Laura Bretan: ‘Some people think of opera as old ladies in wigs’

Laura Bretan: ‘Some people think of opera as old ladies in wigs’


norman lebrecht

July 27, 2016

The Romanian candidate stormed America’s Got Talent again last night.

This time with some difficulties in her lower register.

It didn’t matter. She got a standing ovation from Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, and Mel B, along with the obligatory audience hysteria.

‘This is why we made this show,’ said Cowell. ‘So that we can find people like you.’

Laura is now 14. Watch her performance below.


  • Sue says:

    It sounded like two different singers to me; bog standard in the lower register and too much vibrato in the high. Quite a lot of vocal insecurity and inconsistency there, IMO.

    Potential, but work to be done!!

    • Jody says:

      I agree. And I think her breathing needs work as well. I’m not sure what to think when I hear very young girls singing like this. My guess is they are being pushed to get an adult sound and that this may ruin the natural voice they have. Let’s hope she gets a really GOOD voice teacher to work with in the next several years and at college!

      • Mariana says:

        You guys are so so jealous of her talent. ..its her choice…this is what she want to do in her life…it’s doesn’t matter if you like her or not…she is a brilliant singer with a bright future. ..things maybe you could not getting in 100 years…so leave her alone. She is a really star even if she win or not.

        • Crawford Kilian says:

          It’s not a matter of jealousy–it’s a matter of recognizing talent and wanting to protect and nurture it into more than five minutes of wowing an AGT audience.

          Acing your first serve on the local tennis court doesn’t automatically qualify you for Wimbledon; Laura should be in serious professional training, like any great artist or athlete, for years before she goes out to conquer the world. As I hope she does.

          • Carol Terentiak says:

            She is amazing. Maybe not a technically perfect as some of you “professionals” want, but amazing. I’ll bet none of you could sing like that at 13 or 14. Can’t you be gracious and simply admit, she is amazing???? And really, isn’t performances about entertaining, impressing and making the audience feel good – and she does!!! Get over yourselves.

          • cabbagejuice says:

            Carol Terentiak, children are not trained animals who perform on stages just to make people “feel good”. Moreover, without proper training doing this kind of screaming, her vocal apparatus can be ruined forever.

          • Terry L. says:

            Funny thing about the Internet, you can look up anyone you want , and I’ve look up the top 100 sopranos of all time. And listen to them sing every thing Laura sings, she’s better than all of them . Sorry to hurt your feelings, jealous person!

          • Crawford Kilian says:

            I made my points about her in an article in June: The fact remains: This is a very talented girl who should be improving for decades. Instead, she’s being used as a crowd pleaser for a summer.

            I noticed that when she came back to AGT in July, she had live musical backup and lots of impressive lighting. Who paid for all that?

          • Dave says:

            So are you people saying that Amira Willingham is basically the same as Laura?

      • john ireland says:

        Remember Andrew de Leon, (Goth untrained opera singer on the X factor)? One of the judges worried, “You aren’t trained and I worry that your voice can withstand this competition”. His voice failed the next week. I don’t know anything about voice but there are many analogies to other fields. Caring people want children to develop step by step.

    • Robert Foss says:

      I enjoy her voice as much as my old favorite Sarah . Sarah brightman

  • cabbagejuice says:

    First of all, that ain’t opera. It’s a recipe for losing her voice early and permanently. Someone should put a stop to these moppets’ premature forays into “can belto” as they are not “bel canto”.

    • Jody says:

      LOL. Hadn’t heard that “can belto” bit. Very funny, but also very true! I agree with what you’re saying.

      • cabbagejuice says:

        Don’t underestimate the imitative talents of young kids. This is precisely what the judges miss. In fact, it happens all the time for aspiring singers to come first into a teacher’s studio trying to sound like their role models. In the first lesson they need to be gently disabused of such ideas and rather develop their own special timbre and talents.

