Marina gala night for top singers

LEADING classical music stars Hayley Westenra and Jonathan Ansell have been secured for an exclusive performance at Lowestoft's Marina Theatre, The Journal can reveal today.

LEADING classical music stars Hayley Westenra and Jonathan Ansell have been secured for an exclusive performance at Lowestoft's Marina Theatre, The Journal can reveal today.

They will perform together during a special gala evening on Monday, February 9, as part of the venues autumn/winter line up, which will be announced next week.

This latest news for the Edwardian theatre is set to further enhance the reputation for attracting big names and high profile events to the east coast.

Martin Halliday, theatre manager said: “We are delighted to confirm that these high profile artistes have been secured for the Marina, over the next few weeks full details of our winter season will be announced and with the return of the magnificent Russian Ice Stars next week, West End hit Buddy at the end of the month and our first major professional pantomime, Peter Pan in December, our audiences have a great deal to look forward to over the coming months. It is a very exciting time for the theatre.”

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Hayley was first recognised for her talents at just six years old, when she was picked at school to take the lead singing the role of Little Star in her Christmas play.

Her teacher informed her parents she thought the 19-year-old had real talent and by the age of 11 she began busking with friends in her native New Zealand.

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It was soon decided Hayley needed a world stage and after being signed with Decca in London she recorded Pure, where it went triple Platinum here alone.

Now a third album has been released and she has a crate full of platinum discs to her name, as well as a catalogue of stars such as Andrea Bocelli and Jose Carreras, who she has performed duets with.

Jonathan Ansell, the charismatic young singer with the sensational tenor voice shot to fame three years ago with pop opera group G4 on the X Factor, but has now established himself as a bona fide solo star.

He achieved amazing success with the classically-trained group G4, who announced their split in early 2007. But surpassing this, he has now achieved a debut solo album that topped the classical charts and also hit the top ten of the pop charts.

Brought up in Bognor Regis where both his parents were primary school teachers, and influenced by his mother's tapes of Pavarotti and the Three Tenors, Jonathan, joined the West Sussex Boys Choir at the age of eight.

He went to the Guildhall School of Music when he was 18 and it was during his student days that he started busking in Covent Garden with friends, to make ends meet.

When the X Factor auditions were advertised on TV, he persuaded his busking chums from the Guildhall to enter, and the rest is television history.

“My secret dream was always to be able to stand in front of an audience who had come just to see me, rather than because of the music I was singing, which is often how it works in classical music. I always, in my heart of hearts, hoped that one day it would come true. And now it looks like it has.”

Jonathan and Hayley will team up for one night only at the Marina Theatre and tickets are now on sale.

Telephone the box office on 01502 533200

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