says, “In these soft passages, Callas seemed to use another voice altogether, because it acquired a great sweetness. Whether in her florid singing or in her canto spianato, that is, in long held notes without ornamentation, her mezza-voce could achieve such moving sweetness that the sound seemed to come from on high. . . I don’t know, it seemed to come from the skylight of La Scala.”[29]

      This combination of size, weight, range and agility was a source of amazement to Callas’s own contemporaries. One of the choristers present at her La Scala debut in I vespri siciliani recalled, “My God! She came on stage sounding like our deepest contralto, Cloe Elmo. And before the evening was over, she took a high E-flat. And it was twice as strong as Toti Dal Monte’s!”[14] In the same vein, mezzo-soprano Giulietta Simionato said: “The first time we sang together was in Mexico in 1950, where she sang the top E-flat in the second-act finale of Aida. I can still remember the effect of that note in the opera house—it was like a star!”[37] For Italian soprano Renata Tebaldi, “the most fantastic thing was the possibility for her to sing the soprano coloratura with this big voice! This was something really special. Fantastic absolutely!”[11]

      Callas’s vocal registers, however, were not seamlessly joined; Walter Legge writes, “Unfortunately, it was only in quick music, particularly descending scales, that she completely mastered the art of joining the three almost incompatible voices into one unified whole, but until about 1960, she disguised those audible gear changes with cunning skill.”[28] Rodolfo Celletti states,

      In certain areas of her range her voice also possessed a guttural quality. This would occur in the most delicate and troublesome areas of a soprano’s voice—for instance where the lower and middle registers merge, between G and A. I would go so far as to say that here her voice had such resonances as to make one think at times of a ventriloquist. . .or else the voice could sound as though it were resonating in a rubber tube. There was another troublesome spot. . . between the middle and upper registers. Here, too, around the treble F and G, there was often something in the sound itself which was not quite right, as though the voice were not functioning properly.[29]

      As to whether these troublesome spots were due to the nature of the voice itself or to technical deficiencies, Celletti says: “Even if, when passing from one register to another, Callas produced an unpleasant sound, the technique she used for these transitions was perfect.”[29] Musicologist and critic Fedele D’Amico adds, “Callas’s ‘faults’ were in the voice and not in the singer; they are so to speak, faults of departure but not of arrival. This is precisely Celletti’s distinction between the natural quality of the voice and the technique.”[29] In 2005, Ewa Podles said of Callas, “Maybe she had three voices, maybe she had three ranges, I don’t know — I am professional singer. Nothing disturbed me, nothing! I bought everything that she offered me. Why? Because all of her voices, her registers, she used how they should be used — just to tell us something!”[38]

      Eugenio Gara states, “Much has been said about her voice, and no doubt the discussion will continue. Certainly no one could in honesty deny the harsh or “squashed” sounds, nor the wobble on the very high notes. These and others were precisely the accusations made at the time against Pasta and Malibran, two geniuses of song (as they were then called), sublime, yet imperfect. Both were brought to trial in their day. . . Yet few singers have made history in the annals of opera as these two did.”[29

  • Janey says:


    You have reminded me of a comment by De Niese in her new Huffington Post blog. She discusses performing and recording for Decca even though her voice was unfinished and still growing. Her comments struck me.

    The difference between De Niese and Evancho, of course, is that one received serious training while the other has not, it would seem.

    Here is the blog (

    (obviously designed as a tie in to her CD release, but interesting nonetheless)

    • TheOne says:

      Janey says:
      January 26, 2012 at 1:32 am


      You have reminded me of a comment by De Niese in her new Huffington Post blog. She discusses performing and recording for Decca even though her voice was unfinished and still growing. Her comments struck me.

      The difference between De Niese and Evancho, of course, is that one received serious training while the other has not, it would seem.

      Here is the blog (

      (obviously designed as a tie in to her CD release, but interesting nonetheless)


      Jackie is not ready for serious training yet. No child should have serious training until they reach vocal maturity.

