With a stroke of genius the BBC have come up with the two perfect singers to lead the 50th anniversary celebrations of their popular Top of the (religious) Pops programme Songs of Praise: Andrea Bocelli and Katherine Jenkins. It is rumoured that while the BBC have got the two opera stars together they’ll also record Turandot for Radio 3.
Bocelli and Jenkins will be among performers at a concert at London’s Alexandra Palace for 7,000 people to be filmed on 25 September and shown in early October. Presenters Aled Jones, Diane-Louise Jordan, Sally Magnusson and Pam Rhodes will also take part. A 200-strong choir will accompany the solo artists.
The inaugural Songs of Praise, on the first Sunday in October 1961, came from the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Cardiff. It has since been filmed in places of worship all over the UK as well as from locations including Moscow, Peking, The Falkland Islands and Australia. It is the only peak-time religious programme on a free-to-air channel in Europe.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.