Katherine Jenkins enters the conference room of her record company in New York wearing a light denim jacket, a floral skirt, and tan patent leather heels. Her blonde hair is big and feathered. Black liner accentuates her bright green eyes. She is exceedingly gracious and perky for someone who woke up at 3 A.M. (she was on the Today show earlier and is still sporting heavy TV makeup). “People have a typical view of a Wagnerian soprano with Viking horns,” she begins. No, Jenkins doesn’t have horns (or a metal brassiere, for that matter). But like an ancient Norse, Jenkins is a conqueror, and the U.S. is next on her agenda. Already a household name in the u.k., the 30-year-old Neath, Wales, native is the multiplatinum emissary of classical crossover, a.k.a. popera (a term she herself isn’t fond of). Popera is a designer hybrid that melds pop melodies with the bombastic delivery and range of opera (think a Ring cycle aria blasting away the vocals of Kylie Minogue). Jenkins sees it as the perfect vessel to propagate classical music. “It frustrates me that people feel isolated from this type of music,”Jenkins says. “People perceive opera and classical as elitist—I disagree. I’ve always tried to mix the two, make it more accessible.” With her U.S. debut, Jenkins does just that. A showcase for her powerful, grandiose voice, her most recent album, Believe (Warner Bros. Records), features operatic covers of songs as disparate as Édith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose” and Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life.” Growing up, Jenkins loved traditional Welsh music along with Maria Callas and Judy Garland. However, themezzo-soprano insists that she doesn’t share those bold divas’ infamous tempers. “I have a long fuse,” she swears. Today she’s a fan of a variety of music—she even likes to jog to Jay-Z. Jenkins leads a relatively quiet life for a superstar pop chanteuse. She has to take care of her voice and rarely indulges in a rock-star lifestyle. “I did my partying when I was a student,” she says.
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Photo: Katherine Jenkins in New York, June 2010. Dress: Jean Paul Gaultier. Earrings: De Beers. Brooch: New York vintage. Right arm: Bracelets: Anne Sheffield and Kristen Farrell. Bangle: De Beers. Rings: Kristen Farrell and De Beers. Left arm: Cuff: New York vintage. Rings: Kristen Farrell. Stockings: Falke. Shoes: Yves Saint Laurent. Cosmetics: Nars, including Lip Stain Gloss in Daredevil. Fragrance: Madame by Jean Paul Gaultier. Styling: Natasha Royt/Art + Commerce. Hair: Ben Skervin for Bumble and bumble/www.themagnetagency.com. Makeup: Dotti/Streeters. Manicure: Bethany Newell/Kirkman + Elliot. Special Thanks: Fast Ashleys.