From Wearside to Windsor Castle - ahead of a performance for the Queen’s 90th birthday, Katherine Jenkins wowed the crowds at Herrington Country Park.
It was a show fit for Royalty as the Welsh mezzo-soprano worked her way through a stirring and patriotic programme of music.
Around 2,000 people gathered on picnic blankets and deck chairs to hear tracks from the songbird’s latest album, Celebration.
“The idea behind the programme is finding music that celebrates everything British,” she told the crowd in her distinctive Valleys lilt.
She added: “I’ve been so looking forward to coming to Sunderland, I’ve been told backstage that this is a heatwave for here. These outdoor concerts are my favourite of all. I’ve missed them the past couple of years with having my daughter Aaliyah who’s now seven months.”
With that, she dedicated her next song, You’ll Never Walk Alone, to all the mums out there. In light of recent events, it made the rousing Liverpool FC anthem, sung with such sweet perfection to music by the National Symphony Orchestra, all the more moving.
There are few, if any, performers on the touring circuit as vocally skilled as Katherine. She could sing the phone book and it would sound sublime. Instead, she breathes new life into the standards, such as Jerusalem, and musical odes to her homeland including Cwm Rhondda (Bread of Heaven) and Tom Jones’ Delilah.
Her frock changes were almost as impressive as her vocals, ranging from a striking one shoulder purple number to a sweeping red ball gown perfectly suited to a post-song curtsey and a canary yellow gown that lit up the stage as the sun set over the park.
“I’m going to get you up and moving, when it’s dark and no one gets embarrassed we’ll get you on your feet,” she told the crowd. And she did just that with We Are the Champions and Rugby World Cup anthem, World in Union. The passionate worlds of music and sport also blended together beautifully with her guest performers, violin duo Vladimir and Anton Jablokov, who performed Black Cat classic, Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights.
If there was a roof to be raised at this open air concert (organised through Sunderland Live) Katherine would have done it, spectacularly. Whether singing for Mackems or her Majesty, you get the impression this is a gifted singer who never fails to put on a performance of pure class.