You may have seen her playing the role of the judge on ITV’s ‘Popstar To Operastar’, but it seems like Katherine Jenkins is trying the reverse. Having scored six number one Classical albums in the past decade, it appears Miss Jenkins is enjoying centre stage and wants to prove she can do it all. Having wowed the critics with her dancing skills alongside Darcey Bussell in ‘Viva La Diva’, Jenkins has pulled out all the stops for her debut UK Arena tour. Accompanied by a competent crew of dancers, Katherine Jenkins invites you into her own world of wonder.
The somewhat themed evening lacks punch, often losing its through line when the concept no longer suits the material. Technical hiccups may have hindered proceedings, but Jenkins proved a trooper as she ignored any mistakes that were being made around her. The ensemble surrounding her are colourful and entertaining, with plenty of opportunity to shine. Guest appearances from Escala and Amaury Vassili were far from notable. Vassili seemed like a nervous school boy and was far too easily overpowered by Jenkins in both duets. Though redemption came as he covered for a costume change with a blistering rendition of “Io Ti Amero”.
Spectacle combined with sensational delivery to prove the combination could work.
As for the girl from Neath who became the Forces Sweetheart, the career trajectory appears to be going somewhat amiss. Having proved herself to be a versatile performer, Jenkins appears to want to push the boundaries further. With the set awash wish pop covers alongside contemporary classical favourites, Jenkins failed to really light the spark. When the need for a spectacle was forgotten and Jenkins just sang, hearts melted. In particular simple renditions of the Lara Fabian hit ‘Adagio’ and the love theme from Godfather “Parla Piu Piano” were delivered with captivating force. There were fleeting moments when spectacle combined with sensational delivery to prove the combination could work. Jenkins proved a fearless performer in a mesmerising controlled vocal performance of “Angel” which was combined with unexpected aerial prowess. Equally the overblown “Bring Me To Life” oozed charm and never overstepped the mark.
The same can’t be said for the lacklustre “I Believe” or poorly performed “Who Wants To Live Forever”. In neither case was Jenkins to blame, remaining focused at all times but the stifled delivery of the choreography surrounding her proved an irritable distraction. But it was a cringeworthy rendition of Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry” that proved the most memorable of the evening, but for all the wrong reasons. Jenkin’s delicate vocal seemed misplaced on the Marley classic, with choreographing appearing half rehearsed. Delivered as a duet alongside Stephen Webb, Jenkins voice was too big for the song whilst Webb was a little boy lost.
Katherine Jenkins seems to have undergone a change. As the albums have progressed, the move into ‘classical pop’ has heightened and Katherine Jenkins has gone from humble performer to super glam celeb. There is no doubting that stripped back to basics, Katherine Jenkins shines but by trying to ensure that the show has mass appeal only weakens the end effect. Jenkins has brought ‘classical pop’ to the masses, but she needs to decide if she is a Popstar or an Operastar.
Image by Warwick Saint.