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Special Guest for former Britain’s Got Talent winners Collabro on their UK tour ‘Home’, Carly Paoli gave a stunning performance at Birmingham Symphony Hall on 2nd November 2017. Following the singer’s appearance abroad, Paoli returned to the UK to share the stage with the world’s most successful Musical Theatre group. 

Words by Evie Kissack

As part of the twenty-nine-date run, Collabro, with Special Guest Carly Paoli, appeared at Birmingham Symphony Hall, to which I had the fortune to attend. Nestled amongst rows of eager audience members, I took my seat in the breath-taking venue and awaited the performance from Collabro and classical singer Carly Paoli. The Nottinghamshire-born singer, who has previously performed alongside Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, added an incredible dynamic to the ensemble of voices that appeared throughout the evening, and in no doubt captured the attention of the audience. Singing pieces from her debut album, Paoli broke away from the Musical Theatre genre and instead sang classical melodies, giving the audience a glimpse at the true extent of her vocal talent.

Singer Philippa Hannah opened the show with several songs that, despite being performed well, unfortunately failed to compliment the line-up for the rest of the evening for me. Her setlist choice featured Country and Pop tracks, that although were entertaining in themselves, didn't quite match up to the talent of Collabro or Paoli. Auger, Lambert, Pagan and Redgrave, the four band members of Collabro, followed the opening act with a fantastic mix of classic show tunes, rejigged to give a more contemporary spin on the tracks. 

“We are thrilled to welcome the very accomplished Carly Paoli as Special Guest on our 2017 ‘Home’ UK Tour. Her voice is stunning and we cannot wait to perform some huge songs alongside her this autumn.” – Collabro

After a warm introduction, Carly Paoli entered stage right, wearing a magnificent gown that despite being beautiful still did not equate to her sublime presence on the stage. Paoli’s voice filled up the Symphony Hall, shattering the silence with a sound full of expression, clarity and depth. Her strong vocal ability was apparent from the first few notes, and her range wonderfully complimented the male vocals that had already been present on the stage. No stranger to collaborating and harmonising with great Opera legends, Paoli boasts an extensive previous list of notable performances including duets with the unparalleled voices of Andrea Bocelli and José Carreras - very apparent in her polished performance at the Symphony Hall. 

After several songs by Paoli, Collabro returned to the stage for a few other harmonised renditions of musical favourites. The second half of the show featured the highly-anticipated performance of 'Stars' by Collabro, a track which had reached Number One on the UK charts following its release. After an appearance from a young Musical Theatre School group, who joined Collabro on stage for a rendition of ‘He Lives in You’ from The Lion King, Paoli returned to the stage for arguably her most moving song of the entire evening.

Dedicated to her late grandmother, ‘Memory of You’ was performed impeccably – demonstrating the close relationship the singer must have held with her grandmother. Paoli’s experience of coping with her loss of her grandmother shone through the emotional lyrics, but in no way did her moving performance affect the quality and tone of her notes. The classical songs sung by Paoli pleasantly broke up the Musical Theatre repertoire performed by the quartet, Collabro, and added an extra depth to the show as a whole. 

Following Paoli’s moving rendition of ‘Memory of You’, Collabro returned to the stage in glitzy ‘showbiz’ attire, consisting of black sequined, glittery suits. Accompanied by a slideshow of fan photos and videos, Collabro sang their debut written track, entitled ‘Lighthouse’, inspired by the devastation caused by Hurricaine Irma – experienced by band member Michael who became stranded due to the storm. The song was an impressive demonstration of the band's ability to write and compose their own music, after relying on covers thus far. If 'Lighthouse' is a sign of things to come, Collabro should expect a great response from audiences in relation to their future original tracks.

“I am excited to have the chance to make my UK tour debut with Collabro. Like me, they have a passion for singing; we've all achieved our goals on different paths, but we all share the love of performance. To be able to perform with four guys, who love the world of musical theatre as I do, is an absolute dream. I can't wait to be on stage with them and share my music with a British audience.” - Carly Paoli

In the final few songs, Paoli joined Collabro on stage for a medley of contemporary and classic Musical Theatre tunes, featuring new music and old hits. It was impossible not to join the rest of the audience members in chorus – singing along to the mixture of high-energy melodies. Encouraging everyone attending the show to join them in dancing to their favourite tracks, Collabro, along with Paoli and the Musical Theatre troop, performed an array of toe-tappers and crows-pleasers that finished the show on a high note (if you’ll pardon the pun).

A memorable evening, featuring moving interpretations of Les Miserables musical songs, original tracks and show tunes, Collabro featuring Special Guest Carly Paoli was both enjoyable to watch, listen to and review. 

“Carly is a wonderful person to work with. I admire her voice, artistry and her charisma. It’s a pleasure for me to sing with her.” – Jose Carreras

Paoli’s new album ‘Singing My Dreams’ features an enchanting collection of classic pieces and original compositions – with some featuring lyrics from the singer herself. In Italy, Carly’s achievements in art and culture were recently recognised when she was awarded with the prestigious Premio Barocco award, (previous recipients including Dame Helen Mirren and Luciano Pavarotti). In 2016, ‘Ave Maria’, a song from her album, was chosen as the official song of the Pope’s Jubilee celebrations. 

Purchase your copy or download Carly Paoli’s debut album ‘Singing My Dreams’ here.

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