      I read the article from de Nises’s blog and it was interesting. Thank You! However, the difference was Danielle was 25 years old when she signed with Decca with her unfinished voice. What was she doing at 10? Probably the same thing as Jackie does now,.work with her vocal coach or Tutor to sing safely Jackie signed her contract with Sony USA at 10. What was Danielle doing at 11? I’m pretty sure it was the same thing, within updated prescribed limits, so there is no meaningful difference, as there was no serious training for Danielle at age 10 or 11.

      I’m pretty sure that Danielle had matured early, perhaps as early as 12 1/2, but more likely 13, but you can’t convince me that her instrument had matured at 10 or 11 years of age I can’t see her being ready for her Debut at the LA Opera, at 15 otherwise.

      I also find “unfinished and still growing” to be very suspect as well. By 25 her physical growth should have been complete.

      • Janey says:

        You know more about De Niese’s voice than Ms. De Niese herself? You are suggesting that she’s lying about her debut in LA?

        I find your knowledge “suspect.”

        Soprano voices continue maturation through the 20s, and in the case of the heaviest voices, sometimes well into the 30s. A 25 year old soprano does not sound the same at 35.

        At 11, I believe Ms. De Niese was on a television program and receiving full time teaching/training for her voice from highly respected teachers. We can disagree about whether we appreciate her voice, but there is no denying that she has worked and trained very hard, all the while following very strict guidelines to protect her voice.

  • Stephen Runnels says:

    Billboard Magazine says about Jackie Evancho: “her spellbinding, operatic vocals possess a power and poignancy that often moves listeners multiple times her age to tears.”

    This is but one example of the view of millions of people around the world. Those of us, who have had the opportunity to attend a Jackie Evancho live performance, have had the pleasure of meeting her and her family, fully understand and embrace the sentiment. I challenge any of you who feel Jackie is just a little girl pretending to be the essence of what Billboard magazine says about her to actually attend a performance. Watch and listen not only to Jackie, but if you can tear yourself away from the extraordinary experience, watch the reaction and emotion from those around you. In this you might stop seeing Jackie as a little girl singing classical, but actually as a classical artist who just happens to be an 11 year old girl. At the very least watch her “’Dream With Me’ in concert” video to understand exactly why we millions of fans really don’t care about inconsequential minutiae in perceived technique.

    • Janey says:


      “I wasn’t the one who claimed G6 as Jackie’s high note, Juilliard was at her last testing.”

      Now, you’re playing with us. Juilliard has stated that they’re not working with Ms. Evancho.

      • TheOne says:


        I’m not playing with you at all. Testing a voice doesn’t equal working with. Juilliard tests many voices that have no working relationship with Juilliard. I would imagine that they are always on the lookout for extraordinary talent. I think the statement from Juilliard had more to do with liability than anything. Remember, Jackie is contracted to Sony USA.

  • cabbagejuice says:

    @TheOne What is the point in cutting and pasting all that from Wikipedia? To compare a swan with a mosquito? “To this day Callas doesn’t like the sound of her voice.” If you haven’t been in a coma from 1977, you would know that the great singer passed away that year.
    But more than that, people’s perceptions of themselves are often flawed. Florence Foster Jenkins must have loved the sound of her own squawking but most others who didn’t have their ears on backwards didn’t share that opinion. It’s rather nasty to bring in as an argument a person’s insecurities about herself which were unfortunately like everything about her, revealed to the world.
    Callas started out as rejected; family wanted a boy to replace one that had died. In subtle and not so subtle ways her mother encouraged and reinforced her poor view of herslef by stuffing her with food and then unfavorably comparing her to her older, more glamorous sister. These attitudes are notoriously hard to break, poisoning one’s self image for a lifetime.
    But she was also a perfectionist. It is hard to listen to onself if one is not a supreme egotist. Compare that with fulsome praise lavished on prodigies who start to believe they are walking miracles and get a big shock when they mature and have to compare themselves with their peers. Some of them don’t survive that either.
    To bring the issue of range is silly and ignorant at the same time. Sopranos as a rule can go up to a high E but only the select few, the coloraturas, can sing the Queen of the Night as it passes into F. Children, boys and girls, frequently can go higher but upon puberty the voice somewhat lowers. Lilli Lehman spoke about her being able to sing extremely high as a girl.

