While Charlotte Church continues to pile on the pounds, roll out of nightclubs in a drunken stupor and then embarrasses herself further with her own Channel 4 chat show, fellow Welsh starlet Katherine Jenkins is providing entertainment with slightly more decorum and self-respect.
Still at the tender age of 26, Jenkins is a comparative baby by operas standards, but has already acquired a beautifully toned voice to compliment her undeniably stunning looks. It is hardly surprising that tonight’s performance, the last of her current tour, is a complete sell out.
The acoustics in Bristol’s Colston Hall are prefect for this type of concert. Whilst the high ceiling and vast stretch between upper tier and stage can have a detrimental effect for rock bands (whose music tends to be lost in the capacious void between floor and ceiling), Jenkins’ grand orchestral backing used the hall to their full advantage and despite the occasional problems caused by the sound engineer, the acoustics were pretty much flawless.
Most of the performance was delivered in a mixture of unfathomable languages (mainly Italian), even with an expensive phrase book and a fast talking translator you would be hard pushed to make head or tail of what they were actually talking about. There is the odd explanation given to the meaning of songs, but it is clear that the brilliance here is the vocals, and the unique spin that the artist can put on well-known material.
Even Whitney Houston and Dolly Parton’s ‘I will always love you’ got the Italian makeover treatment (L'amore Sei Tu), as did a surprisingly good cover called ‘Quello Che Faró’, or Bryan Adam’s ‘Everything I do’ to you and me. The Canadian rocker even leant his hand to a spot of guitar work on Jenkins’ new album ‘Serenade’, although there was about as much chance of him making an appearance tonight as there was of Katherine Jenkins donning leather biker gear and belting out a cover of The Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save the Queen’.
Jenkins is also a brilliant role model for young women everywhere. Not just because she is an extremely talented singer that has managed to achieve her dream in such a short space of time, but also because she manages to change clothes in just two songs! I’ve lived with girls, and trust me, I’ve have had to wait through entire record collections before they have changed so much as an earring. Jenkins even managed to get through 5 costume changes in under two hours, somebody really should inform the Guinness Book of World Records.
With a population of just 283,000 (that’s just a fraction more than there is in Stoke-On Trent) it’s hard to believe that Iceland has so many talented musicians, and Jenkins’ guest for her 2006 winter tour is no exception. She was joined on stage by the talented Icelandic tenor Gardar Thor Cortes. At times he even threatened to upstage Jenkins, and his powerful rendition of Giacomo Puccini’s Nessun Dorma (the BBC’s theme for Italia 90) was met with a heartfelt ovation.
The material sing by both Jenkins and Cortes is instantly recognisable, even to those who are not opera fanatics. Andrea Bocelli fans in particular would have picked up on Cortes’ versions of ‘Romanza’ and ‘Caruso’, and even a duo between both Jenkins and Cortes was another well known Bocelli favourite; ‘The Prayer’.
Cortes returned to the stage a couple of times, once to provide Jenkins with a bouquet of flowers, and to present her with a framed disk of her latest album, confirming that it had now gone platinum sold in excess of 300,000 copies and while it’s still placed inside the UK top 20 that’s a figure that is likely to be on the increase.
One slight grumble I had with the performance was the sheer incompetence of the sound engineer, who had obviously decided that the percussion section of the orchestra was far more important than anything else, elevating the volume of the whole percussion (the triangle in particular) to irritating levels, on the odd occasion even drowning out the singers.
Jenkins managed to get ‘Amazing Grace,’ (the song she sung at the Tsunami Relief concert) into her set, as well as Francesco Sartori and Lucio Quarantotto’s ‘Time to say Goodbye’, a single that Jenkins released in 2005. Shortly after the break the orchestra worked through ‘Bizet’s Overture’ and ‘Prelude to Carmen’, before being joined by Jenkins in a red flamenco style dress.
Jenkins, who’s apparently the official Welsh rugby mascot (I wonder why…?), seemed far more animated when performing the Welsh anthem ‘Calon Lan’, and beams with enthusiasm at the rapturous applause she receives. She takes particular delight in her performances, and it’s easy to tell from her mannerisms on stage that for all her glamour and beauty she is still a very grateful and appreciative young lady, making sure that she thanks everyone for their involvement in her success.
If it wasn’t for the reasoning behind Jenkins’ final song, a cover of Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll meet again’, it could have been perceived as a rather cheesy ending. But after live performances to boost the morale of soldiers in Iraq, she has been named rather affectionately by the press as ‘The Forces Sweetheart’, a nickname that was given to Vera Lynn herself, which neatly tied up a rather spectacular show.
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article by: Scott Johnson
photos by: Scott Johnson
| published: 22/12/2006 04:56|