Russell starred in a Gala For The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 2nd June 2012 and took a show on that theme around the country.
While Natasha Marsh supported Russell at the Royal Albert Hall he was supported on the Tour by 24 year old Laura Wright, a Soprano who won BBC Radio 2’s Young Chorister Of The Year competition in 2005. You may recognise her as having been a member of All Angels for a time. She is now a solo artist, signed to Decca, and her latest album is Glorious; she has recently appeared with Noah Stewart on ITV’s ‘Dancing On Ice’. Laura was also featured recently on Classic FM’s website where she discussed her current and forthcoming engagements.
Having started on his ‘home turf’ at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, Russell’s Tribute To The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee began on 31st May. The programme included all of the anthems from the new album except for Proud. Laura Wright was unable to perform due to a throat infection so Lisa Hill from the backing singers, Capital Voices, sang White Cliffs Of Dover with Russell, having had only the briefest of rehearsals but so well that she earned herself a thoroughly deserved standing ovation. In the second half Kimberly Akester, also from Capital Voices, joined him for Rule Britannia. A brilliant start to the tour.
He then starred in matinée and evening performances of the Gala For The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 2nd June 2012 when he was supported by Natasha Marsh while Jae Alexander, latterly dressed in a glittery ‘John Bull’ waistcoat and tails, conducted the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, and special guests The Military Wives Choir blended their voices with those of the Royal Choral Society to give a wonderful evening that was more Last Night Of The Proms than a ‘proper’ Russell concert but rousing and uplifting – just as Russell said he wanted it to be.
Returning to the Tribute Tour theme, Russell then headed straight to Birmingham for another roof-raiser at the Symphony Hall, followed immediately by a picnic-style Last Night Of The Proms concert at Speke Hall, Liverpool, where the afternoon was dry and fairly warm, though the evening turned cool enough for Russell to see his own breath condensing in the chilly air. The programme included The Beatles’ number Yesterday by way of tribute to the local Fab Four.
Russell was slightly late on stage at Plymouth Pavilions, having only just been beaten to the venue by the orchestra, as everyone except the redoubtable Rob Emery seemed to have got caught up in traffic problems.
It appears that Portsmouth was treated to Vesti La Giubba, that’s one that we’ve not heard live before.
The Summer Concert with Hartlepool Male Voice Choir saw The Borough Hall packed to capacity. As well as songs from ‘Anthems’ and a couple of the familiar arias, Russell sang Granada, and finished with Core ‘n Grato; truly fantastic, live.
Sheffield seemed a bit ‘subdued’ with not so much audience reaction and not many flags in evidence, but Newcastle appears to have made up for it. The outdoor concert at Waddesdon saw the hardy Brits braving the cold and keeping warm with all that flag-waving.
The finale was at the Royal Hall, Nottingham last night, and it was a gem. Russell cried (really!) at the end of Danny Boy and his Caruso was the most impassioned version we’ve heard him sing. Torreadore was one of his encores and that was brilliant, too. Great finish. He had to dash straight off as he had to catch a flight to Washington early on Sunday morning.
Venues for the Tour –
1 Bridgewater Hall Manchester on Thursday 31st May 2012
The two Royal Albert Hall Gala performances were on Saturday 2nd June 2012
2 Symphony Hall Birmingham on Sunday 3rd June 2012
The Speke Hall picnic concert at Liverpool was on Monday 4th June 2012
3 Plymouth Pavilions on Friday 8th June 2012
4 Portsmouth Guildhall on Sunday 10th June 2012
The Hartlepool Male Voice Choir Celebrity Summer Concert was on 16th June 2012
5 St.David’s Hall Cardiff on Sunday 17th June 2012
6 Sheffield City Hall on Friday 22nd June 2012
7 Newcastle City Hall on Saturday 23rd June 2012
The Waddesdon Manor picnic concert at Aylesbury was on Friday 29th June 2012
8 Royal Hall Nottingham on Saturday 30th June 2012
_______________________________________________________________Press and Media clips –
Review of the Plymouth Pavilions concert on SouthWestShows
Review of the Portsmouth Guildhall concert in the Southern Daily Echo
Review of the Portsmouth Guildhall concert in The News (Portsmouth.co.uk)
Photos from Birmingham by Graham Halford Photography (on Facebook).
Photos from Speke Hall on their own Facebook page.
Photos from Speke Hall by Christopher Canty Photography.
Preview of the Newcastle City Hall concert on Chronicle.Live
Preview of the Sheffield City Hall concert in the Yorkshire Post
_______________________________________________________________Pre-Tour adverisements and features –
An advert for St.David’s Hall, Cardiff on BritEvents … cheapest tickets £95!
A brief advertisement on Visit Manchester for the Bridgewater Hall concert
A feature from the (Birmingham) Express & Star of 31st January 2012
An advertisement from The Plymouth Post of 16th December 2011
An advertisement from Superbreaks for ticket and hotel package deals
A pre-sale that’s not exactly a pre-sale since tickets are already available
An adverisement from SouthWestShows for Plymouth Pavilions