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The Lebrecht Weekly


Visit every week to read Norman Lebrecht's latest column. [Index]

Katherine cashes in her opera chips

By Norman Lebrecht / October 22, 2008

When Katherine Jenkins, now 28, burst onto our ears four years ago with a crossover album of Welsh hymns, love ballads and classical pops, she claimed to be reaching a public that was bored with popular music.

She promised, some day, to sing opera on stage. Her Neath town chorus and Royal Academyof Music-trained mezzo-soprano voice was stable at both ends and had good potential as a future Cherubino in the Marriage of Figaro, perhaps even a Carmen. In between sky-hyped appearances at rugby cup finals and concerts for the forces in Iraq, she continued taking lessons at the RAM and grooming herself for the long haul of heavy roles.

All that went down the drain this weekend when Katherine’s publicity juggernaut announced she had signed a $10 million deal with Warner Music and was moving to Hollywood. Warner got out of classical music two years ago. It plans to put Katherine to work with middle-road machiavellian producer David Foster, the force behind such treacly products as Josh Groban, Michael Bolton and The Corrs.

Although she is acquainted with Placido Domingo who runs Los Angeles Opera, Katherine’s opera dream will have died the moment she banked that cheque. Warner wants her to be the next Celine Dion, not Cecilia Bartoli. Her future is not hers any more for the taking. If she conquers America, she could be the next Streisand. And if she fails, she’ll still be richer and more famous than Charlotte Church, another Welsh girl who parlayed a very modest talent into a mountainous fortune.

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Visit every week to read Norman Lebrecht's latest column. [Index]



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