WonderHall Festival Review: Russell Watson wows the crowd at Lytham Hall

The Lytham community was the theme as Russell Watson produced a simply outstanding performance in Sunday’s WonderHall open air concert at Lytham Hall.

By Julian Wilde
Monday, 30th August 2021, 3:45 pm
Updated Monday, 30th August 2021, 3:54 pm

Expertly compered throughout by the well-informed Graham Liver, BBC Radio Lancashire’s breakfast presenter, the evening got off to a fine start with a spirited set from the Lytham

Community Choir, directed by a jovial Graham Warrington.

The shelter provided by the woodlands and the imposing splendour of the purple-lit Hall means that the location stands up strongly to comparisons with the Lytham Festival on the Green,

Russell Watson at Lytham's WonderHall

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    sadly postponed again this summer.

    Attention to detail is the hallmark of Lytham-based promoters Peter Taylor and Daniel Cuffe and the audience responded warmly to the welcome from the stewards and volunteers.

    From his first word, ‘Lytham’ Russell Watson was clearly delighted to be back, finally live on stage, in a town he loves. Choosing his material skillfully and often singing in lilting Italian, he

    showcased the richness and power of his voice immediately, starting with ‘O Sole Mio’.

    The Last Night of the Proms evening, headlining Russell Watson

    There were whoops and hollers at the end of each number, but the audience largely sat still, silent and spellbound by the sheer beauty of his voice. Watson excels in singing softly and

    slowly, notably in ‘The Music of the Night’, before building to a crescendo, holding the note perfectly.

    ‘Empty Chairs and Empty Tables’ was especially dramatic.

    We learned with astonishment that it is Watson’s pianist Mike Moran who wrote ‘Barcelona’ with Freddie Mercury and accomplished soprano Emily Haig joined him to bring the first half to a

    WonderHall Festival on Sunday

    rousing close.

    All the proceeds from this concert are going to the continuing restoration of Lytham Hall and grounds and the presentation of £153,000, followed by ‘Volare’ and ‘Funiculi, Funicula’

    launched a happy second half.

    Relaxed, funny and often Lancashire in his introductions and anecdotes, Russell Watson was in complete control.

    Backed by the powerful playing of the Heart of England Philharmonic Orchestra he ended a memorable show with ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, as thousands of Union Jacks waved in the

    Lytham sky.