Hampton Court Palace
Friday 23 June 1995
There was dutiful applause for David Gimenez and the English Chamber Orchestra's performance of Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet overture, during which the blackbird obbligato mingled intriguingly with the opening woodwind theme. It was sent packing with the final impressive timpani roll, made even more thunderous by the bass-favoured amplification. Not that anyone cared. They were waiting for Carreras, who began with "L'esule", the first of four Verdi orchestral songs. After a helicopter almost ruined the second one, Carreras made a wisecrack about the world's favourite airline and the audience relaxed visibly. The applause was polite if a shade unenthusiastic, but then the same might be said for the performance. Here was a man holding something in reserve.
We all trooped through the Anne Boleyn Gateway into the formal gardens for the serious business of the evening, the interval. Entire meals appeared beneath the spreading yew trees. Clearly hungry for the Best Picnic award, one group desported themselves on a green tartan blanket bedecked with groaning faux-silver platters, catering courtesy of Harrods. Adding to the sybaritic pleasure was the 20-piece red-suited Runnymede Brass Band galumphing their way through such songs as Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Love Changes Everything".
The second half took place after dusk under powerful stage lighting, much to the consternation of a trumpeter who had obviously run out of much-needed insect repellent. After two spirited orchestral pieces from La vida breve, Carreras completed his brief programme with Manuel de Falla's set of seven Spanish songs. Too often lost to the "can belto" school of high-octane singing alongside the larger voices of Pavarotti and Domingo, it is easy to forget that Carreras is famous for his arrestingly sweet lyric tone. His performance of the De Falla was detailed and beautifully characterised, but again it confused most of his audience who wanted the greatest hits. They got them with five encores. After two popular Italian songs he launched into "With a Song in My Heart", once the theme of Two- Way Family Favourites, and if there had been a roof, it would gone skywards. With the audience with him at last, his singing took off. After all, pouring out your heart to a live audience is what singing is all about, isn't it?
'At times I thought he was me'film
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 2 Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
- 3 Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Christmas 2014: The three most intriguing celebrity panto appearances
Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Beyonce '7/11' music video: Star bounces on bed and films daughter Blue Ivy in lo-fi homage to viral video
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage from Lana Del Rey rape video
X Factor 2014 results: Only The Young leave show in double elimination weekend
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services