Music

Christmas with Katherine Jenkins

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

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Keith Bruce, three stars

THE big news of Katherine Jenkins’s December tour has been that she is expecting her second child, and Glasgow heard the revelation that she knows it is a boy. So in her seasonal state of infanticipation, the Welsh singer can be excused from serving up a high-energy show, but nonetheless there was something just a little routine and formulaic about her performance on Wednesday evening.

While singers from Tony Bennett to Elvis Costello have regularly dispensed with amplification to demonstrate that it is possible to fill the acoustic of Glasgow Royal Concert Hall with one voice, Jenkins has honed her microphone technique (a big glittery one for Yule) to ensure that her operatic way with a carol is always the at the required level over the forces of a chamber orchestra full of well-known faces from Scotland’s orchestral scene.

Conductor Anthony Inglis directed the scratch band – which was intriguingly laid out for balance, but included a fairly awful-sounding electric piano – through a mixed bag of repertoire. Jenkins had a nice story about Howard Blake’s Walking in the Air from The Snowman, which the composer himself may have shared with her when he joined her to conduct it at the Royal Albert Hall two days previously, but her song from an earlier year’s Dr Who Christmas special proved to be just as forgettable as it has been forgotten.

It was a medley of Christmas pop hits – Let It Snow, Winter Wonderland, Jingle Bell Rock and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – that, perhaps surprisingly, showed off her voice to best advantage. That nostalgic vein was also mined by Australian tenor Mark Vincent, whose retro style is squarely aiming for the so-kitsch-it’s-cool category.

At the end of a day many would have spent ticking off the shopping list, Jenkins had the simple aim of “making us feel Christmassy”. There is no sense in analysing that target, this shapely blonde woman knew she meant, and a packed auditorium would chorus “job done”.