Paul Potts seemed at home on stage under the bright lights of the Civic Theatre on Saturday night, and the audience responded warmly to his musical repertoire, giving him a standing ovation for an encore to hear his trademark Nessun Dorma, the aria that gave this endearing Welshman his golden ticket to sing around the world.
REVIEW: The night of song was enhanced by the New Zealand-based orchestra playing a great selection of music, led by musical director Chris Taylor.
Potts added touches of humour with anecdotes of his life in Wales, which gave the audience the chance to kick back and relax into an evening of many familiar tunes - in particular, Potts' rendition of a medley of Mario Lanza's old-time love ballads struck a chord with many.
Potts was adept at portraying the character Rodolfo from Puccini's La Boheme through the colouration of the beautiful aria Che Gelida Manina.
It is clear Potts' has a genuine empathy to music, and he has taken the chance to introduce opera to people who otherwise would never have experienced it.
The real surprise of the evening was the stunning performance by Anna Hawkins, a singer from the Waikato. She captured the true essence of the aria O Mio Babbino Caro, and her dynamic stage presence and resonating voice filled the theatre.
Potts and Hawkins performed the duet The Prayer, and the themes of "love eternal" and "hope for peace and a better world" were present in the songs throughout the evening - quite apt for our Southland community over the Easter season and Anzac weekend.
Pottsy, take a bow. La Luce Splendera!
- The Southland Times