Last week Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire was the host of a much glittering occasion that had three main guests: Katherine Jenkins, Russell Watson and Elaine Page. On my persistent enquiries on Twitter the repertoire was not quite leaked near the time to see exactly what KJ and RW played for this rare acoustic concert. Le Manoir’s twitter staffers were very good at deflecting criticism especially when I expressed my disappointment that such low brow acts were booked for their rich and eminent clientele. After all, on those three nights it cost £450 for the concert but included a Laurent-Perrier Champagne and canapé reception prior to the concerts followed by a five course meal with accompanying wines, coffee and petits fours after the performance , as explained to an emailed response. Interestingly this was also a rare occasion that both of them sang an acoustic set with a piano…aka what all recitalists normally do.
But what did the patrons of this illustrious establishment listened to? (list appended as communicated by them)
4 October 2012 – Katherine Jenkins
Habanera – Georges Bizet
Les Filles de Cadiz – Léo Delibes
Pie Jesu – Gabriel Fauré
Hallelujah – Leonard Norman Cohen
Music of the night – Andrew Lloyd Webber
Angel – Sarah McLachlan
I dreamed a dream – Claude-Michel Schönberg
A nightingale sang in Berkeley Square – Manning Sherwin
Parla piu piano (love theme from the Godfather) – Nino Rota
I could have danced all night – Music by Frederick Loewe, Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Plus an encore
5 October 2012 – Russell Watson
‘O sole mio
18th variation on a theme of Paganini
Vesti la giubba
Parla piu piano
Piano Solo: Waltz in C# minor Chopin
So it was the predictable mix of off-key opera arias and the mainstay repertoire of popular entertainers. Glad to see that KJ still only has one aria proper in her armoury…and both share the Godfather theme.
It’s a list that puzzles in its thrown together nature but it also betrays that they know their audience well and give them what they want…the famous bits from their CDs.
It seems that in the past Le Manoir had been host to Montserrat Caballé which goes to prove some of their seasons have aimed much higher. Thank heavens for the Wigmore Hall who allows access to the greatest classical recitalists all year round. If you know anyone that went to those two concerts maybe drag them to a recital so they can see what the real thing is like. At least they had the benefit of delicious food!
PS I had no reason to ask for Elaine Page’s set as she is a singer that I respect for her dedication to musical theatre. And surely not one to be a stranger to an intimate recital or two.