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August 12, 2010

For better or worse, 10-year-old 'opera singer' Jackie Evancho's got talent

I'm not sure what to make of the latest phenom from the America's Got Talented Idols or whatever it is, but 10-year-old Jackie Evancho of Pittsburgh certainly caught my attention with her curiously mature-sounding account of "O mio babbino caro" from Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi."

(Not that I watch shows like "America's Got Talent"  -- I'm far too elitist for that, as you know, more likely to be found at snotty opera houses munching on Cheetos and guzzling Mountain Dew, as Glenn Beck would have it. I simply couldn't avoid all the references to the amazing Jackie whenever I came across any half-newsy Web page, so I finally clicked on a link to see what the fuss was all about.)

I hear that some folks have been accusing the soprano-in-training of lip-syncing, and I've got to say that was my first impression, too, both from the sound coming out and what seemed like very little movement in her mouth and throat as she sang. But everyone swears this is for real -- I've attached the clip below -- so I'll happily go along and give her snaps. (Besides, didn't we all just read that American girls are reaching puberty earlier than ever? Maybe this is just a powerful affirmation of that.)

I'll give snaps as well to

"The Phantom of the Opera," which, Jackie says, was the inspiration for her to start singing opera (I always thought that show was more likely to drive people away from opera). What I did find curious during the video lead-in to her performance for the judges was the brief snippet of her singing scales -- that was not quite the same sort of focused sound that subsequently emerged from her during the aria (I don't know how old those clips are, though).

Oh well. I don't want to let my cynical gene dominate. If that was, indeed, all Jackie Evancho delivering one of Puccini's best loved tunes (abbreviated, of course, to fit the ADD of today's TV audience), great for her. And great for a TV show to have made room for a little operatic detour from all those dreadful, wailing, crowd-rousing imitators of real pop/rock/soul/etc. singers.

I liked the way Jackie demonstrated that she had learned something about sensitive phrasing, including little touches of rubato, and I liked the way she carefully rolled each 'r' in the Italian text. A bit of wavering on the low notes made her sound like a little girl, after all (the aria was transposed down); the top register was quite pretty, and nicely on pitch. The singer could use some new facial expressions and might want to cut back on the head-shaking and rote gestures.

But this assumes she wants to go the distance and be a fully, classically trained vocal artist someday. Maybe she just wants to have fun and entertain people, maybe even become the American version of Charlotte Church. That's OK, too. (I'm trying to suppress a shudder.) Jackie's got plenty of time to figure things out, if TV fame doesn't rush in with a vengeance. The exploitation possibilities for this kid are frightening.

It's worth remembering that the late Beverly Sills was wowing 'em when she was 10, so this is not a totally unknown kind of talent. It still stands out, though, maybe more so in a world as generally uncouth as ours.

Posted by Tim Smith at 8:19 AM | | Comments (59)


I don't know that all the phrasing was particularly sensitive. I was bothered by the overly long (and unnervingly identical each time!) pause on high. At those points she sounded like she was parroting.

That's what I get for trying to be kind. I agree, the second time was way too much. But I thought it was better than just zipping through it. TIM

She's 10.....

My goodness, any critic here should be ashamed.

I agree with Bella. Just for once, how bout' you critics do the right thing and shut-up!!!!! Just shut up and enjoy this child and the music she sings before the business and advertising world corrupts her and her parents with money and we get flooded with advertisements. To the critics: "We sure don't need to be offended with your paltry opinions…Keep them to yourself” Redundancy follows here, crude and to the point...Critics; Just shut up and keep your mouths closed and your pens idle. I, for one, am nauseous of your verbal farts, oral diarrhea and drivel!!!!!

I agree with the previous comment.

The girl is ONLY 10 and a phenomenal talent. And, by all appearances, a very nice little girl, too.

Can we just appreciate her astounding gift and wait a few years before starting to kick her around on the fine points?

And a second comment.

I was stunned to see the nature of the "review" of this youngster's performance.

First thought from the critic: a general put down of the masses who have nothing better to do than watch this show.

