Renowned soprano Carly Paoli will be performing as the soloist in the much-anticipated BBC Radio 2 and BBC Concert Orchestra’s Royalty on Screen – A Jubilee Celebration.
Part of the official Platinum Jubilee celebrations, the concert will be taking place on Wednesday, June 1, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, and on Sunday Night is Music Night on BBC Radio 2 on Sunday, June 5, at 7pm.
It will be the first time the programme will have been performed before a live audience since the first lockdown . . . a particularly poignant moment for the 33-year-old, because she also appeared in the last one, recorded just four days before theatres, along with the majority of public places ‘went dark’.
The last time we spoke, in December, the Classical Brit nominee and BBC Music Ambassador, was gearing-up for a national cathedral tour, supporting popular Welsh music legend Aled Jones – which kicked-off at Nottingham Cathedral and toured some of the country’s most iconic religious buildings, including Winchester, Bristol and Durham cathedrals, as well as Manchester Monastery, Liverpool and St Asaph cathedrals.
Speaking about the tour, she said: “It was absolutely beautiful and I now feel that I could write a book on cathedrals. Winchester and Durham cathedrals were amazing.
"A lot of my time I found my dressing room was in the crypt – there was no central heating, they didn’t think about that at the time. I’m also not great with the dark and I spent a lot of time stumbling around looking for things – so it’s definitely toughened me up.”
Since then, Carly has been spending a lot of her time back in Mansfield with family – often walking her puppy Fred around local beauty spots, and despite spending many school holidays with family members in Italy, she says that there is something ‘magical’ about the English Summer.
“My garden in Italy is very different,” she said. “There’s a lots of fruit trees; figs, which I love, lemons, almonds and olives. The part of Italy where my family live is very green, but the ground is a lot more barren because it’s so much drier, and because of that the plants are very different. But you really can’t get much that is more beautiful than the English summertime.”
Carly also developed a love of gardening through lockdown, planting roses and hundreds of laurel trees in the grounds of the farm she now shares with her family in the South West, as well as converting an old pond into a wild flower bed.
Now Carly, who grew up in Berry Hill, and initially trained at Directions Theatre Arts in Chesterfield, before moving on to Tring Park School for Performing Arts, is now in rehearsals for the Royal performance.
She returned to the Derbyshire town to teach at Directions for two years after completing her studies at the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music.
But she says that Mansfield is really where it all started - where she first cut her teeth as a singer, competing in, and winning the town's long-running Junior Showtime event.
Speaking about the Platinum Jubilee concert, she said: “It’s an absolute honour to be performing this and very poignant because I performed in the very last Sunday Night is Music Night in front of a live audience before the lockdown. We performed it and four days later, everything was locked down – so it’s the first time since all of that happened. And it’s even more special that I’m contributing to this monumental occasion.
"It’s a massive moment in history, and it hails some of the most sublime musical numbers from within the Queen’s lifetime. I think it’s also wonderful that we’re performing at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, which seems very appropriate.”
Carly will also be performing a 45-minute set at the Big Church Day Out – described as the Christian Glastonbury – which runs from Friday, June 3, to Sunday, June 5, before heading back to Italy for a number of open air concerts throughout the Summer.
She also hopes to tour with collaborators from her last album – Carly and Friends – recorded remotely through lockdown and featuring the likes of David Phelps, Aled Jones, Paul Carrack, Tony Hadley, Elaine Paige and Joseph Calleja . . . but nothing definite is pencilled into Carly’s hectic schedule at this time.
But whatever the future holds for Carly, it certainly won’t be long before we hear from her again.