REVIEW: Opera superstar Russell Watson gave Ulverston night to remember

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IT'S not every day an act like Russell Watson appears on your doorstep.

Russell Watson
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Russell Watson

So it was a privilege to attend his concert at The Coronation Hall, in Ulverston, on Friday night.

The word on the street was this was the quickest ever show to sell out at the celebrated old venue. Quite an achievement for the Manchester tenor to have on his CV along with performing for the Queen, the Pope and a couple of United States Presidents.

In musical terms Watson is world famous and world class, so it is great credit that The Coro managed to secure his services for South Cumbria. The musical director and pianist Richard John accompanied Watson and the 20-strong Musical Village Choir acted as his support.

Watson has sold out much larger venues but there was an intimacy about this show that you just can’t replicate at an arena. Having said that, it was almost too intimate as The Coro, perhaps understandably but also uncomfortably, squeezed in as many seats as they dare to enjoy the performance.

There were classical moments, traditionally sung, and some with a personal twist. Either way, the strength and tone of his delivery was a joy to hear. He even sang a couple of songs without the help of the microphone. That’s confidence!

The rapturous applause received for each song told it’s own story and the audience particularly enjoyed his rendition of Empty Chairs At Empty Tables.

His beautiful delivery of Bring Him Home to close the first-half even reduced some to tears, although the limited space between the seats was the probable cause of mine!

Although good, I wasn’t convinced by the choir and felt they didn’t particularly add a great deal to this splendid occasion, although the same cannot be said of Richard John, who was a great foil for Watson and a wonderful master of his grand piano.

The usual bit of lively audience participation occurred during Volare, and it was enjoyed by all.

Mancunian Watson referred to the recent Manchester terror attack and dedicated a song to the victims and their families. Russell delivered an amazing version of Coldplay’s Fix You to re-focus the minds.

The majority of the audience were over 60 so I was a little surprised that his big finale was a version of the brilliant but depressing Adele’s When We Were Young.

I felt the show deserved a more up-lifting ending.

No matter, Watson was brilliant, he deserves his worldwide accolades and he didn’t short change South Cumbria.

Big Applauso Russell and come back soon!

Review by TREVOR JONES

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 12:23PM
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