Second: "folks have been accusing the soprano-in-training of lip-syncing, and I've got to say that was my first impression, too, both from the sound coming out and what seemed like very little movement in her mouth and throat as she sang. But everyone swears this is for real -- I've attached the clip below -- so I'll happily go along and giver her snaps."

So: "the little girl may be a liar, but I'll give her a pass for the moment."

Third: quick discussion of her sexual maturity.

You know, when I was prompted to watch the video by an article on Yahoo News, my first thought was, "Oh my God, what a wonderful gift. And what a precious little girl."

I then spent a few minutes looking at her many other videos that have been posted on YouTube for years. I did it just to learn more about her, but that simple exercise would have led any fair observer (and competent critic) not to question the integrity of this 10-year old girl. But, for this critic, why waste time searching for the truth when one can give credence to a baseless accusation?

I will admit this youngster and her astounding talent and her charming, innocent demeanor brought tears to my eyes. I invited everyone in my office to listen to one or two videos and all of them were similarly amazed.

It may surprise the critic, but some of us have actually had season tickets for the opera and have heard the likes of Luciano Pavarotti in person. But, even so, I guess we may still be considered part of the "unwashed".

But fundamentally, I wonder why anyone whom I would guess would profess to be lover of music and art would not be moved as we were. Why would he prefer to respond as he did, with a sneer and with ugly comments aimed at a 10-year old girl... and with barely a nod to her incredible gift?

There was a time when "classical" music was commonly performed by amateurs in their homes for the pleasure of family members and friends. We complain that classical music is dying a slow death and is only appreciated by few, maily "over the hill" people. Here we have a very talented 10 year old girl with great potential, moving thousands if not millions of people with Puccini and some are criticizing her! We should be celebrating her gift and the fact that millions in a Pop culture setting have enjoyed some operatic music. Heaven forbid--it was not flawlessly sung! Maybe this perfectionistic attitude is one of the factors turning people off to classical music.

She does what every pop singer does when they try to sing opera: she gasps loudly for breath because she does not know how to breathe properly, which ruins a performance that is fine in many other ways. (That's how you know she is not lip-synching--no professional opera singer would breathe like that.)

That said, she is only 10 years old and obviously a tremendous talent! I hope she continues singing and gets some good training to develop (and protect!) her very fine voice.

There was a newsclip that said her parents had reached out to Christina Aguilera for advice. What kind of parents would do that? There are plenty of other artists they could reach out to, why one of the trashiest stars in America? I fear what this kid will be pressured to turn into 6 years from now with parents like that.

Wow, someone sure does like to hear himself talk doesn't he? You are one critic who is obviously so caught up in his own failures that he has to tear down a CHILD who has more talent in her little finger than you have in your entire body. this 10 YEAR old little girl has an amazing vocal range. Any reporter who took half a second to investigate this child would know that yes it is in fact her singing. It is also obvious as her breathing is not yet perfected. She still breathes like someone who lacks proper vocal training. This is something that will come in time. There was no need to tear down this little girl. No need at all, I cannot see how you can sleep at night. Can you get anymore pompous? I think not!

Hey Tim,

Good catch on the rolled 'r' in the Italian, but like your Beck bashing, you are off base. The word 'caro' does not have a rolled 'r'. I love it when "Intellectuals" don't know what they are talking about

maybe she's gasping for breath because she's not huge like charlotte church or any of the "mature" singers. like how much breath can you hold in that little frame?

For those critical of Tim's comments - would you encourage this girl to study opera or to become the next pop diva? She is probably going to have to make that choice at some point.

If she chooses to sing popular music, this is good exposure and will help start her career.

But if she chooses to pursue opera, there is much hard work ahead and this appearance - and what people say about it - will make little difference.

I wish her luck either way.

1. Just because a 10-year-old is singing a soprano aria now is no guarantee that she would be a soprano in later life. When puberty hits and finishes, she may well be an outstanding, grounded contralto for all we know.

