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7th to 25th June, 2005 - reviewed 15th June < you are here
Hampton Court Palace FESTIVAL 2005

Hayley at Hampton Court

Yesterday evening I went to the Hampton Court Palace Festival to see Hayley in concert with Jose Carreras and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and I met up with several other members of HWI.

The British weather was as unpredictable as ever, and the morning was wet and windy. Happily it was warm and sunny when Hayley arrived with her manager Steve Abbott, just before 5pm. They were welcomed by Keith, Roger and myself, but Hayley told us she had picked up a chest infection since she returned from her tour of Japan last week, so she didn't want to talk too much to save her voice. A few minutes later Lothar arrived from Berlin, and Emmett from Dublin. Eventually Dave appeared , then we all went into Base Court where we met Paul.

The first half of the concert featured Jose Carreras singing some of his famous songs and arias, together with a couple of orchestral pieces. After about 45 minutes there was an interval of 75 minutes, so we all went out into the gardens and took pictures of each other, and the lenses survived!

It was nearly dark after the interval, and Hayley opened the second half by singing "Pokarekare Ana" completely unaccompanied, to everybody's surprise. She then sang "May It Be" from Lord of the Rings, followed by "In Trutina" from Carmina Burana. She completed her solo spot with "Ave Maria" by Caccini, and said it will be on her new album due for release in the autumn. Jose Carreras returned to sing two more songs, then Hayley joined him to sing a duet of "All I Ask Of You" from Phantom of the Opera, and their voices blended perfectly. The orchestra then played a lively polka by Josef Strauss before Jose returned to sing the last two songs in the published programme.

Then came four encores. Jose sang two songs, then Hayley joined him again and they repeated the duet of "All I Ask Of You". It sounded even better the second time, and the 2,700-strong crowd gave them both a standing ovation. Jose then sang one more song and the concert ended just after 11pm.

Hayley sang with her usual purity and perfection, and nobody would have guessed that she had a bad chest. She wore a glittering light grey dress that really sparkled in the spotlights. Her shoulders were bare, but there was only a gentle breeze blowing across the stage and it wasn't too cold.

Base Court was a truly magnificent setting for such a wonderful concert, especially after dark when the famous Hampton Court chimneys were bathed in red floodlighting. I was sitting in one of the cheaper seats, but I was in the front row at the left hand side of the stage, with a marvellous view of Hayley and Jose. Much better than many of the seats costing nearly twice as much!

Roger and Lothar had to dash off after the concert to catch a train, but the rest of us stayed behind for about half an hour to meet Hayley. Keith presented Hayley with a copy of the DVD that Kirsty recorded of her performance at Olympia in March. We all had a nice little chat with Hayley and she thanked us for our support, then we kissed her goodnight and went our separate ways.

Talking to Steve during the evening, we now know that Hayley's new album is going to be titled "Odyssey", to reflect the fabulous journey that her career has taken her on during the last couple of years. It was also announced in the programme that Hayley is soon to have a starring role in a major West End musical, and there will be an official announcement later this year.

Now I'm really looking forward to Hayley's new album in the autumn, and I hope to see everybody again soon.

Richard Norrington
16th June 2005

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