Christmas came early to Llandudno courtesy of classical music stars Aled Jones and Russell Watson.
The North Walian native and former resident of Gwrych Castle were performing at Venue Cymru on Saturday, November 19.
The Classic FM presenter and former I’m A Celebrity…. contestant were in full-on festive mood despite it still only being mid-November, following wonderful support act Natasha Hemmings and kicking off the show with their version of the Bing Crosby classic It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
They were obviously buoyed by the early Christmas gift of their latest album Christmas with Aled and Russell, which the 21-date tour was promoting, having reached the Official Classical Music Chart’s top spot the day before.
The show itself included some stunning versions of hymns and traditional carols including O Little Town of Bethlehem, and a moving rendition of Silent Night in English, Welsh and German.
O Holy Night, voted the nation’s favourite carol, proved spine-tingling with Russell’’s voice allowed to soar, while Aled’s vocal abilities shone on the song Still Still Still.
Christmas standards were showcased including a sumptuous version of White Christmas and a beautiful reimagining of the Judy Garland classic Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
More contemporary festive favourites like Chris de Burgh’s A Spaceman Came Travelling, I believe in Father Christmas and Cliff Richard’s Mistletoe and Wine also proved hugely popular thanks in part to the backing of Colwyn Bay-based members of The Rock Choir sharing the stage with the classical music performers.
It was clear the pair enjoyed each other’s company and were experiencing something of a bromance.
The show was full of banter in both English and Welsh, plus enjoyable insights and revealing anecdotes including the fact Aled was looking forward to the festive period largely due to the prevalence of wine, while Russell had recorded his vocals for In the Bleak Midwinter at his farm during one of the hottest days ever recorded in the UK earlier this year.
The fun and frolics translated into their setlist with the frothy Feliz Navidad and the crooner-tinged Lucky, Lucky, Lucky Me.
But it was the final song that delighted audience members, this reviewer and Karen (AKA Carol) the most and ensuring a warm festive glow.
Aled, who had enjoyed chart success as a teenage chorister with his version of a song associated with 1980s animated film The Snowman, teamed up with Russell to perform a live version of this unforgettable track Walking in the Air.
The song struck a chord with the sell-out audience signalling rapturous applause and a deserved standing ovation.