2. Early musical success at a high (or impressive) level is no guarantee that a performer will have longevity in the biz, for a variety of reasons. The techniques used to coach pre-pubescent and early-pubescent girls into making these sounds is fundamentally different (all head voice at this point with no core whatsoever, and that type of sound will NEVER cut an orchestra without amplification) than coaching/teaching a female voice at the age of late teens through the rest of her career. Jackie is utilizing "cover" to artificially darken, artificially mature, and focus her sound in the aria's performance. Which differs from mature sopranos that have naturally fuller, darker timbres (Regine Crespin, Anna Netrebko, Pilar Lorengar, for example).

3. Joe, the word 'caro' doesn't have an extended, rolled 'r', but no singer worth their salt would sing it as a retroflex American 'r'. Proper diction requires that the 'r' in 'caro' is flipped.

4. Sally, even world-class opera pros onstage will breathe audibly, occasionally. There have been times when in the audience, where we could watch a singer "wind up" for the breath, and you *know* that their fellow castmates standing nearby heard the inhalation. I've been onstage, and I've heard it, as well as given audible breaths of my own in between phrases. Yes, we're trained against it, but it happens. Particularly when self-conscious, or stage fright kicks in, or you're singing with a very live mic. If you've ever wondered why some pop singers sway away from a stand mic or turn away from a hand-held mic before starting a phrase, now you know why. In Jackie's case, I suspect that it is either nerves that brought on the audible breathing, or possibly she hasn't been adequately coached in breath support. But considering that pros even struggle with that, it's not such a big deal to me in relation to Jackie's performance.

I don't jump up and down ecstatically when I hear vocal performances like this from pre-pubescent children. The entire exercise in having a 10-year-old sing an aria for critique or reward is to compare a child doing something a mature or young adult would do--which sets a horrible precedence from a sociological standpoint. Even if the act is as "benign" as singing an aria. Puccini wrote the character of Lauretta as a girl in her teens--not a 10-year-old. From a technical standpoint, if Jackie is planning on a long-term career goal of being an opera singer, there are a lot of bad habits that are being purposely taught to her that will have to be unlearned later. Add to that the risks of exploitation of the obvious talent that she *does* have.

I'm sorry, folks, but I cannot be happy or "ecstatic" about this. I don't feel the arts are in such lack of support that we have to resort to desperation in looking for things to applaud.

Back to my Parterre and Cheetos.

I think a lot of people here are taking Tim's remarks, and themselves, far too seriously. He's a music critic, for goodness sake. As a critic, he didn't even need to give this kid the time of day, and he hardly would have been credible if he had just given her blind, blanket praise. He acknowledges that it's a pretty voice, and points out the good and the bad. And he never accuses her of lip synching, only points out that's what others are thinking. In fact, he was so astonished by the voice that for a moment he thought it was unbelievable--that's a testament to her talent, I think, not a slam. He concludes with a reference to Beverly Sills--not a direct comparison, but to be mentioned in the same article is high praise, nonetheless.

I did happen to watch several of Jackie's YouTube clips this morning, while I was waiting out the storms. And you know what? I heard some beautiful sounds, but I also heard unevenness and seriously questionable pitches in the lower registers (listen to the Pittsburgh Pirates/National Anthem performance). I too was surprised that a 10-year-old could be so gifted, and noted the difference between this clip and her others. I just assumed she practiced real hard, and maybe had the benefit of some audio enhancements, as is sometimes the case with these TV shows. She's adorable, gifted and interesting, but she was wooden, looked overly coached, and she didn't melt my heart. And that's ok with me---because she's 10! the end of the day, I don't care how old or young you are, whether you're professional or amateur, if you're on a national stage, one must be prepared for critiques of all kinds. In the grand scheme, this critique was quite mild. I think people who are marching to this kid's defense need to lighten up.

The anonymous quote above at 3:16 PM was from me.

I had to come back with one point: anyone who views this (even myself) needs to be aware of the difference between supporting any talented 10-year-old who is interested in the arts, versus the actions of said 10-year-old's parents, teachers, coaches, handlers, etc. I believe that Jackie has talent, and that her desire to sing is just fine and should be supported. I don't think this is the best route to encouraging any 10-year-old's interest in classical music. And Jackie, as an articulate 10-year-old, cannot be held responsible for the decisions that others have made around her, for her, in terms of the technical training she is receiving or the venues that her handlers/parents/coaches are booking for her.

view and hear Maria Callas, O Mio Babbino Caro sing on youtube. I hear her breathing in the clip. Give the singers a break---we all need air.

