Katherine Jenkins: Idle Thoughts


She’s a pleasant enough personality, despite her Barbie doll appearance, but it’s maddening when newspapers describe her as an opera singer. As far as I know, she has never appeared in an opera or performed without a microphone. What’s more, her strangulated vibrato is the sort of unpleasant sound that the uninitiated associate with all opera. Luckily for her, though, she has found a market and evidently makes a very good living, and I suppose we can’t criticize her for that.

I think it’s worth pointing out that Katherine Jenkins doesn’t describe herself as an opera singer. It’s purely an invention of the media and her record company.

I don’t really have a problem with Katherine Jenkins as a popular entertainer but I do have a problem with her being promoted as an opera singer. After all, this is at the expense of genuine musicians who have laboured for years to achieve something.

We can all have a joke at her expense but the way she (and others of similar ilk) is promoted is extremely harmful. It says to millions of record buyers that “normal” classical music performed by genuine classical artists is not for the general public.

This is a shame when the music we listen to is, for the most part, so attractive and approachable anyway that if the record companies invested a fraction of the money they do on crossover to promoting classical music instead, they might find that elusive new audience they claim to be after. After all, what’s not to like? Instead, they teach potential music lovers that the real thing is not for them – and that’s criminal.

I was told this by a musician acquaintance of mine, only a week or two back. He had recently been in the orchestra (I won’t say which instrument) and only a foot or two away from the soloist (La Jenkins). All she was wearing under her dress was her G string and Chanel No. 5. When she bent forward for her bow, it was, he told me, about as much as he could do to restrain himself from putting down his instrument and wrestling her to the ground.


7 Responses to “Katherine Jenkins: Idle Thoughts”

  1. […] Original post by Robin Gosnall […]

  2. Albert Wm. Gosnall Says:

    You are so correct, we live in the age of the cosmetic microphone and an earpiece feeding them the next line! The days of a singer standing at the front of the RAH and using voice production to project up to the ‘gods’ without the aid of a micrrophone, appear to have all but gone sadly.

    Melba, Caruso, and such will never be again, it is the age synthetic syncopated sound, I hesitgate to use the word Music!

  3. I would like to point out that Katherine Jenkins often does refer to herself as an opera singer. Usually when she’s being bitchy about opera singers, none of whom are as slim or as beautiful as her.

  4. Thanks Albert, and thanks Gert.

    Can she sing without a microphone?

    As far as I know she has never claimed to have an opera career, although her record company’s marketing has certainly conveyed the impression that she has. Perhaps she will find, as her career and voice develop, that her voice will assume a more operatic quality than it possesses now; assuming that is what she wants.

    I’m told by those who’ve followed her career longer than I have that her diction is improving.

    Actually, I was at college with a soprano who turned to the “popular” field. She now drives a Jaguar, has a holiday home in Spain and is very much loved by the public.

    I was much more talented than her and look at me today. Struggling to pay the bloody Council Tax …

  5. I expect she can sing without a microphone – because every schoolgirl chorister can. Up to a point. However, there is no record of her having ever done so for a professional gig. Apparently she was on The Apprentice recently performing to a group of about 15 people, and still the mike was there.

    Your soprano friend; it doesn’t come as any surprise that pop artists earn more than classical. It’s been the way all my life. Footballers earn more than ambulance crews. But most footballers don’t pretend to be vital emergency life-saving people.

    KJ gives interviews where she refers to herself as an opera singer. She claims that you won’t find size zero opera singers because ‘we’ eat after the show; the only reason she isn’t appearing at Covent Garden is that she’s too slim and beautiful; she’s going to sing Carmen once she gets round to taking six months off and learning the part. Blah di blah

  6. I think she’d make a marvellous Carmen.

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