Katherine Jenkins sings Dolly Parton – in Italian (I wish I’d been there)


To take Katherine Jenkins for what she is, and for what her marketing people say she is, are two very different things. Saturday’s sell-out concert at the Usher Hall, backed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, made this abundantly clear.

There are two things she is not. Her gushy publicity machine casts her as a diva, yet her programme notes describe such a phenomenon as “a singer with a talent that is rare and magnificent enough to border almost on the eccentric”, and one who is “powerful enough to stand and sing alone”.Yet Saturday’s playlist – a regular wash of mainly soft sanitised pop, from tamed Edith Piaf to that ear-achingly repetitive Time to Say Goodbye – was unflaggingly safe, emotionally static and hardly eccentric, and she makes use of a microphone which masks weaknesses in her top register

Neither is Jenkins “the premiere ambassador for classical music”, a genre she herself alluded to throughout the evening. To actually believe that translating Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You – given fame via Whitney Houston’s fierce rendition – into Italian is “giving it the classical treatment” is as crass as translating beans on toast into French and calling it nouvelle cuisine.

Here she has a mass following – one so blindingly loyal it even broke into applause when her throat dried up and she had to start one number all over again. She is indeed beautiful, coy and personable, and when she sings easy-on-the-ear ballads it’s easy to understand the popular appeal and to forget the pretentious marketing drivel.

Go on Katherine, be yourself. That’s the true secret to your success


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