She is 10 and she has the voice of an angel. Somehow this point has escaped this ridiculous critic. I prefer that her voice wavered at times and that she took noticeable deep breaths. I suspect that this was because she is 10 and was dealing with some nerves.

But what was so touching was that this was singing in its purest and most unadulterated form. One could see that she felt the music and enjoyed singing. I pray that she does not allow critics such as this one to crush her into the mold of the opera singers before her. A world where one MUST gesture with certain gestures, have facial expressions on cue and reverb at preciously the right time. STOP THE MADNESS!!

Let her sing the way the music and her heart leads her to sing. Her voice is a gift, enjoy it like you would any other gift. And let this socially immature critic continue to walk as an outsider among the musical elite whom he thinks appreciate his critiquing.

Rodney, I ask this in all seriousness, when was the last time you saw an opera? Who was in it, and what was it a performance of?

Intellectual troll!

She may not be lip synching, but this certainly is hard on her vocal chords. People generally shouldn't begin singing opera arias until they are in their late teens. If you start out singing this young you are risking learning wrong techniques that will be hard to adjust when your voice changes (girls voice deepen too, although significantly less than boys) not to mention for someone this young this is straining their vocal chords immensely and can cause permanent damage.

Thank you, Mr. Smith, for your honest - yet wittily phrased - take on this child. There is a talent there, but she's unlikely to have a voice by age 14 if she continues in this way.

As for the anonymous clods who trash you - well, in the first place, if they had any integrity at all, they'd sign their full real names. They don't have any integrity at all, so they hide behind first names or screen names.

How about demonstrating that you have the courage of your convictions, folks? If you're going to insult the man who puts his name and face out there every day, isn't that the least you owe us?

In the second place, they're really not concerned with quality or considerations of what makes for good singing. They are simply demanding affirmation of their own tastes - and they'll try to scream you down if you don't provide it.

Hang in there!

Joe is dead wrong, Tim is right. The Italian word, "caro" does indeed have a rolled "R" when pronounced correctly. I love it when pseudo intellectuals don't know what they're talking about.

goddamn WHAT do people see in Babbino Caro and Nessun Dorma. Effing overkill. Im beginning to miss the Largo al Factotum parodies...

It's really pretty simple. She is an amazing artist or an amazing actor.

What George said.

When I saw the video I got goose bumps - after her performance, one of the judges asked to sing a quick phrase so it could be shown that she was not lipsynching.

My only concern is that her paretns and family keep her and her family life as normal as possible.

If she truly sees herself as an opera singer, shouldn't her parents be looking for an opera singer to help her? Even Ms. Aguilar must be seeing it that was as well or at least helping to point her in that direction.

And thank you for mentioning that Beverly Sills was 10 years old when she started "singing opera". I did not know that; and so the true ability is there at that age!

Isn't it plain to see that this child is quite simply a gift from GOD to us all, and that given time and grace she should be around long enough for the critics to kick her in the shins a few times. She is just a child and this performance was simply beautiful. Any criticism of this performance is just plain nasty and rude.

Remember when those little girls danced to Boyonce's "Single Ladies"?? Yeah, well thankfully there are girls who have some class and talent and don't dress like hookers.
Good for Jackie. Let's hope she retains her integrity and poise in the wave of celebrity that is sure to come.
It was great to see REAL talent is finally being showcased on that show,

My husband photographed this young lady at opening day of Pirates baseball. Her voice teacher is a friend of ours and says that she is a natural singer and is just amazed at what comes from this small child.

We have reviewed this several times here at the radio station and all agree that is for real (you can hear her drawing breath thru the mike - a recorded piece would have edited those flaws out)....

When I showed this to a Buddhist friend of mine - she immediately said "she's an old soul". Do some research on that - it will explain a lot of what's being discussed about her age, etc., etc.