    • TheOne says:


      I’m aware that Maria callas is gone. I had originally written “to her dying day”, but I didn’t like the way it looked, and I guess I fouled it up, so there’s no need to be deliberately insulting. Your remark about a mosquito is out of line as well.

      Oh, there is no record of Maria callas ever performing an F6 in her entire career!

      No matter, You don’t want to discuss anything, you just want to spout your venom about an 11 year old child at every opportunity you get. You know what? Jackie is a much better person than you will ever be! You should be ashamed of yourself. You are a fine example of bad parenting!

      This conversation is over!

      • cabbagejuice says:

        @TheOne Bad parenting? Where did that come from? Venom? Just because I don’t agree that an undeveloped 11 year old is any match for the great Maria Callas? We didn’t hear the girl sing anything higher than a Ab below high C. However, I did explain (after working with many women singers over 25 years) that the usable range of a bona fide soprano does not pass E. That is why most composers do not go over that note, particularly for dramatic voices.
        Your statement here is rather disingenous, considering all the claims of her studying with the best teachers and coaches: “Jackie is not ready for serious training yet. No child should have serious training until they reach vocal maturity.”
        Well at least if it is “training”, at least it should be “serious”! Listen though to Julie Andrews at 12. Her careful training enabled her to have a long career, unlike the burnt out pop and crossover stars that don’t need to be reminded of here.
        I’m not going to defend my parenting or teaching for that matter because I would not exploit my children or students by putting them on stage before they are ready and even more so to protect them against voyeurs and nutcases. And I am not going to defend myself against character defamation. A person who lives many years can do more harm but maybe has a chance to do more good. God is the judge.
        It’s AMAZING how far and foolish the Dudley-do-Rights riding on their horses backwards will go to defend their damsels-in-distress. If anyone would question HOW MUCH the baby boomers are a product of pop culture and cartoons, defenders of JE are caricatures of their cultural programming. The media sure knows how to press the public’s buttons put in place over decades by the same media.
        The personalization is the point here: “a criticism of my hero or star is an attack on me because MY flimsy beliefs are called into question.” So bring out all the big guns…

      • dirigent says:

        So, tell us…do you work for Ms. Evancho’s agent?

  • Waldo says:

    Going to wade into the catfight here with this:

    I’m not going to criticize her voice, because, well, she’s 11. She’s obviously remarkably talented and precocious so I don’t know why there is so much fighting going on here, with what seems like fanatical devotion to whatever side people are coming down on. Again, she’s 11. I think the legitimate worry of professional singers is that normally the voice(the actual instrument itself) is not ready to withstand the strain of singing repertoire such as she does without doing long lasting damage. Hopefully, Ms. Evancho is an exception to this rule.

    The long discussion about child prodigies is one that simply won’t end. We can all hope that she has a successful and fulfilling life, and that she can live as normally as possible without being subject to the pitfalls and terrible downward spirals that have overwhelmed so many child prodigies before her. Do I wish child prodigies didn’t exist? Yes, if it allowed them to develop and mature away from the public, but I’m not naive enough to think that our insatiable appetite for youth will change. Let’s all just root for her and hope she does well, regardless of your thoughts about her, her parents, her singing, etc. She’s a person, and a child at that, who deserves good wishes, not people comparing her favorably to Callas or mercilessly ripping her apart. Neither of these attitudes; fanatically positive or downright mean-spirited, serve her well.

    • TheOne says:


      Don’t waste your breath on these Opera Snobs. Mean spirited doesn’t cover it, some of them make it plain that they wish Jackie ill will, while swearing that they mean no such thing. They live 150+ years in the past and insist that everybody else does it as well. I wish the best of luck to you in trying though.

