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Album Review

Reflecting her most high-profile year to date thanks to some controversial tabloid confessions, a celebrity relationship, and a judging role on ITV's Popstar to Operastar, Welsh soprano Katherine Jenkins' seventh studio album, Believe, is undoubtedly the most accessible and commercial offering of her six-year career. The traditional opera standards and arias of her early albums Premiere and Second Nature are instead replaced by classical pop renditions of contemporary pop songs and film themes produced by Grammy Award-winning David Foster (Michael Bublé, Celine Dion). Of course, the likes of Sarah McLachlan's "Angel," Queen's "Who Wants to Live Forever," and Nino Rota's "Parla Più Piano (Love Theme from The Godfather)" are fairly predictable fare for classical crossover artists, having been covered on recent albums from Angelis, Rhydian, and Patrizio Buanne. However, her reworking of Evanescence's nu-metal chart-topper "Bring Me to Life," which adds even more overblown drama to the epic original, and a surprisingly subtle cover version of Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry" are clear indications that Jenkins isn't afraid to tackle material far outside her comfort zone. Elsewhere, Jenkins' breathtaking and versatile vocal abilities are showcased on a stunning performance of Edith Piaf's "La Vie en Rose," a stirring duet with Andrea Bocelli on "I Believe," and the album's only original composition, "Ancora Non Sai," which also features Dutch violinist André Rieu. A Deluxe Edition, featuring the theme from Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical Love Never Dies and a rendition of Lionel Richie and Diana Ross' "Endless Love" was later released, but it was the 2010 Platinum Edition that helped the album reenter the charts over a year after its initial peak. Adding seven new tracks to the original, it includes two festive songs, "In the Bleak Midwinter" and a live performance of "O Holy Night" with Michael Bolton, a gorgeous operatic interpretation of Embrace's "Gravity," and "Tell Me I'm Not Dreaming," a brand-new ballad produced by John Shanks (Bon Jovi). Believe, in all its forms, is a huge leap forward from her previous traditional output, and although there's still enough material to keep her classical fan base happy, its leanings toward more contemporary fare suggest that a Charlotte Church-style pop career re-invention could well be in the cards, something which — on this evidence — Jenkins is more than capable of pulling off. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Biography

Born: 29 June 1980 in Neath, Wales

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '00s, '10s

While still in her mid-twenties, Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins emerged as Britain's all-time best-selling classical artist, although critics charged her success was more a result of physical beauty than musical talent. Born June 29, 1980, in Neath, West Glamorgan, Wales, Jenkins fell under the sway of classical music at age seven, studying piano and singing in her local choir throughout childhood. In 1990, she joined the Royal School of Church Music Cathedral Singers and also served with...
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Believe, Katherine Jenkins
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