Richland's Evancho appears with opera for first time
By Mark Kanny
Published: Monday, Oct. 17, 2011
Some performers capture an audience during a concert. Others are loved before they step on stage.
The sold-out house at the Benedum Center, Downtown, for Jackie Evancho's debut with Pittsburgh Opera on Sunday evening didn't want to wait for the chance to show its affection. Even "The Lord's Prayer" was interrupted with applause.
The concert featuring the 11-year-old soprano from Richland began slightly late, perhaps because traffic hadn't entirely cleared from the afternoon Steelers game.
"Only in Pittsburgh, to go from football to the opera," Steelers great Franco Harris said during intermission. He called Evancho wonderful.
"To hear that voice come out of that little girl is fabulous," he said. "And she's from Pittsburgh!"
Evancho was 10 when she was runner-up in the 2010 "America's Got Talent" contest on NBC-TV. This summer, she began touring. Last night, she performed 10 songs or arias, plus an encore, with music director Antony Walker conducting the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra.
The voice experienced live is for real. It is astonishing for someone so young, beyond being beautifully in tune and well supported. Evancho's opening number — "Lovers" from "House of Flying Daggers" — showed that she sings across a wide range and with remarkably mature tone. She has a big, warm sound in her lower register, with a nice modest vibrato, while on top she sings with purity.
The entire concert was amplified, including Pittsburgh Opera's own solo singers, orchestra and chorus. When Evancho sang a haunting high melody, it sounded as if reverberation had been added to her voice, which is common with amplification of singers.
Evancho's sincerity of delivery was affecting in numbers with the simplicity of "To Believe" by her uncle, Matthew Evancho, and the fervor of "The Impossible Dream."
Walker gave Evancho the most devoted support, showing once again he is a master of keeping the orchestra with a singer.
The first portion of each half of the concert was given to popular operatic excerpts. The 43-voice chorus was outstanding in "Va Pensiero" from "Nabucco" and a shortened version of the Triumphal March from "Aida," both by Verdi.
Among performances by the resident artists of the company, tenor Juan Jose de Leon's "O sole mio" nearly stole the show.
Evancho's final number on the program was "All I Ask of You" from Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera." It's the music that only three years ago got her into singing. Her encore was a heavenly account of "Pie Jesu" from Webber's "Requiem."
The first time someone yelled out, "We love you, Jackie!" she said softly, "I love you, too." The second time, she smiled. She seems a darling of a girl, without being too sweet about it.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Garden Q&A: Firecracker vine OK for trellis?
- Matt Calvert’s goal in double OT evens series for Blue Jackets
- Pair of Braun homers spells defeat for Pirates
- Penguins’ Gibbons scores twice but leaves with apparent injury
- Two men shot at outdoor party in Chartiers
- Penguins say playoff series against Columbus could fuel rivalry
- Roadside reminder: Time doesn’t stand still
- Draftees’ longevity key for NFL success
- Blue Jackets score a franchise first with playoff victory
- Mail for IRS delivered to Squirrel Hill home
- Biertempfel: Kendall’s book offers inside look at life in majors