Opera star sings Britain’s VE Day hits from an empty Albert Hall


LONDON (Reuters) – Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins will stream a concert from an empty Royal Albert Hall on Friday evening, as locked-down Britain marks the 75th anniversary of “Victory in Europe” Day.

Millions of people held a two-minute silence while military jets flew over the United Kingdom’s four capitals during commemorations for the end of World War Two on the continent.

Events were due to climax with an address from Queen Elizabeth and a gala of war-time songs from the London venue – the first performance held behind closed doors there in its 150-year history.

“It’s totally surreal to be here at the Royal Albert Hall without any audience,” said Jenkins as she recorded her performance on Thursday, ahead of the online broadcast which is due to go out at 6 p.m. (1700 GMT) on Friday.

She sang to rows of empty seats to respect social distancing rules imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19. But she will be watched online via YouTube – www.royalalberthall.com/ve75.

“I have done many concerts here, and so I have soundchecked to an empty room, but never this empty. It just feels absolutely magnificent to see it like this and I feel very honoured that they have allowed me to do this,” she said.

Jenkins said the programme would include “The White Cliffs of Dover” and “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square”, together with a virtual duet of “We’ll Meet Again” with Dame Vera Lynn, who entertained British troops during World War Two.

Writing by Andrew Heavens; Editing by Mike Collett-White