A winter warmer from the Welsh diva
Zoe Street Howe 2007
Comely Welsh warbler Katherine Jenkins is here to bring sexy back to opera – again – and with an album festively titled ''Rejoice'', it's out just in time for those of you who want to snap up a slice of La Jenkins for your friends (or depending on their taste, enemies) this Christmas.
If you love her golden-voiced, lip-glossed, Barbie Doll charms (and are not the kind of lecherous philistine who prefers to watch her on TV with the sound down) then this album will tick all sorts of boxes. From the off we can enjoy the haunting toots of Irish Uillean bagpipes (on opening track, "Rejoice"), glistening strings abound, and of course, sackloads of Radio 2-friendly classics such as "Sancta Maria", "I Who Have Nothing", "Kiss From A Rose" and "Secret Love". She also pours syrup all over the heartbreaking "Somewhere" ( from West Side Story).
Without wishing to be unkind, if you're not looking for anything new or original, but a slice of utterly professional light opera of the 21st century type, then you’re quite safe here. Although there are a couple of new ditties on here written by Gary Barlow. The sweeping but rather forgettable "Viva Tonight" being one of them.
This is a soft, comforting security blanket of an album, and it's merit lies in that cuddly aural safety. And that can often be just what we need on a chilly winter's day when the world outside seems far too cruel to contemplate. But can this schmaltzathon compete with the usual wintry fare of tried-and-tested Rat Pack treasures, Nat King Cole or dear, dear Bing? No, because nothing ever could.
If you're a Jenkins-nut you'll have to have this. But if you really want a traditional winter warmer we'd advise you to save your cash for some tangerines and walnuts for those Christmas stockings and leave the seasonal strains to Sinatra instead.