Katherine Jenkins is a big favourite of my husband’s, so we went along to see her at Hammersmith’s HMV Apollo on Thursday night (incidentally the Apollo is a former Gaumont cinema and still boasts many original features in an auditorium that escaped sub-division in its screening days, including a vast foyer space and period lighting).
Jenkins is a crossover artist, which means she sings both opera and contemporary songs. Muddy sound blighted her opening song ‘Your Silhouette’ (a rather oddly ranged song about a relationship break-up), and we were also treated to the theme of the evening, veiled references to her own personal romantic problems as she split with her partner just before the start of the tour.
Opera numbers fared rather well, although it is hard to judge the depth of a voice which is amplified by microphones; still, the ‘Carmen Gypsy Dance’, ‘Filles de Cadiz’, and the numbers from Kismet (‘And This Is My Beloved’) and Phantom of the Opera (‘All I Ask Of You’, nicely sung in duet with American new boy Nathan Pacheco) came across with some emotional punch.
From her most recent album, Daybreak, the songs ‘Ancora Non Sai’ (a pleasing waltz) and ‘Black is the Colour’ (a folk number I associate most with Christy Moore) were excellent – the radio-friendly number ‘Break it to My Heart’ less so. And if I had one wish I would have Jenkins drop her rendition of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ as it quite painful to hear a complex song reduced to a simple pop ditty by a singer who doesn’t understand it!
After the interval we were treated to a comic interlude with questions and pointers from the audience (including a teenager who wanted to treat Jenkins to her ‘favourite pasty’ in Greggs, and a family who dedicated ‘Time to Say Goodbye’ to their ninety-year-old father). And indeed, this was the song which ended a concert which clearly pleased her fans, but is unlikely to win any new converts.
Crossover artists are generally safe propositions who perform in overpriced shows (tickets here were an average price of £60) – and her special guest Nathan Pacheco is no exception, entertaining with the usual tenor fare of ‘Funiculi Funicular’ and ‘Nessun Dorma’, giving a good stab at ‘Danny Boy’, but coming a bit unstuck with ‘Caruso’ (which is perhaps forever associated with Pavarotti).