It's not every day a world famous opera singer performs at a local restaurant but that’s exactly what Russell Watson will do when he visits Chester eatery Opera Grill for a prestigious evening sponsored by luxury jeweller Boodles on Thursday (May 18).
The Salford-born tenor, who shot to fame in 2001 after his debut, The Voice, became the fastest selling classical album since the Three Tenors, will entertain 120 guests at an exclusive event at the glamorous and aptly named Pepper Street restaurant – one of the most intimate venues he has performed in since beginning his career more than 25 years ago.
It will certainly make a change from the venues he has performed in in the past, which include the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Albert Hall and Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall in February.
But Russell, 50, whose previous audiences include the late Pope John Paul II, former U.S Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and the Queen, said: “I always enjoy performing in intimate venues as I get to be closer to my audience and it’s always a thrill to see their reactions.”
The four times Classical Brit Awards winner and the first British male to take the number one spot in both the UK and US Classical charts at the same time, will perform two 15-minute sets on the night, with songs on the menu to include a selection of tracks spanning his 17 year recording career.
Jody Wainwright, from sponsor Boodles said: “We are delighted to be involved in such a prestigious event at Opera with a such a star performer.
“Chester is such a vibrant place and it is a huge coup to be able to welcome a top talent like Russell to the city.”
Diners, who are asked to don black tie or, for the ladies, ‘something fabulous’ for the occasion, will enjoy Aperol Spritz and canapes followed by a sumptuous three course dinner, Remy Martin cognacs adding the perfect finishing touch.
Marketing director at Campari UK Nick Williamson said: “We’re really excited to support this event - Opera Grill is the perfect environment for an Aperol Spritz.”
The prestigious performance, which will also feature professional singer Simon Greenhill and the all female electric-acoustic string group String Infusion Ensemble, is the restaurant’s second evening of opera since it opened last August, with more performances planned for later in the year.
The swish restaurant includes a dedicated events space on the upper level, with space for 120 people in the Gallery Restaurant and private dining room and another 40 in the music bar.
Regular events currently include the Sing Out Gospel Choir every Sunday and covers band The Collective on Fridays.
The cast of ITVBe's Real Housewives of Cheshire recently filmed an episode of the show at the Chester restaurant.
General manager of Opera Grill Tom Culshaw said: “We are thrilled to welcome Russell to our stage at Opera and after the recent success of Jonathan Antoine’s performance, we are looking forward to another fantastic evening here at our restaurant.”
Simon Williams, partner at Jolliffe & Co Solicitors in Chester, also sponsoring the evening said: “Jonathan Antoine, known from Britain’s Got Talent as the ‘Young Pavarotti’, performed at Opera Grill recently and was incredibly well received by people of all ages.
“At Jolliffes we are used to supporting all kinds of talent with our work and are keen to bring the best to Chester. That’s why we are supporting this event.
“Russell Watson, fresh from the Palladium will be fantastic and we are really looking forward to the evening.”
Retail operations manager of co-sponsor Turmeaus Cigars & Tobacco Chester Sara Mckinnon added: “We are delighted to be supporting this fabulous event.”
November 2016 saw the release of Russell’s eleventh studio album, True Stories and the tenor will perform at the British Proms at Bolesworth Castle in Cheshire on September 2.