Holiday discs 2012: Katherine Jenkins's My Christmas
How can you tell that Christmas is the bread and butter of classical-pop crossover acts? A good hint is that Welsh lyric mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins has two holiday releases out this season: My Christmas and the more definitively titled This Is Christmas. She may look like a pontoon-jugged soap-opera star, but one-time model Jenkins has classical bona fides, having graduated with honours from the Royal Academy of Music. And she’s okay. Jenkins’s singing is not going to put Cecilia Bartoli out of business, but My Christmas works because many of its selections (“In Paradisum”, Mozart’s “Laudate Dominum”) haven’t been bludgeoned to death on the tinsel-strewn battlefield of holiday music. On the other hand, I never again want to hear anyone who isn’t named Leonard Cohen sing “Hallelujah”. No matter how many Christmas albums it appears on, it’s still not a Christmas song, folks. And neither is that perennial Joni Mitchell bummer “River”, from which Jenkins mercifully spared us.