Octopus unmasked, Katherine Jenkins returns with cinema album and York Barbican gig

Katherine Jenkins: from The Masked Singer’s Octopus to a cinematic new album and 2021 tour

KATHERINE Jenkins, the biggest-selling classical artist of the century, will return to York Barbican on February 5 next year.

The Welsh mezzo-soprano, 39, will be showcasing her 14th studio album, Cinema Paradiso, set for release on Decca Reecords on April 17 this spring.

Tickets go on sale on Friday (February 28) at 10am on 0203 356 5441, at yorkbarbican.co.uk or in person from the Barbican box office.

Sharing its name with Giuseppe Tornatore’s 1988 Italian film, Cinema Paradiso is a collection of “unforgettable songs from some of the world’s best-loved movie moments”, such as Moon River, from Breakfast At Tiffany’s;  Pinocchio’sWhen You Wish Upon A Star; a duet of Tonight, from West Side Story, with Welsh singer and actor Luke Evans, plus themes from Schindler’s List, The Lord Of The Rings and Dances With Wolves.

“I’ve always loved movie soundtracks,” says Katherine, who turns 40 on June 29. “I wanted to create an iconic movie moment with this record: all the best film musical themes that we know and love, all together on one album.

“The last few albums I’ve made have been inspired by what’s happening in my own world. This one, in particular, was inspired by the things that were going on around me. Having played my first movie role last year, it felt like a natural transition for me.”

The poster for Katherine Jenkins’ 2021 tour

Katherine’s endeavours in the world of film have been a huge inspiration in the making of Cinema Paradiso, especially her role in the upcoming Minamata, directed by her husband, Andrew Levitas.

Katherine not only makes her film debut, performing alongside Johnny Depp and Bill Nighy, but also she co-wrote the title track with Eminem’s right-hand woman, Skylar Grey, and performed on the film score written by Sakamoto, the Academy Award-winning singer, songwriter, record producer, activist and actor.

Minamata will be released later this year, having received its world premiere at this month’s Berlin International Film Festival with Katherine in attendance, amid glowing reviews from the film industry and fans alike.

Returning to discussing the album tracks, Katherine says: “West Side Story has always been up there for me in terms of musical films. Somewhere has been specially recorded for this album – minus the Octopus mask [from the ITV series The Masked Singer] and I’m thrilled to have Luke Evans join me on Tonight. I loved seeing some of his TV performances last year and it was great fun to create an all-Welsh version of the duet!”

Another pick for Cinema Paradiso, I’ll Never Love Again, from A Star Is Born, has been released as a single, going straight to the top of the iTunes Classical Chart.

I’ll Never Love Again also kick-started Katherine’s journey on The Masked Singer in the guise of The Octopus, en route to finishing third. “My job can be quite serious at times, but I have a four-year-old daughter who absolutely loves Blue Planet, so I created ‘The Octopus’ character for her,” she says.

“The hope with this album is that each song conjures up an iconic image from cinema,” says Katherine Jenkins

“Her favourite colours are pink and purple with sparkles and I thought it would be something to allow her to understand more about what mummy does. I can’t think of a better reason to do the show”.

Katherine adds: “The hope with this album is that each song conjures up an iconic image from cinema. A Star Is Born is quite a recent film, but the scene where Lady Gaga sings I’ll Never Love Again is so touching and memorable that it felt completely right to include it as one of my favourite movie musical moments.

“In a bid to disguise my voice on The Masked Singer, I chose songs that weren’t the norm for me, and so this track is a happy experiment for me, and after Ken [judge Ken Jeong] said it was the performance of the season, I felt it deserved a place on the album.”

In 2017, Katherine was crowned the number one-selling Classical Music Artist of the Last 25 Years by Classic FM and she made chart history in 2018 when Guiding Light became her 13th UK classical number one album.

Katherine last performed at York Barbican in May 2019, having previously sung there in February 2012 and February 2015.