      • dirigent says:

        Who employs you?

      • Waldo says:

        @theone(whatever that means)….

        You do realize I’m talking about you too, right? Your hysterical pumping up of Ms. Evancho’s career is just as detrimental as the mean-spirited sniping. I remain very concerned about Ms. Evancho’s mental and physical health, though I wish her only the best. This was all I was trying to say.

  • When two “super-fans” of poor Ms. Evancho in this thread start talking about a handshake between two people where money usually changes hands. And, according to them, it’s a representative of the record producers already exploiting her for millions shaking hands with a supposed teacher at Julliard (a school which says she’s not studying there). This sounds more like an insider trading deal on Wall Street than people who have actually found something they believe in and want to glorify and nurture. Who knows what is truly going on!? From the accuracy of certain information given, and the speculation behind it, this could be almost anything. And since fantasy and reality have already completely blurred: we’re talking about a young girl here, not an orchard of cherries that someone wants to make marischinos out of!
    One only has to look at what happened to perhaps the greatest singer in history, Mario Lanza, to see how such behind the scenes eyeing of just who could work to make it in their racket can end up. A life tragically cut short! And this isn’t about opera versus anything else, it’s about singing itself, whatever genre you happen to be in.
    I’m completely for a child having a happy youth where they can follow their dreams. It’s been mentioned that she’s not in school. If this is true, I understand the concern for her having a “normal” life. But no, for me this doesn’t mean her life is bereft when she’s not sitting 7-8 house in a classroom; having to raise her hand when she needs to ask a question; having to listen to a person give lectures on things she may not be interested in at all and might be better at, and better off, learning about all by herself; can’t leave the room to go to the bathroom without asking; and then has to go home and do more work (conditions that when offered to most adults and supported with a more-than-above average salary were not accepted). If she can’t follow all of this; she’s put on medications. But I can’t really see that being the target for media exploitation leaves her with a completely happy child hood where she could follow her dreams, either. These are my concerns, the same concerns others have as well. And these are just concerns stated. Not some dark devious dangerous jealousy. If a man in dark clothes with a mask came to my door and offered me the same millions, a prize on corporate eaves dropping as to who has the X-factor, and such a following….
    No thank You. I’m Fine.
    And it’s understandable, although maybe politically incorrect, when someone has had enough and says something about this product, this squawking sweetness which becomes a marischino (and no I’m not making a direct comparison to Jackie Evancho’s singing; She truly does some beautiful things, which everyone here in the thread concurs with. She deserves the chance to allow her talents to blossom unhindered). But in pointing out a dislike for marischino-ing, no one is insulting cherries. They come from nature. I’ve not even seen them singing their hearts out on America’s Got Talent. They don’t have a contract with Sony; and as far as I know they’re not studying at Julliard. Nor do I believe they need to.

  • Whatever Jackie decides to do that’s her choice, and should be. And I’m not knocking people who use a microphone, but bel-canto singing certainly isn’t something outdated. That a voice can blossom and fill a whole concert hall or opera house, remains an accomplishment the invention of microphones hasn’t supplanted, nor does, or can it replace.
    I really wonder what Jackie Evancho would say about people thinking she’s supposed to acknowledge that she has transcended 300 years of vocal technique and has super powers along with being completely modest and not a diva.
    That one should simply be allowed to be an 11 year old child isn’t enough!?

  • TheOne says:

    Roelof Alexander Bijkerk,

    Thank you for the Judi Dentch, one of my favorites.

    you said: I really wonder what Jackie Evancho would say about people thinking she’s supposed to acknowledge that she has transcended 300 years of vocal technique and has super powers along with being completely modest and not a diva.
    That one should simply be allowed to be an 11 year old child isn’t enough!?

