Taking Classical music to the public, and money to the bank

Katherine Jenkins just signed a $11.8 million contract with Warner Music. This is for a five album deal and she's headed to Los Angeles to start on the first one soon. Her point, "My main aim is to try and take classical music to a wider audience." With the distribution power of Warner Music (and their need to get back some of their cash) expect to see her recordings everywhere.

According to her website, Katherine tries to emulate both Marilyn Monroe and Madonna. She's a Classical Crossover artist, singing opera arias, sacred music and other classical pieces, but with a look and feel that appeals to typical pop audiences. Her first album, Premiere, was the fastest selling album ever by a Mezzo-Soprano, selling 30k copies in the first week.

This isn't Katherine's first multi-million dollar deal, either. She had a contract for $2 million back in 2000, with the final album of that contract due out today - Sacred Arias. This new album will only add to the already 2 million albums she's sold in the UK alone. Sacred Arias is expected to make it into the top 10 on British Charts - quite a feat for a classical artist only 28 years old.

If you want a sneak preview of a video from her album click here.

Lesley Garrett, an older opera star, is attempting much the same thing, bringing classical music to a pop audience. Two years ago she moved from opera to musicals, staring in the West End revival of Sound of Music. Now she's traveling in a production of Carousel, performing 8 times a week.

After twelve years with the English National Opera culminating in parts like Rosina, the Cunning Little Vixen and the heroine of Gluck’s Orpheus and Euridice, all performed in the Coliseum without amplification. Her latest album Amazing Grace is her 13th and due out next month to coincide with the London production of Carousel. It is a step back toward the classics's with a mixture of spiritual and classical pieces.


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