Tenor Russell Watson to treat fans to classics at Greenwich Music Time

By Beth Allcock on July 17, 2014 11:04 AM |



A chirpy Russell Watson admits he's had his head buried in the history books in preparation for a trip to SE10 this summer.

As well as helping kick off celebrations for Le Tour de France's Yorkshire leg and clocking up the hours in the recording studio, the "Salford lad" has been cluing up on Greenwich as the venue for his August gig.

The tenor will take to the stage at The Old Royal Naval College as part of the town's inaugural Greenwich Music Time Festival, running from August 20-23.

Accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, he'll perform on the third of four nights, with headliners Goldfrapp, The Australian Pink Floyd Show and Jools Holland also on the bill.

But he reveals he's never set foot in the grounds of Sir Christopher Wren's creation.

"I didn't know much about The Old Royal Naval College until now," said Russell.

"I have been looking at some images and the history though and it looks like a fantastic place for a show.

"I am used to singing at grand stately events, even some state events, and it never takes away from the excitement of performing somewhere that's absolutely stunning architecturally.

"Sometimes when we are doing an outdoor location you will arrive and realise the glamorous location is a drive away, and you're stuck in a field next to it.

"This spot is bang in the middle, set in between the two buildings and it's going to look absolutely incredible."

He says the acoustics will inevitably be a challenge and there's always the tricky issue of the weather - but he's got an impressive track record of dodging the showers on stage.

As well as belting out some classics from Les Miserables, the 47-year-old said his fans would also be treated to his classical operatic repertoire.

"I'm looking at bringing out the big guns as well," he said.

"We will do the usual prom-style festival fare with Land Of Hope And Glory and Swing Low, that type of material, in between all of that the Les Mis repertoire and the classical opera arias. And the fans have their favourites too.

"Believe it or not, these favourites are diverse from You Raise Me Up right through to Nessun Dorma, which are very, very different styles to perform on stage.

"I do enjoy singing the operatic stuff and it doesn't get much better than the Royal Philharmonic.

"If you've got this classical orchestra playing for you, it's generally going to be a great show."

Festival-goers may also witness a duet - perhaps with singer Kerry Ellis - who is also on the bill.

Russell mused a track like The Prayer may be one to tick all the boxes for the pair.

And, after a setlist containing a collection of the singer's "big, strong ballads", his fans can expect more in the same vein, with a new album release scheduled for next winter.

Aug 20-23, Greenwich Music Time,

Old Royal Naval College, Go to greenwichmusictime.co.uk.