Katherine Jenkins: ‘I take out the bits that make people feel uneasy or excluded’

The popular mezzo-soprano, soon to sing at ENO though she has never held the stage in a full opera, defines what it is she does in a Scottish interview today:

 

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‘To me it means somebody who’s had training in the classical world so can operate in that space, but who also has an interest in making the genre more popular and accessible. I think it’s a mixture of commercial opportunities with classical training, and being able to do concerts of both style…

‘‘Crossover’ gives the idea of spanning two genres and I think that’s what it is. It’s spanning classical and pop…

‘I think it’s about taking out the bits that make people feel uneasy or excluded, and making it feel very accessible. Letting people go to concerts or access opera performances, for example, where ticket prices are hugely expensive, and doing them sometimes in pop venues.’

So now we know.

More here.

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  • “‘I think it’s about taking out the bits that make people feel uneasy or excluded, and making it feel very accessible. Letting people go to concerts or access opera performances, for example, where ticket prices are hugely expensive, and doing them sometimes in pop venues.’”

    I’d be interested to know if £6 tickets are available for her concerts…

  • ‘I think it’s about taking out the bits that make people feel uneasy or excluded’

    Generation Snowflake strikes again.

    As Charles Ives once said: ‘Stand up and use your ears like a man!’

  • I agree wholeheartedly with the interview. I assume the bits she intends to take out are those in which she’s supposed to sing. A perfectly acceptable performance then.

  • So opera and classical music “need to be reframed as non-elitist activities”?

    Only as long as the ignorant keep calling them that.

  • As often happens, in the cause of protecting people from so-called elitism, and presenting herself as a solution, she’s actually reinforcing the prejudice.

    She might not call herself an opera singer, but references to her (hardly unique) humble origins and the Royal Academy of Music (which course, exactly?) are never far away.

    She’s not even close to being the first to take bits of opera outside the opera house, but readers of her promotions might be forgiven for thinking so.

  • What excactly are “the bits that make people feel uneasy or excluded”? The high notes? Anything in 6/8? Pieces in 6/8 make me feel quite uneasy.

    • I’ve been a lover and player of classical music for most of my life, and for me, the things that make me feel uneasy or excluded in any live event I’ve gone to have always been the other audience members. They sneer over either the absence of youngsters, or else complain about their presence, the first thing they talk about when you try to strike up a conversation about them is their summer home or their boat, they can’t talk for three seconds without sneaking in a crack about how very disgusting and low-class popular music and culture is and how it’s just awful that their local symphony played a soundtrack concert last month what is the world coming to, and they always always always make some sort of faux-angst-filled comment about how they very much hope that no one is so uncultured as to applaud at the wrong time!

      If Jenkins excludes people like that from her concerts — and it sounds like she’s managing it well — then that alone should be a big help.

      The music is never the problem. The audience is the problem.

      • Strange, I’ve been doing both for decades, including several as a student with a very un-metropolitan accent, and I have never encountered examples of the crude stereotypes you describe, or been on the receiving end of any slights.

        I must have been astonishingly lucky.

          • Well I don’t see why my experience over many years should differ significantly from the norm. And “encountered” can include comments directed at others.

            Your generalisations are so jaundiced, I can’t help doubting your motivation in posting this.

        • I spent a year in Vienna going to all sorts of serious music performances in 2011 and never encountered such a problem with Viennese audiences, except the occasional non-Viennese talking through performances or locals having their mobiles ringing. The children who went were impeccably dressed and extremely well behaved (like seasoned audiences members) and general audience were friendly and helpful without being intrusive.

      • What a very peculiar set of audiences you’ve encountered. In 25 years of concert-going I’ve only once or twice ever heard anything like that.

      • Your comment following generalised disinformation and untruths spread,(unwittingly perhaps?), by an uninformed singer is a perfect echo of the article. You are as uninformed,(or just dishonest?) about concert experience as the singer is about ticket prices, “accessibility” and “exclusion.”

        Or, if i’m completely mistaken and you do really attract the sort of person you mention as a typical concertgoer like a magnet, the malady is grave and everyone should feel deeply sorry for you. At least i’m unlikely to cross your path; i’ve never encountered such caricatures in a lifetime of concert & opera going.

  • ‘Letting people go to concerts or access opera performances, for example, where ticket prices are hugely expensive, and doing them sometimes in pop venues.’

    Ticket prices at the Mayflower in December: £30 to £52.

    But at Liverpool you can get a £175 ‘meet and greet’ package (include £15 booking fee). Oh yes, certainly bringing not-opera to the masses.

  • Tickets for her next performance in Southend-on-Sea, no less, start at £33. Absolutely outrageous and symptomatic of this post-truth world in which we apparently now live that KJ can simultaneously lie about the financial accessibility of her performances (we all know that opera tickets these days start at much lower than £33, even in the top venues in the world) and reinforce false stereotypes that are harmful to the artform to which she owes what little training she has. Theatres and orchestras around the world have to pour £££ into eduction simply as an antidote to the poison spouted by the likes of KJ. Disgraceful.

    • I’ve always found KJ – on the few occasions I’ve seen her on TV – to be polite, professional and poised. Her singing leaves me cold, certainly, but there’s a market for her brand as Andre Rieu can surely testify. Let the people have their music and let them think it’s high art; I don’t feel particularly annoyed about any of that. Isn’t it a love of music which counts rather that the type we think they SHOULD like.

      Too much of a dictatorial and censorious nature being enforced today by the Thought and Taste Police. And it’s leaving a bad taste in my mouth!!

  • You have to be a certain age before you achieve the Voice of Operatic Ability. Katherine is a Tenor ,& had has been Training,Elocution,Speech etc She is working on Becoming a Opera Singer.I’ve been enjoying her Immensely efor Years. I think she’s a Fabulous Talented Entertainer. People shouldn’t compare her. Even Andre Bocelli is Fabulous,he Also is a Tenor Talented almost Operatic Singer who’s Fantastic.

  • “I took out the boring parts….I know just how many notes my audience will stand for. If there’s any time left over, I fill in with a lot of runs up and down the scale.”

    Liberace

    • No, actually Liberace was the very incarnation of boring and anodyne!! But people imbibed his product sufficiently that he became a very very rich man.

  • Look, she makes a terrible argument, especially when she talks about ticket prices- ticket prices for classical performance are indeed significantly cheaper than they are for equivalent rock/pop. I’ve never heard this woman sing either, although she seems to inspire a great deal of loathing on this site. But so-called ‘crossover’ is the hideous bastard child of classical music’s arrogance and snobbery, I’m through with that word ‘elitism’. So stop complaining, you did this.

  • Personally, when I was younger, I avoided expensive concerts dominated by wealthy public school and older audiences with their absurd dress codes and obscure behavioural rules. I couldn’t afford the prices and I couldn’t stand the pomposity and snobbery and I couldn’t afford to dress “properly”. I preferred something much more welcoming, working class, and affordable where you could dress however you liked. I went to the opera.

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