        • Mariana Trench says:

          I like to listen to opera, but I do not want to be ignorant. Could you please tell me if it is OK to like the voice of Aida Garifullina? Also, please tell me which sopranos and which tenors to listen to; I would like to be a learned listener.

          • cabbagejuice says:

            You can listen to anyone you like. However, it is a kind of exploitation to have kids wearing shoes they can’t fill.
            Aida has a pleasant enough voice. I happen to be a vocal purist though. When listening to “Casta Diva” by Bellini, I expect seamless Bel Canto lines in the manner of a Caballe, Sutherland or Callas.
            There is a qualitative difference that can be discerned only by listening to a lot of good singing, which unfortunately, there is not much of the perfection that one could expect from the aforementioned singers.
            When any of those three sang the high repeated notes in this aria, there were no audible breaths. The notes floated like clouds. Get my drift? There was no change in color from one note to the other, except in wide leaps. Anything else to me is pedestrian.

  • MacroV says:

    She’s an American. Don’t know where she was born, but she lives in Chicago.

    • silviu o. says:

      She is born in USA, learn in USA, and now live in USA. She’s parents are romanian, but she’s an american adorabil girl.

  • Susie m boyd says:

    She is amazing..every time I listen to her I cry..what a talented girl..and by the way she looks just like my granddaughter!! Who. Also is amazing..only the best for her in the future!! Love her

  • Jojo Repotente says:

    Cabbage Juice and Crawford Kilian, instead of being purists and staying in your high pedestals of being music intellectuals, why don’t you go down and teach or train this young lass whom you see as just doing mimics. You are really putting this young lady in a bad light and situation. You of all people should have written her/called her instead of publishing issues like this! What does that make of you people – ranting intellectuals? Would appreciate it if you people could just teach or train Ms. Laura Bretan the right way or technique/s…..maybe pro bono 🙂

    • cabbagejuice says:

      Sure, she is welcome to my music studio. I will not pay transportation but someone who is earning money by performing or promotion work, I would expect the lessons to be paid.

    • images says:

      If it were your daughter, or someone you love, wouldn’t you want the best advise possible? For curiosity, wouldn’t you look into possible concerns? She is ONLY ten!

      I’m no singer but its funny how I actually felt she was forcing at some point as well as taking too many breaths (and this was way before i read these posts).

      That doesn’t take away the fact that I think she’s wonderful. She gave me shivers; we need more voices like hers in the music industry. At her age, her voice is still developing and if this is her calling, then there is NOTHING wrong in taking all the necessary precautions to educate herself and take advise from people who know better.

      Anyone that appreciates this beautiful and talented girl as well as others that will follow in her path, should not take offence in well intended comments. Instead, appreciate and learn from each other.

      …..and yes, she as anyone else who wants to persue any career/passion would have to pay for their lessons. Never stop learning…that’s my MO.

  • Rosario says:

    Laura Bretan es demSiaDo joven con una voz extraordinaria. Debera aprender muchisimo Un de tecnica ydemas. No se cuelguen de ella. Sigan con sus vidas. Que yo sepa no esta pidiendo clases gratis. Debe ya esrae en manos de maestros. Para cuando llegue a ser una gran cantante. Si llega. Los que hoy despotrican ya seran recuerdos en la Historia de la musica. no debes hace comparaciones con Maria Callas y demas..puede llegar a ser mejor o desaparecer. Al tiempo. Por lo pronto es tan importante su acruCion que aqui estamos comentandolo. Tranquilos.

  • Rich Flink says:

    A caution is fine, even warranted if genuine, but should be sandwiched in among some encouragement. Laura has a very special talent and with proper nourishment that talent can blossom. I noticed that after Grace had been compared to Taylor Swift she (Grace) got flowers from Taylor. That showed class not jealousy.
    Personally, a few years ago I sought out my favorite Hawaiian artist, Hiroshi Tagami, to buy a painting from him. When he learned that I also painted he asked to see something of mine. I showed him a picture from on my cell phone and he said that I was “good” and invited me to come to Maui where they were moving in a couple weeks and we could paint together. I had to be asked only once!
    I hope that Laura gets that kind of encouragement; not just all the warnings. Give me a break! She only recently turned fourteen.

