'Britain's Most Loved Tenor ' Russell Watson to perform in a Peterborough church

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Classical crossover star Russell Watson brings his “Magnificent Buildings” tour to Peterborough this month.

​The city centre St John The Baptist Church will host the multi-million album selling tenor in a special concert on October 21.

“The idea came from a day out to Chester with my wife,” says the Classical Brit award winner.

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“We were passing the Cathedral and popped inside, and I thought ‘wow, I’d love to sing in here’. Then we got talking to someone who worked there who said that would be great. Things blossomed from there and we found a promotor who liked the idea and decided to book cathedrals, churches and abbeys all around the country.”

Russell Watson performs at St John's Church, Peterborough city centre, on October 21Russell Watson performs at St John's Church, Peterborough city centre, on October 21
Russell Watson performs at St John's Church, Peterborough city centre, on October 21

The “Magnificent Buildings” are a far cry from huge arenas and theatres – Russell has also sang before 90,000 football fans – but as he points out: “They are all the types of places that lend themselves to noisy human beings such as myself. It is the acoustic value of them, they are buildings that in many respects were built for singing. More often than not and I just walk into a place and I want to sing.”

So what can audiences expect?

“Again the repertoire almost chooses itself,” he says. “In respect of the sacred arias, Ave Maria, Panis Angelicus, those types of pieces, and the great British traditional hymns – How Great Thou Art and Abide With Me – and then I have the classical arias. Most of it is the big, noisy stuff that people know me for.”

As well having an amazing voice, Russell is well known for keeping audiences entertained, something he prides himself on and pits down to his formative years in the business more than 30 years ago.

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As he says: “I can sing and I can talk as well, which stems from the period of time in the initial steps of my career which the classical world frowned upon. I come from a working class background and had period of time singing in working men’s clubs, but it is that which put me in good stead as a performer and good communicator too.”

But singing is of course what he does best, especially live. “To me that is what it is all about,” he says. “I enjoy the process of making records, I enjoy the interviews, talking to people and TV performances but on stage is where it is at.

"It doesn’t matter how I am feeling. I walk out from the side of the stage, the light hits my face and there is a transition, a switch flicks and wham I am there in the arena and it is all about the performance.”

Russell will be accompanied by long-time collaborator Mike Moran on the piano.

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"He used to play piano for Freddie Mercury and wrote Barcelona for Freddie and opera singer Montserrat Caballé,” says Russell. “He’s a bit of a legend himself. We have been working together for more than 20 years and it is quite special.”

Tickets at www.oeplive.com