Who slew Angel Jackie?

Who slew Angel Jackie?


norman lebrecht

January 06, 2017

When we first reported the rise of child star Jackie Evancho, we were besieged by hundreds of commenters proclaiming that hers was a divine voice, a gift of God, transcending mortal criticism.

Those voices have gone notably silent since Jackie signed on to sing at the inauguration of President Trump.

We miss them.

Perhaps she does, too.

Who will speak up for the Angel?


  • Robin Bermanseder says:

    What a leading and slightly perilous question, Norman!

    Here are my comments off the cuff – a more considered response would take some time.

    1. Jackie’s fan community is alive and well, and continues to evolve. Fan clubs are stratified over Facebook, on-line Forums, and custom blogs, and range from the almost worshipful to the derogatory.

    2. Comments relating to ‘angelic’ properties still occur, mainly by newcomers who have recently discovered her. That response appears to be a natural reaction to her voice (particularly from ages 10 to 12). Her long-time fans are more interested in her evolving voice, how she overcomes difficulties, and how her song writing skills are coming along.

    3. That Opera thing.. Most fans facepalm at that description, just as folk here do. We all know that Jackie is not an Opera singer, but the popular media gets stuck on such things. Even Jackie appears to have given up correcting them.

    4. The patriarchs of Jackie’s fan community remember SD well, including the skirmishes.
    SD is no longer on the recommended reading list for new fans. Why invite bother?
    I hope that can change, with maturing attitudes on both sides. There are interesting points of philosophy, musicology, differences in taste and critical opinion that could (maybe should) be discussed here.

    Should I go on?

  • C. Squarcialupi says:

    The decline in her popularity can be shown in her concert fees. After America’s Got Talent, she was getting $150K and more for a concert. Today she averages $40K per concert. Still big money compared to many, but a long way from a few years ago. Hope she saved her money.

    • Tom says:

      For a good amount of time, she doesn’t get a meaningful portion of those fees.

    • Alexander says:

      $40,000 is £32,605, which is probably between three and six times what a singer will be paid per performance at one of the world’s finest opera houses, and reportedly around ten times what a singer will be paid per performance at ENO or Glyndebourne. Not a singer, but worth mentioning that it was reported a few years ago that Anne-Sophie Mutter was offering London orchestras a significant discount on her usual fee when she gave three concerts for a total of £30,000. As is reported in the case of Jackie Evancho, those artists will also lose a significant proportion of that fee to their agent and in expenses. The only classical artists who will be earning more than Jackie Evancho would be people of the calibre/celebrity of artists such as Gustavo Dudamel (a reliable source tells me that he earns €50,000 per concert) or Yo-Yo Ma (who allegedly charges close to $100,000 per concert, but I’m not sure whether anybody knows that for certain). I imagine that she is earning at least as much as (and possibly twice as much as) artists such as Karita Mattila, Renée Fleming, Joyce DiDonato, or Deborah Voigt.

      • Alexander says:

        PS. I do understand that Jackie Evancho is getting fees for concerts rather than opera roles, and that concerts do tend to pay more. Is it true that Angela Gheorghiu gets €200,000 for a single concert? That sounds unbelievable. However, I do appreciate that Jackie Evancho’s fees may be roughly the same as concert fees for some top opera singers. Of course, the difference is that Jackie Evancho has a career based solely on concert performances, whereas an opera singer has to earn most of his or her income from operas in order to achieve the experience and status necessary to give concerts for higher fees. For a 16-year-old to be earning $40,000 for one performance is absolutely extraordinary. The artists I have mentioned (e.g. Karita Mattila, Renée Fleming, Joyce DiDonato, Deborah Voigt, Angela Gheorghiu, and I could add Cecilia Bartoli) are the most talented in the world and have had to work for decades (initially for barely enough money to live on) to reach their current position.

        • Una says:

          And then Voigt et al have to put away or invest some of that money when they stop singing at 55+ for their living or when they have a problem like Jonas Kauffman, unable to sing and keeping his family too. As for Evancho, well what can I say without upsetting the fans! But perhaps she’ll be like Welsh Charlotte Church here. She’ll have made her money, and then burn herself out by the time she’s 18 or 20 max, or in a supermarket trolley drunk outside her mother’s door on her 21st … All pretty grim whichever way you look at the outcome.

          • Frederick West says:

            This all sounds rather snobbish. The Welsh girl doesn’t seem to have crashed and burned after all, still making a very tidy income even now. And I presume that the ‘proper’ singers must have some sort of financial management, maybe even insurance, against unforeseen circumstances. I’m sure that Charlotte Church isn’t unique in being a 21 year old who has been trolleyed. Try any city or town centre on a Saturday night.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Er…you have grossly over-estimated the fees. If Gheorghiu charged £200,000 for a concert then each ticket would have to cost £1,000 each to cover her fee — so not true. She may suggest £200,000 if you are an oligarch and want her to sing at your birthday party, or fly to China for a concert, but this isn’t an actual fee that would be paid for regular concert in Europe.

