Westenra @ Bridgewater Hall
In an age when youth is king, a pixie from the land of The
Lord Of The Rings popped up to entertain classical music fans
Zealander Hayley Westenra, looking a refreshingly real
16-year-old rather than a raunched-up Britney or Christina,
played convincingly to a receptive and record-buying audience.
the sort of shot to the arm the Beethoven industry requires
once in a while, Hayley combined pop and classic with a touch
of Maori and a twist of folksiness.
album, Pure, became the fastest-selling classical debut last
year, and she continued to ride the wave of easy listening
music to wash dishes by with numbers such as Never Say Goodbye.
teenager's performance of Amazing Grace was powerful and her
stab at Ave Maria was as beautifully moving as any operatic
between her numerous dress changes she was ably supported
by the classical Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins, who sang
traditional Celtic shanties.
show wobbled thematically with New Age mysticism as Hayley
did her Maori songs to a backing video of California-style
gymnastics on a beach.
her younger brother and sister, Isaac and Sophie, appeared
on stage with a sweet if slightly cloying rendition of Greensleeves.
the little lad got up like a junior snooker player and his
sister all sparkly, they looked like a family entry at a pub
talent contest at one point.
Hayley stormed to the finale with her single-release cover
of Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights, capturing all the off-kilter
and kooky appeal of the original.
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