International opera star Russell Watson delighted guests at a Chester restaurant when he took to the stage for an exclusive one-off performance sponsored by luxury jeweller Boodles and solicitors Jolliffe & Co.
About 120 diners at the Opera Grill on Pepper Street looked on in wonder as the Salford born ‘People’s Tenor’ and four times Classical Brit Awards winner sang a selection of tracks from albums spanning his career of more than 25 years, including Ave Maria, When I Fall In Love, Jerusalem and You Raise Me Up.
Audience members danced and cheered as the singer, whose debut album The Voice, in 2001, became the fastest selling classical album since the Three Tenors, performed.
It was an unusually intimate show for the tenor, whose previous audiences include the late Pope John Paul II, former USPresidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush and the Queen.
Speaking about his rise to fame Russell said: “I remember when I was invited to sing at the Vatican for Pope John Paul II, it was one of the most incredible nights of my life.
“There I was with a 140 piece orchestra behind me just three years after I came out of singing in working men’s clubs in Salford and I thought blimey, I’ve come a long way.”
Director at Individual Restaurants Tim Crutchley, the company that owns Opera Grill, said the event was a huge hit with guests.
He said: “It was an incredible evening. Guests who had seen Russell at the Royal Albert Hall said seeing him perform here in our beautiful restaurant was even better.
“Everyone was just awestruck by the performance.”
Russell finished his performance in true English style with Land of Hope and Glory, with all female string ensemble String Infusion continuing the music until midnight.
The star’s next appearance in the area will be at the British Proms at Bolesworth Castle on September 2.