Thursday, February 17, 2011

Young Metropolitan Opera Singers To Perform With Child Star

Florida-bound: Kooten, Simpson, Holloway
"The Festival of the Arts BOCA ushers in its fifth season March 4 through 12 at the Schmidt Family Centre for the Arts at the Count de Hoernle Amphitheater in Boca Raton with a line-up of international talent. Headlining the festival will be 10-year-old American crossover soprano sensation Jackie Evancho, discovered on America's Got Talent. Evancho will perform in the
Jackie Evancho
festival's A Night at the Opera with young stars of the Metropolitan Opera - Katie Van Kooten (soprano), Jennifer Holloway (mezzo-soprano) and Michael Todd Simpson (baritone) - under the direction of Constantine Kitsopoulos and accompanied by the Boca Raton Symphonia." [Source]

1 comment:

  1. In retrospect, Jackie Evancho's association with opera in her early days certainly contributed to the early and protracted rancorous criticisms of her from some in the opera world. Even though she herself disclaimed the label of 'opera singer,' the Evancho company approved of events like this one (and her performance at the "Bouquet of Opera" concert in St. Petersburg, Russia, which included duets with Sumi Jo). So to some extent it is hard to blame anyone for considering her, back then, a pretender to the art.

    Criticisms and willing associations with opera aside, the fact remains that these associations were mutual, but there is no reason to believe that any of these opera singers viewed Jackie Evancho as one of their own, or held her to the standards of the art. It seems that those with whom she performs understand and accept who and what she is, and admire her for it. While performing with Evancho, Sumi Jo mothered her, and they remain friends to this day. Likewise, Dmitri Hvorostosky, who was reported at first to be reluctant to associate with Jackie, praised and treated her with ebullience once he had heard her perform at the concert.

    As for the BOCA festival, from what can be gleaned from behind-the-scenes and performance videos, the above young opera singers from the Met warmly received and showed respect for the young headliner. At neither of these events did Jackie Evancho deliberately present herself as an opera singer, nor sing with anything resembling proper opera technique (in spite of there being no obligation on her part to do so), but she certainly held her own as an 11-year old phenom with a beautiful voice.

    Although her repertoire of 'classical crossover' pieces is still small, and at least as of late (2013) growing smaller, there are still those who think of her as a pretend opera singer. Her recent concert with José Carreras in Taiwan perhaps didn't help dispel that notion (although it also could very easily be argued that it helped to further distance her from opera, given how far distanced Carreras himself has become since his heyday). Still, it is interesting to look back on these 'early days' of just a few short years ago, and compare them to the Jackie Evancho of today.

    It is easier now to see that Jackie Evancho always has been and still is a casual singer. She may still exhibit some technical issues, but her singing voice (which she has not ruined in spite of predictions to the contrary) is still quite beautiful, even as her style is evolving. What her voice evolves into is anyone's guess, but what is certain, especially in retrospect, is that Jackie is not and never was an opera singer. Those who may still fear that she is treading on hallowed ground can be reassured by similarly looking back, and realizing that she has been following a different path all along.