  • Peter Vowles says:

    Laura’s extraordinary talent needs to be nurtured and developed rather than exploited. The comments by those concerned about her voice being spoiled by over-extension at this stage are well intentioned and I hope she is offered sponsorship to have her voice trained professionally. I would look forward to hearing a well trained Laura in 15 years time.

  • Thomas Nessman says:

    I’m not trained in music, but I know what I like. I know nothing about upper and lower vocal registers. But I do love classical, and operatic music. Along with some other categories. I do know that a couple other performers, Charlotte Church and Jackie Evancho, are exceptional artists who began their careers at an early age. And I believe that Laura Bretan is every bit as talented.

    • cabbagejuice says:

      Charlotte Church peaked too early. Her spoiled career should be enough warning for kids and their parents not to trot them out on stages before they are completely developed and are secure in their techniques.

  • ernesto mercado guevarra says:

    You really performed intelligently incredible and amazingly beautiful just as what your are… I am a filipino and never loved any opera performances but you gratifyingly caught my attention as i browse for contests like America;s got talent. You are such a wonderful girl to love, I just hope I had a daughter like you Laura, God speed…

  • Jim Lane says:

    Some of the comments by the experts were ridiculous. She has a God given talent that makes a person like me, who is’nt into this era of music, want to watch. Her comments pre performance shows a delightful young lady with a warm and engaging personality that uxudes “everything humble, pure and thankful to God for the raw talent.”

    I would rather watch her with the flaws than perfection with a robot stiff and starch-like approach. Wouldn’t you really??

    Given time, she will develop into a singer of great repute.

  • Bryan P says:

    I , like many others, fell in love with this very talented young lady the first time I heard her sing on AGT .Her rendition of the prayer was beautiful. She is still young and with time and training will only get much better. I believe she will become one of the greatest opera singers of this century. I am in the process of writing a composition for her. It would be such an honor and also my dream to have her sing it one day! I wish this young lady all the best and can’t wait till she, hopefully, performs at the Arts Centre in Ottawa Ontario, Canada. Wow, that would be a performance I would not miss!!!

  • Jeff Imparato says:

    I understand the concern that these caring music professionals having about her technique. She really can belt it out, but at what cost? Eventually, unless she learns to breath correctly, and relax her vocal chords, she will eventually ruin them. There is a reason that opera singer can sing for many years, they have learned how to do more with less. I also have great concern that she understands what she is singing. O mio Bambino Caro, is basically a young girl begging her father to let her go to see her boyfriend, or if not, she would go kill herself. What a role model for inspiring young women.

  • bryan says:

    Regardless of all the negative (and I am sure concerned) remarks, Laura Bretan will some day be a super star in her genre of music. This young lady is so talented! She is amazing, and I love how she puts so much emotion and feeling into her singing. I have read so many remarks regarding the concern for her voice, well, from what I have seen from some of her past performances on the internet, she is now working with a vocal coach! Laura seems to be a very bright young lady and I am sure she would not do anything to jeopardize her talent. God bless you Laura Bretan. You have made me stop and take notice for this genre of music. Some day I hope to hear you sing live. WoW!!!

  • Dave says:

    Yes, I too agree she is gifted & with training will become a super star. Love listening to her.

  • Grant Mallett says:

    Laura is a very impressive young woman with great talent with a wonderful personality and she is an inspiration to all of us. But she is young, and she has much to learn, and she needs guidance of a skilled and sympathetic teacher. Without this, I am afraid she might burn out, or at least fail to master the short comings that have been apparent in her wonderful performances. Stepping off the stage, getting out of the spotlight for a couple of years might be the best thing that can happen to her. It will give her a chance to mature, and learn some of the things that she needs to know. I wish her the best and hope to see her around but then I am deeply biased. Her performance was my favorite performance on AGT.