To each his own - I give her mucho kudos - she's quite a gal - tho I'm afraid her childhood is going to be the sacrificial lamb of all this attention.....and that's sad.

This girl has a beautiful voice. And I do look forward to seeing what she will be doing in another 10 years. However, I do also fear for her vocal health. I am currently a vocal performance major at a University and while I was very impressed by Jackie, I can also hear how she is shaping the sound to make it more mature, and shaking her jaw to create vibrato which is supposed to occur naturally in an older singer. For her own safety I hope that she finds a new voice teacher who has her working on more age-appropriate music so she does not find herself without a voice in 10 years.

You are being unjustly overly critical. She was outstanding.

I always love to hear viewpoints like all of these. This little jewel of a child had the same effect on me as when I saw Sarah Brightman in concert. The tears streamed down my face as I marveled at the talent and the delightfulness of the performer.

How could anyone can't fault parents for producing such an extraordinary young lady? We can only pray that Jackie remains as sweet and delightful as she seems today.

Idol is not a show I watch either. When someone extraordinary is brought to my attention, I will then catch the video of that particular performance.

Florence Foster-Jenkins* gives me goosebumps, produces a pronounced emotional reaction, and makes me cry**. My reactions alone indicate that Florence Foster-Jenkins is an artistic wonder, one that will bring enrichment to lives of all who hear--thusly cementing a place in the highest realms of vocal immortality.

And shouldn't all children be considered gifts from God (for those who believe in a deity)--not just those who make appearances on America's Got Talent?

Anyone else get my points?

*In place of Florence Foster-Jenkins, feel free to insert any of the following: fingernails on a blackboard, Rolando Villazon's voice cracking onstage, Simone Kermes, the average undergrad tenor's master-class performance of "Una furtiva lagrima", anyone who announces that "La Boheme" takes place in Spain

**Crying stemming from laughter, in Florence's and Simone's cases alone, although the occasional undergrad performance of "Una" elicits quiet snorts and snickers from the audience

As a singer and a vocal teacher I was very interested in hearing this child perform. Coming from an old school of thought that stresses that you do not develop a voice until at least the age of 14 I will add my opinion as I see how her development is taking place. I feel the talent is very much there. But her teachers and coaches have rounded and covered her sound to make her a mature sound, which is totally a non 10 year old voice.Her weight in her voice was so heavy that there was totally different quality from the bottom to the top register. I wish as a teacher to see her lighten up her middle range uncovered the hooting adult fake sound that is being produced by her teachers and concentrate pure bel canto lyrico art sounds that will ease up the burden that has been taught her. She is sweet and angelic. Let her voice develop naturally and not force it into a realm it is not ready for.Perhaps then we may see a diva in the making.

Thought you might be interested in this... she's been singing on youtube for awhile now. Here is her singing O mio obbino cara at age 8.

Does Baltimore have any respect for you now? Am I upset because this is the best thing I have ever SHE IS 10! And how can you even question for a millisecond that this was lipped? Shouldn't a 'classical music critic' have an ear? Coming from the biggest skeptic in the world, how, how, how, do you think this may have been lipped? Your ear is not worthy to critique anyone...even and especially a 10 YEAR OLD!! Lou Ferrigno called...he said you can keep his hearing.

I thought your review of her performance was very nit-picky. She is an incredible talent and I think she was spectacular. Both the judges and the audience were floored. I'll go further and say that if she survives the semi-finals, she is a certified lock to win the entire competition. It was the performance of the year in any music category.


Pat Martin-
100% wrong what you have just said. 100% absolutely wrong. The R in "caro" is FLIPPED (sounds like a single, dental R) as are all intervocalic R's.

If it were ROLLED, it would be carro, which means "wagon".


Jackie has a great deal of talent but care should be taken as she moves on in her training. Singing should be free and expressive making use of Bel Canto or beautiful singing. The "r" in caro is flipped. Anytime an "r" is between two vowels, it's flipped. The singer should avoid sounding pushed or covered. A ten year old's lungs are not fully developed which might explain the reason for her breathing difficulties.. I am amazed by her and her natural talent. She needs good voical coaching. If she wants to continue in Opera, she needs a teacher that is trained in that field. I'm glad that there is interest in Opera. It encourages me to know that there is still interest in it.

