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Sarasota darling Jackie Evancho returns

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Jackie Evancho, accompanied by producer David Foster, sings in the Rubens Gallery at the Ringling Museum of Art for a PBS special. GUSTAVO CABALLERO PHOTO PROVIDED BY GREAT PERFORMANCES

Sarasota has a special bond with Jackie Evancho.

The child singing sensation - who had already placed second on “America’s Got Talent” and sold a million copies of her debut album, “O Holy Night” - came here to star in the PBS “Great Performances” special “Jackie Evancho: Dream With Me in Concert.” It was filmed on the grounds of the Ringling Museum.

The program, which debuted in June of 2011, features classical crossover vocalist Evancho and producer/pianist David Foster performing an evening concert in the museum courtyard with the statue of David as a backdrop.

There are also scenes in the Rubens Gallery, the Circus Museum, the Historic Asolo Theater, the Ca d’Zan mansion and the Rose Garden. During the show, Foster explains some of the art and history to the young singer.

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Jackie Evancho/COURTESY PHOTO

“I was really cool,” the 13-year-old Evancho said during a recent phone interview. “I never thought I’d have an experience like that.”

The PBS special was timed to promote her second album, and first non-holiday release, “Dream with Me.” The young soprano hits all the right notes on an eclectic collection that finds her singing the Disney favorite “When You Wish Upon A Star,” covering Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel,” doing a duet with Barbara Streisand on “Somewhere” and showing off her opera chops on a pair of Puccini arias (“Nessun Dorma,” “O Mio Babbino Caro”). She even earned a co-writing credit on the title track.

“Dream with Me” debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 Album chart. Evancho, a native of Pittsburgh, promoted the album on talk shows and embarked on her first solo concert tour across the country. People began approaching her on the street.

“I do remember my first time being recognized,” Evancho said. “I felt like a superstar - it was really special.”

The prodigy is currently on tour promoting her third album. Released last October, “Songs from the Silver Screen” debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart. The collection includes “Pure Imagination” from “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from “The Lion King” and “My Heart Will Go On” from “Titanic.”

“I like all of them but I really like ‘The Music of the Night,’’ Evancho said. “It’s from my favorite movie, ‘The Phantom of the Opera.’”

Despite performing in public now since the age of 8, Evancho will still likely battle back a bit of anxiety before performing Sunday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.

“I always get nervous; I don't think there are many people out there who don’t get nervous,” Evancho said. “I’m not sure what that means. I think nervous means you just love what you do and want to do your best.”

7 p.m. Sunday (June 2), The Mahaffey, 400 First St. S., St. Petersburg; $55.50-$99; 727.892.5798; themahaffey.com
Last modified: July 8, 2013
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