SHE first burst onto the classical music scene in 2003 aged just 16 with her debut best-selling album, Pure. Now, just five years on, New Zealand singing sensation Hayley Westenra is about to impressively release her 'best of' album, River Of Dreams, aptly coinciding with her current UK tour.
Starting the proceedings at Hanley's Victoria Hall on Saturday night, the audience was filled with anticipation – and quite rightly so after last year's hugely successful concert that raised a fantastic amount for UNICEF.
As the charity's youngest ambassador it was no surprise that the proceeds of this concert would also benefit the charity, with all monies raised being divided equally between this and COPA; an organisation designed to support communities in the Dominican Republic.
Opening with Prayer, a Celtic piece about Hansel and Gretel, Hayley quickly displayed her vocal ability that oozed like melted honey through the hall. If there was ever a chance to witness first hand how effective the acoustics in the Victoria Hall are, this was it.
At times hauntingly beautiful and at others sincerely pure, this is a woman who, despite her young age, is able to grasp the meaning behind the song and project it emotionally.
Whether it was the popular Maori song Pokarekare Ana, her version of Fleetwood Mac's gentile Songbird, the beautiful Scarborough Fair or Kate Bush's passionate Wuthering Heights, Hayley nailed them all. Her concept seemed simple, yet impossible to master.
And, as an added bonus, young string quartet Raven, accompanying Hayley on the tour, treated the audience to a selection of music that highlighted their obvious talent.
Mature in nature with a voice to match, Hayley Westenra has certainly come along way in a short time. Judging by Saturday's success, it seems doubtful that her first greatest hits album will be her last.
I've jusr deleted my follow up comment from the Aberdeen thread too.
The gist was that I was very impressed with the acoustics of the Victoria Hall. I usually comment about such things, but in this hall the acoustic does not intrude, so we hear a very natural sounding Hayley. And as I have said before, the less you do to Hayley's fabulous voice, the better it sounds.
I tend to make comments about the acoustic where it intrudes, the dead sound of the Buxton opera house, the excessive reverberation in KOKO, the brighness of the Birminghan Symphony Hall. But the Victoria Hall is good fo its naturalness, it didn't seem to colour the sound at all, and I think contributed to a wonderful musivcal experience.
Hayley sang Never Saw Blue?? I see she sang it in Aberdeen, too. Now, I really wish Hayley would tour the U.S. soon, because I would absolutely love to hear her sing that live! Songbird and Sonny, too! I think her songlist so far has been one of the best I've seen! It's interesting, though, that several of the songs are not even on the River of Dreams album, but I guess if she only stuck with that, it wouldn't be much different than usual. She must want it be extra special for this tour.
Thanks for all the photos! I like the series of expressions in Martin's photos! Who was she talking to, and what was so amusing?
Simple answer on the money front is we dont know! We wont know for about a month, until the Victoria Hall send us the ticket money. I know how much money was taken from that but there are all the halls deductions, booking fees etc. to come out of it yet. The one thing i can say for definate though is it wont be anywhere near as much as it was last year as we couldnt find a sponsor for the event this year like we did last year. I will let you all know once i know how much was raised! Thanks to all who came and made it such a special night for everyone there!