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Friday, May 12, 2006

RUSSELL WATSON

Mancunian with a golden voice

He's a lifelong fan of Manchester United, but don't hold that against him.

News photo
Tenor Russell Watson

Russell Watson was at least born round the corner from his favorite soccer club in Manchester's twin city of Salford in the northwest of England. He was also born (in 1973) with an extraordinary voice, honing his singing talents on the local pub and club circuit while working day shifts at a factory.

Russell Watson's "Golden Voice" Japan Tour 2006 is one night at Bunkamura in Shibuya, Tokyo, on May 18.

While Watson, who is entirely self-taught, won't win any points for originality for the tunes he takes on, the public (and his record company) isn't complaining. The tenor, who got his big break singing "Nessun Dorma" at Old Trafford soccer stadium, the home of Manchester United, before a Premier League soccer game, mixes popular Italian arias such as "Granada," "Volare," and "Amore e musica" with familiar pop songs ("Can't Help Falling in Love," "You Are so Beautiful") in his repertoire.

The formula has seen his albums register seven-figure sales and hit the higher reaches of both the classical and pop charts. Watson's debut, 2000's "The Voice," was the first album by a British male to simultaneously occupy top spots in both the American and British classical charts.

Russell Watson performs at Orchard Hall, Bunkamura, 24-1 Dogenzaka 2-chome, Shibuya-ku on May 18 (7 p.m.) with Masako Hayashi (soprano) and the Grand Symphony Tokyo Orchestra and Tokyo City Ensemble, conducted by William Hayward.

Tickets are 8,000 yen, 10,000 yen and 12,000 yen (call the Bunkamura Ticket Center at [03] 3477-9999).



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