Rachel Hurst speaks to Katherine Jenkins OBE ahead of the singer’s date at Hoghton Tower on July 5
The past couple of months have proved something of a rollercoaster ride for singer Katherine Jenkins.
Just short of one month after celebrating her engagement to US fiancé Andrew Levitas in mid-April, she was left devastated by the death of close friend, Polly Noble in early-May.
But, the show must go on for the 33-year-old mezzo-soprano – and with a new album release and string of concerts this summer, Katherine is keeping pretty busy.
“I’m having a day in London of meetings with my stylist planning dresses for my shows, with the record company about the new album,” she says, speaking from the back seat of a car.
“I’ve just literally come back from China so I’m happy for a day in London.”
The popular classical-crossover singer will return to Preston after her well-received performance at the Guild celebrations two years ago when she performs at Hoghton Tower in aid of St Catherine’s Hospice.
She says: “I’m really excited about it.
“I’ll have the full National Symphony Orchestra, who have been touring with me since the beginning, along with my musical director and maestro, Anthony Inglis.
“The Guild concert with José Carreras was an incredible, incredible experience for me because I was singing with someone who I had admired for, gosh, forever!
“It was a beautiful night.
“The setting was gorgeous and I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere. I’m looking forward to coming back to the area and seeing everyone again.
Katherine will perform some of her most popular songs such as Time To Say Goodbye and Hallelulijah as well as classical pieces and classical versions of pop songs and songs from the shows .
“I’ll be premiering some songs from my new album that I’m working on at the moment, so the audience will be getting a little sneaky peek before everybody else,” she adds.
And young music fans will be able to watch the performance for free as Katherine has waived admission fees for under 16s.
“It’s really important that we give opportunities to young people who are interested and want to be involved in music because it is so important.
“I was very lucky to grow up in a place where I felt like I had a lot of culture offered to me so I do think people should be experimenting and listening to new music,” says Katherine.
“You might not always like what you hear but, for me, I love it when I find a new artist or a new art form that I didn’t know about I think it makes us more open-minded people.
“Personally, I think classical music has gone through a bit of a change. I don’t think people feel as intimidated by it as they once might have done.
“Nobody should ever think music is too high brow for them, so it’s important for me to encourage more people to come to the concerts and get involved with the music and enjoy it for what it is.”
The popular event, held in the grounds of Hoghton Tower, is just one of many outdoor events that the Welsh star will perform at this year.
“Outdoor concerts are my absolute favourite because I just feel they have a different sense to them.
“People can come along and it’s very relaxed, you don’t have to wear anything in particular because it’s not a formal setting at all.
“You can bring a picnic and have a bottle of wine and a group of friends and it’s a really lovely environment.”
Katherine adds: “And then at the end we get everybody singing like the Last Night of The Proms with Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia and everybody is waving their flags, it’s just really fun.
“I feel very lucky when I get to do concerts in such gorgeous settings.”
The award-winning singer was awarded an OBE in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to music and for charitable services.
Speaking about receiving her award Katherine says it was something that had never crossed her mind.
She says: “I never thought in a million years that I would be awarded an OBE, especially at 33, it was really overwhelming – a definite pinch-yourself moment, you know?”
“You generally associate those things with people who have been around longer to do their charity work and that kind of thing so I suppose, without realising it, I have been doing this for 10 years, but nevertheless I didn’t expect to get one and I was very humbled.
“My mum always brought my sister and I up to support local charities and to do what you can and when you’re in a position where you have had success and been blessed it’s important to pass that on and St Catherine’s is a very worthwhile cause.”
And with wedding bells in the not-to-distant future, are we going to see Miss Jenkins leave our shores as soon as she become Mrs Levitas?
Katherine says: “Home is definitely the UK.
“I’m obviously Welsh but I’ve lived in London since I was 18 when I went to study at the Royal Academy, so since then I haven’t really gone back to Wales but I still count it and the UK as my home.
“I keep reading all this stuff about me moving to America and that I’m more interested in being there and I’m really, really not.
“You couldn’t meet a person more proud to be British.”
Symphony at The Tower will take place on July 5.