Review: Katherine Jenkins @ Brighton Dome, 15/02/15

Lead by Anthony Inglis, the National Symphony Orchestra all dressed in black treated us to a lively rendition of Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie. Katherine Jenkins then appeared in a flowing white gown and launched into Ode to Joy in German. From here she sang a beautiful version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah during which, I’m relieved to say, her voice, along with the orchestra sweeping and soaring behind her, did the song justice, as it is one of my favourite songs.

Sweet Home is the title of this tour and her current album and the next song Anthem from the musical Chess was chosen as it reflects a really happy, joyful period in her personal life. Although she talked about promoting the current album, she told us how she wanted these shows to be a celebration of this first successful decade of her career.

She welcomed west end star John Owen Jones and in a nice break from tradition the support act played during the main show rather than before it. For his first segment he sang The Music Of The Night from Phantom of the Opera and a bombastic version of Thunderball, where the brass section really got to strut their stuff.

Katherine Jenkins returned to sing the Welsh national anthem. She talked about how ten years ago she went from singing that song in front of 200 people before she was signed to 74,000 people at a rugby match, which she found ironic as England had just beaten Wales earlier today. Dreaming of The Days offered us a more modern side, which I thought was great. It was a song that used the music of I Giorni by Ludovico Einaudi… if you haven’t heard the original you should go and listen to it right away as it is an absolutely amazing piece of music.

Just before the interval she gave a lovely version of Con te Partirò (Time to Say Goodbye) which is one of her early cover songs that helped her crossover to a wider audience a decade ago. Before she left the stage she invited the audience to hand in questions for her to the ushers. She answered some of these questions as she returned back after the interval. I thought this was a nice gesture and showed she really did have a great rapport with her fans as well as being happy to sing songs from her entire catalogue.

During the interval I got talking to someone who has been going to opera for 50 years and explained that she has a mezzo soprano voice and went into some of the more traditional opera parts she may play as she matures as a performer, which was really interesting as I have to admit opera is not my strongest subject.

The orchestra welcomed us back with a medley of songs from My Fair Lady, with Katherine Jenkins returning to sing The Prayer, that she had recently performed at her sisters wedding. She then did a song that had put lyrics to Elgar’s Nimrod. At this point my new friend from the interval whispered that Elgar would be turning in his grave if he heard words put to his music, which I found quite amusing.

John Owen Jones returned to sing a duet of Barcelona which really gave Katherine an opportunity to show a more powerful side to her voice. He stayed on to sing Bring Him Home from Les Mis and Rise Like A Phoenix. Unfortunately he wasn’t quite as glamorous as Conchita Wurst when she won Eurovision with the song last year.

After a few more questions she began the final part of the show with In the Arms of an Angel, a dedication to a friend of hers that had passed away recently along with anyone else in the audience that had lost someone close to them. Her penultimate song took us back to her rugby stomping ground with a wonderful version of World in Union, which you can picture being belted out during big games. For her encore she returned to end with a thumping version of We Are The Champions during which she asked the audience to join in with her.

Due to the structure of having guests during the show along with the orchestra as well as interacting with the audience in-between songs, the show could have been titled “Katherine and friends”. She appeared to be really happy to share the evening with every single person in the Dome.

By Simon England

The Verse Staff

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