    I don’t know that she has transcended anything. She has a number of techniques and tools in her arsenal that she can’t use now, until her body fully matures. When you get to “super powers”, it does raise some questions like, where did all those techniques and tools come from. An even better question is where does her exquisite tone and timbre come from? Science doesn’t know, because scientifically, it’s impossible to get that sound out of such a small vessel. There simply not enough resonant area to provide such sound. It’s like trying to put 1 1/2 quarts of liquid in a 1 quart bottle. Yet somehow Jackie has managed to do just that!

    Another strange thing is in her audio scans of her voice. There are a couple of components there that don’t appear in any other singers scans. she has always been a master when it comes to matching Timbre and Tone, but this is something different. She does all of this mixing and blending in real time, something the world’s fastest computers can not do. Where does that come from?

    I was a child prodigy with gifts too, and to this day, I can’t tell you where they came from. Like Jackie, I consider it a gift from God.. No other answer fits the situation. I don’t know whether Modest is the right word, but I think Humble would be a better description. I call her a humble child of ordinary parents that have extraordinary Parenting skills. Looking at their home life is like being inside a living Norman Rockwell painting. Their pecking order is clear. God, Family, Friends!

    I know you say “that one should simply be allowed to be an 11 year old child isn’t enough? Why? No one raised a flap about a 12 year old Julie Andrews singing Polonaise; Je suis Titania – Mignon by Ambroise Thomas. Her singing is technically perfect, but her voice is that of a little girl. By the standards you set for Jackie, Julie had no business singing that difficult a piece at 12! While I wouldn’t recommend Jackie attempt to sing Polonaise; Je suis Titania – Mignon by Ambroise Thomas. I have no problem with what she does sing. This is what Jackie has wanted to do since she was 8. If she isn’t doing anything to hurt herself, she should be allowed to do it. Her mother does a fine job with her scheduling, leaving plenty of time for Jackie to be a child.

    • cabbagejuice says:

      Did you ever hear kittens meow or baby birds chirp? How can such small bodies get so much sound? How can tiny transistors make so much noise? Resonance!!!
      And it’s very simple what is being done not only with her but other child pop singers – pushing the sound into the resonators!!! Is this healthy? No. Does it impress by the sheer amount of emotion it can channel? Sure.
      Are there obvious vocal flaws resulting from such misuse? A tremolo in the lower range, inability to sustain medium length phrases, jaw wobble that shouldn’t exist at all in a child. These usually appear with singers at the end of their careers when the voice is worn out. BTW, Julie Andrews had none of that as an adolescent and for most of her long career, so what she was doing at 12 vindicated itself.
      Is it exploiting a short tem advantage over possible long term damage? Well, if the history of other singers who have tried it, the evidence is stacked against it.
      Should one believe everything that is said about a so-called model family making big bucks from their 11 year old daughter? Of course not.

      • Deana Durbin fan says:

        Have to say you’re a pompous ignoramus. And ‘jaw wobble’ is a function of relaxed neck, throat and facial muscles, that results in a natural and pleasing end of note vibrato rather than a strained unpleasant and unnatural forced vibrato.

  • DERQ HOWLETT says:

    The Washington Post should offer a retraction of the self-righteous and erroneous article criticizing and belittling child prodigies (E.g., Jackie Evancho) by Tim Page, another know-it-all music “expert.” Indeed, the continued success of the angelic youngster with the God-given voice of an angel, now an enchanting teen with several gold- and platinum-albums and over 3 million sales under her belt, totally belies the notion that children should not be allowed to sing with full beautiful voices but only with little kids’ voices, For shame, especially if any talented kids have been discouraged …

  • Terhüja says:

    Stayed up all night reading this. Lol. I personally like classical opera but i also listen to crossover classical, jazz, blues, pop, etc. Sometimes i find her voice was not fully satisfying compared to parvarotti or sutherland or callas. Nevertheless, i was vowed by her performances in PBS. Although, i think her voice isn’t too nice now… Like she is singing into a container and the sound isn’t coming out enough to get the “eargasm”…

    Bottom line is that i am not crazy for her voice. And i dont know anything about voice care or neck care but I do respect her and her accomplishments are by far, “AMAZING”