        Similarly, Dudamel doesn’t ordinary charge $50,000 for a concert. This might be the price for something like the Viennese New Year concert, but that comes with record sales and is broadcast on television across much of the world. But is not the price he charges when he conducts the Berlin Phil (he might get something close if he conducts three or more). The pot of money that is generated by ticket sales (and government subsidy) just isn’t big enough to pay that kind of fee for each concert.

  • Robin Bermanseder says:

    And there it is.
    No point continuing.

  • P. Lazar says:

    sale of albums of classical music in particular and album sales all genera have declined abruptly over JME’s career, and she has been caught in that. That also affects concert tickets. A few pop stars actually account for most album sales. For what it’s worth, JME has been the top sellling classical soprano and no less than the #7 classical performer in sales per billboard over all for 5 consecutive years.

  • Vivian Bee says:

    I never want to hear about her again! As far as I’m concerned her career can flush itself right down the Trump toilet. She just became a nobody to me!

    • Una says:

      Maybe not in those words but well said … it’s all manufactured to a fault at such a young age.

    • Tony Perry says:

      And I’m sure Jackie will miss you terribly. She’s probably sobbing into her pillow right now.

    • donkey says:

      She sang for Obama too. He was a terrible president, but it wasnt political, it was just singing for the office. The fact that you cant separate the two says a lot more about you than Jackie. Besides, even if she did support him…so did America….he’s president. Nothing wrong with that. You intolerance is incredible.

  • Steve P says:

    You people are poisonous. Karma is going to be painful reckoning.

    • Alexander says:

      Who is actually saying anything poisonous?

      • Steve P says:

        Schadenfreude seems to be a common thread amongst folks here regarding anything that appears to be in line with liberal desires. This glee is a primary reason why libs and their establishment cronies continue to underestimate the ill will being sown with each cheer over the perceived misfortune of others, especially when it supports the party line.

        • Alexander says:

          I honestly don’t see the Schadenfreude here. “You people” suggests readers/commenters, not just Norman Lebrecht himself.

  • Stephen Runnels says:

    “Who slew Angel Jackie?” haha, Norman. Two things: First, you seem to have decided that the subject of Jackie Evancho had run its course on your blog, even though we are still proclaiming that hers was a divine voice, a gift of God, transcending mortal criticism. Second, those who disparage Jackie are mostly Republicans and conservatives who are still incensed over their Party, and voters that made the orange one President, not Jackie fans. Jackie fans, true Jackie supporters, both Liberal and conservative, would never ever lecture, chastise, threaten, blackmail, or coerce Jackie Evancho. We love and respect her as a singer, and as an artist who has decided to sing the National Anthem for her country, and for the estimated billion people worldwide tuning in for the inauguration. There are, unfortunately, some who think Jackie will be singing for Trump. Whatever. For apolitical Jackie, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity that has nothing to do with Trump.

    We are not silent, Norman. We are elsewhere. We are where people show Jackie the respect she deserves. Miss us? You know what to do.

  • R. Hamilton says:

    As to the politics, there may exist those who were reasonable people notwithstanding having voted for either candidate; and there were more than a few that held their noses whichever they voted for (both were clearly flawed). Given all the artists that are so eager to be political, it’s refreshing for there to be at least a few that aren’t, esp. among those who have appeared at various more or less civic events or contexts on a number of prior occasions (national anthem for professional league sports games, national holiday PBS specials, National Christmas Tree lighting, National Prayer Breakfast, both of the latter having the present occupant – of the opposite party as the incoming – present).

    As to “angel”, hopefully there were few indeed that took it literally. And perhaps the rest of Jackie’s fans (which indeed still exist, if elsewhere than here) that used the term, have (if with varying reluctance) come to appreciate it that it does a teenager no good to be characterized in such a manner; if their behavior was set early, it will continue, and if not, they’d be more inclined to rebel given such a label.

    And as to commenting here, this is the residence of some who view themselves as staunch defenders of the orthodoxy of the classical. Jackie is NOT a classical singer, regardless of a portion of her repertoire. Some of her fans who, commenting here, rush immoderately to her defense, may perhaps have realized they do her no service by overreacting here, and either left for less prescriptive/proscriptive discussion elsewhere, or limited their patronage of this site to topics better suited to the resident expertise.

    • Tony Perry says:

      Jackie’s response to those overzealous fans who have put her on a pedestal for the past 7 years is made very clear in her new song, “Pedestal” on her new album, “Two Hearts.”

  • Carlos Martinez says:

    What the hell is your obsession with Jackie Evancho? Is it simply to drive hits to this place? As you have pointed out she is the most commented person in this website. She is not an opera singer we get that. We also get that you do not like her. Whatever, why don’t you focus your efforts on promoting those singers that in your opinion deserve it and stop trying to ridicule a young singer which is still learning and making her way in the music business.

