Encore (Special New Zealand Edition)

by: Russell Watson

In 2001 this young British tenor became an international phenomenon with his platinum-plus debut album THE VOICE. With that blockbuster recording, he defined himself as the pop-opera crossover sensation of the 21st century. The appropriately titled follow-up ENCORE will likely be regarded with suspicion by those with their feet planted firmly in either the pop or operatic world. Those whose tastes fall somewhere in between are exactly the folks who've already made him a superstar, and it is for them that ENCORE was made. Watson tackled material by Ultravox and Simon & Garfunkel amid the arias on THE VOICE, so it's no great shock to hear him taking on the Joe Cocker hit "You are So Beautiful" and Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" (which sounds like it's been out there waiting for Watson for years). The really striking thing is how comfortable and convincing he sounds both on these pop-oriented tunes and on such operatic chestnuts as "O Solo Mio" and "Ave Maria." It's important to note that Watson did begin his career as a pop singer, but no one has ever straddled the great stylistic divide quite so successfully as he does on ENCORE.

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