I don't know anything about opera, but I know when I like something. I like everything I see and hear from this little girl. She looks good, confident, on stage. Her voice is something to please even the crudest among us. Bravo. (I think that is the correct word)

I enjoyed the many comments about her voice and what she should do in the future to further her training. I hope that she gets the kind of professional help she needs and that she can continue to enjoy her childhood. She certainly seems to want that according to interviews she has given. I have been a fan for about a year and half, bought her album back when it was released. At this point, and of course this could change, she is interested in the classical/crossover style and not in doing opera. I really hope she doesn't win AGT, she has gotten exposure now and can take her time and really develope what I think most agree is a unique gift. But one thing is sure: a lot more people have been exposed to some beautiful music that might not otherwise have happened. And even if it was music that has been sung to death, the average listener doesn't know that!
So, I say, Kudos!!

Who told all you uninformed people that Jackie Evancho is an "opera" singer? If you took the time to research a little, you can find hundreds of denials and corrections by Jackie and her family. Jackie wants to be a classical crossover singer like Sarah Brightman and Hayly Westenra.
In one interview with NBC during the last few weeks, Jackie at first explained that she does not sing "opera," but classical cross. When the interviewer mentioned opera again, Jackie immediately corrected her again. I'm afraid that all the pure opera snobs want to "train" the soul out of this girl and turn her into a robot belting out arias with those exaggerated emotions and movements. I hope she stays as far away from the "opera" snobs as far as she can. This little girl has now what most diva's and entertainers never attain in a lifetime. She touches people deep. She brings tears of pleasure and peace to a lot of people. Please don't "train" that out of her!

I think the Baltimore Sun might as well go ahead and fire this clown Tim Smith before they lose all their viewership, except for the few jealous snobs who support his idiotic views!

She's ten years old, you idiot.
Why don't we just enjoy this
child, before the bad people
steal all her money and make
her a burn out. God help her.

Critics only write arbitrary words with a usually failed attempt of any real competence. So I guess if you are untalented you write about people with talent. Jackie sings!!!!!

Mr. Smith:
Your pomposity knows no bounds.

There are lots of videos of Tim on YouTube that show him giving music reviews when he was that young, too. Sure - all head voice. Occasional rolled r's. But you can still sense the talent yet to come.

This is a much better review of her singing..

Hey there Tim,

I would like to be kind and only say that you have not done sufficient homework in regards to Jacqueline's voice. It would be similar to me saying you were in disguise and on loan from 'Home Improvements'

I disagree with those who would say "shame on you critics!" On the contrary. Let them critique. If we're going to say she's as good as any pro, then we should let the critics say what they will. It would be an insult to Jackie to say "She's 11, so, she's above critquing!" You may be surprised, but I bet Jackie would appreciate the critique, so long as it's honest and constructive.

I think she has a beautiful voice!I do believe its great for her to sing,as long as she enjoys it , and her parents don't try and grow her up to fast.That is whats happening so much today.May God Bless Her!

Just a couple of things to say. First of all: those who can't sing, critique. Also: Laura, for a supposed intellectual, could your grammar be more atrocious? And, finally: why does everyone insist upon berating this angelic child and her amazing talent? She enjoys what she does, and she brings joy to so many by the use of her gift. Let her decide what course her life will take when she gets to the place where she will be making her own decisions. Dubious regards to the 'nay-sayers'; respectful ones to everyone else. P.S. I am definitely not afraid to use my real name; here or anywhere else on the net.

The very first view I had of Jackie is the one still available on YouTube (previously mentioned) at:

She is 8 years old here, just playing with the video camera, and sounds as if she might have a touch of a cold. Very breathy "little girl" voice. And absolutely pitch perfect! The personification of the word "cute!" I've heard lots of "little girl" voices, but none that could come anywhere near to matching this one.

I am 70 years old, I have listened to all kinds of music during my life and enjoyed most of it, but if I have a choice, I will always return to the classics. I will admit right off the bat that I am not any kind of a judge of vocal quality, but I certainly do know what I like to listen to. This young lady has it in spades!