  • Stephen Atkinson says:

    Yep, dead like a door nail. Two more number 1 albums in 6 months, and a pretty nice gig at the Cafe Carlyle. You should read her reviews. Then go back and read the stuff from 6 years ago about how her voice would blow out any time now.

  • Carter S. says:

    I am sure that we all can remember back when we were 16-18 years old and we had gotten our drivers license and got that enormous feeling of freedom. We also can remember when we had our first person that we had real love feelings for and maybe we had a real hard falling out with that person or not, well now add 4 more things onto these 2 normal things of growing up and you have Jackie’s so called normal life as she has known it. She has had a singing career at the very young age of 8 years old and hit stardom at 10 on AGT along with a recording career with her last album at 17 years old if I am correct. This is # 3 in her difference between a normal persons life. Next she has her Older sister coming out with the complete support of her family and then outwardly supporting the LGBT rights in being able to use the bath room of their sexual preference at that time in their life. Janette has gone through a lot of ridicule over this item in her short time after coming out and Jackie has fought extremely hard for her sister in all of the things that should have never been an issue but we as society have made it into such a big thing. This is # 3 in Jackie’s List. This has gone all the way up to the White House and with Candidate Donald Trump and then President Trump not supporting the LGBT Bathroom issue then waffling and wiggling out with a very middle of the road statement. Next there was no one to sing our National Anthem at his inauguration and Jackie was approached to sing it and she accepted the Honor as she has always put it. This has caused a real rift in her Fan Base but it will take time to see where this Fan Base will level out and Jackie herself makes a design in what direction that she wants to take her Carrier in. As you know that this is the first winter that we have not had a Concert from her all over the world since her AGT Stardom at age 10.
    I hope that all of this quick rising to Stardom at such a very young age will not have taken her to such a High Pedestal as the song that she has written states. Yes she maybe should take a Sabbatical from her Singing Career to see if this is really what she wants to do for her self. There is a saying that I have always gone by; You can work and make a lot of money doing what brings that big paycheck. Then you can do what you really love to do where you cannot wait to get back to the place that you do what you love. So if this is the way that you feel about your real way of making money then “You Are Being Paid To Play”! My way of making my money is a constant time in playing in the sand box as a kid if you can relate to this statement. I have been Playing for over 30 years and I hope that Jackie takes a very smart person that knew in my life. That person was my father. He had a very profound statement. to most of his College Prep students, If you want to really want to pursue a degree in a Liberal Arts Collage and you feel like you are a little burned out then take a year off and go work to see if a Collage Degree is really what you want. Then there are the ones that have to keep on playing in that Sand Box and cannot wait to get back into the class room.
    We as fans of Jackie’s hope that she will keep on wowing us with her perfect pitch God Given Voice but we also do not want to see her go the way that a lot of child stars have gone in the past. We do not wan to see Jackie to go that way from Burn Out and to much money and freedom. I hope that she has listened to her Parents Michael and Lisa and to the person that has been managing her money. I hope that it has been properly taken cared of for her. This money has to be able to support her for the rest of her life because it may not be there for as long as you think depending on where Jackie’s Carrier could go in.
    Thank you for listing to my thoughts and in sites to where other child stars have gone in.

    • Tony Perry says:

      Carter S, the falsehood about Jackie being the last choice to sing the Anthem has been going around for a long time. I attended her concert in Tyler, TX on Jan. 21, 2017, the day after the inauguration. The woman who manages the Cowan Center told the audience during her intro of Jackie that a few days after she had signed Jackie (in the spring of 2016) she was contacted by Donald Trump. He wanted to “borrow” Jackie to sing the Anthem if he won the presidency. This would harm attendance at the concert, because Jackie would be in D.C. for several days instead of in Texas publicizing the concert on radio and TV. She agreed to “lend” Jackie to Trump, knowing what an honor it would be for her. So there is no truth to the claim that Trump chose her because he couldn’t get anyone else. She was his first and only choice.

      • doneky says:

        Actually, Jackie has talked about this. Leftie lib singers were refusing to sing at Trump’s inaugeration, so Jackie’s agent called and said she’d do it if he wanted, and he said sure. So Jackie reached out to Trump, not the other way around.

  • Mark says:

    Many people have teared up at Jackie’s singing. If you look at ” Queen of the North” which is a reaction site on YouTube wherein you can watch a casual reaction to music videos, it is clear that that young English woman who tears up at Jackie singing “Pie Jesu ” is sincerely moved. It may be that those of us who are moved by her singing are simply indulging ourselves, just as easily could be tearing up at sentimental movies.
    I think the truncated analysis of bel canto voice,which has appeared on YouTube, points out that a particular quality of bel canto – which is to mesmerize the listener with a beautiful sound – is evident in her voice.
    Who knows? Her popularity could be quite transitory and linked to Democratic Party hopefulness.