When she looked right through my soul with those blue eyes, she broke me down like very few other singers have done. I admit that I wear my emotions pretty close to the surface, and any time I decide to listen to Jackie, I need a box of Kleenex close by.

When she sings with her eyes closed, I can't help but think that she is channeling -- that someone older is singing through her. It's wonderful to watch someone when they are "in the moment"; when they aren't just producing words and tones, but they are actually one with the music. That's what I see in Jackie: she actually becomes the song for just a few moments, and then she comes back to us mere mortals.

Enough with the flowery praise for a while, although it is sincere.

I wanted to have my say on another subject: our National Anthem. I am one of the old school that believes The Star Spangled Banner should be sung the way it was written, and not jazzed up with vocal warbling. Jackie is good at this song, as with all the others she has done, but I'm afraid she has fallen into the "new way" trap. Especially regarding the words "perilous" and not "per-u-lis"; "banner" is supposed to be three notes and three syllables, rather than four; and the worst bit of all is the break-over into dog-whistle frequency on the word "free," which should be just one note.

While I agree that some singers can do this and actually sound good doing it, I am of the firm belief that you should not necessarily do something just because you are capable of doing it. Please do it the right way and save the vocal gyrations for a performance where they will be appreciated.

Could not agree with you more about the anthem. What a shock it would be to a whole generation or two to hear it sung unadorned. TIM

Jackie Evancho is not an opera singer! Says who?

Jackie herself!

see her interview here:

She tries to tell you but you just don't pay attention

Tim, you brought shame to yourself. The only thing that matters is the way she has touched the soul of millions of followers on the Earth.

I am absolutely not ashamed to use my full name. I have only been made aware of this amazing little girl as recently as March of this year. My 9 year old daughtrr introduced me to Jackie via YouTube. I have been nothing but amazed since my first view.
I am not here to critique the critic. He's just doing his job. I go back and watch her early AGT videos and read the comments and I have to chuckle at the things the critics said then knowing what we do now about this little girl. I'm certain their are many now who are eating crow as they try to remove their feet from their mouthes.
Personally, I am no critic. I have no musical training or background. What I do know is what pleases my ear. I like to call it "acoustically asthetic". Jackie has ruined me. After 42 years of listening to rock, pop, much contemporary Christian, and a whole lot of country, one little bit of Ms.Evancho and I have no desire to listen to anything else. I have everything she has recorded and that is all I can bring myself to listen to. After hearing her sing, everything else is just noise.
Is her register clashing with her contralto mezzo sopranic operatic chin warble??? I have no idea. She moves me. Her voice disarms and dumbfounds me. Her personality and character when she interviews amuses and delights me. And her head snaps and arm movements when she sings endears me to her.
Finally, I must say that her AGT performance of Pie Jesu was the single most amazing, beautiful, and moving musical performance I have ever seen regardless of age, type of music, or venue.

Well, it's 2 years later, and now we have some "20/20 hindsight".
Jackie has performed at sellout concerts worldwide, including for 100,000 in Russia last month.
She has sung for Obama, the Emperor of Japan, Oprah, Trump, and even Jay Leno [4 appearances].
Debut album produced by David Foster.
Performed duets with Barbra Streisand, Sarah Brightman, Tony Bennett, Susan Boyle, Katherine Jenkins.
She broke Michael Jackson's record as the youngest artist ever to have a Top 10 and Platinum album, and is the youngest artist ever to have their own PBS "Great Performances" TV special [Twice].
Guess you were wrong!

I have read criticism about her voice being unnatural and she is forcing it to sound like that. how her jaw and neck quivers during a performance. honestly, I would challenge anyone, anywhere, anytime that can produce a performer that doesn't do that in some way. all I can say about jackie is her voice convinced form the moment I heard it that only could be produced by an angel. not that I am judging her life, but only divine intervention could let a sound like that come out of a human let alone an 11 year old. all the critics just wish they hada voice is all it is.te that can perform. those that have no talent become critics

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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