In the first decade of the new millennium, Russell Watson became one of Britain's most successful classical crossover singers. He started, as many aspiring singers do, by playing clubs in his local area (in his case, Manchester) but his big came from an unexpected source. Martin Edwards, then chairman of Manchester United, invited him to sing at Old Trafford stadium. I'm assuming that this was in the half-time interval during a match, but I don't know the details. Since then, Russell has performed for millions of fans including royalty and presidents. Listening to this compilation of Russell's music, it's easy to understand why he has so many fans. Russell's appeal goes way beyond classical music (and that will inevitably alienate classical purists) as is proved by his success in the classical charts as well as the pop charts.
The songs here include The prayer (with Lulu - an unlikely pairing that works brilliantly), Funiculi Funicala (a classical standard), O sole me (an even more famous classical standard), Someone like you (with Faye Tozer - this became a British top ten pop hit), Nothing scared (a song for Kirsty), Nessun Dorma (another famous classical standard), Barcelona (with Shaun Ryder - a cover of the Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe duet that later became associated with the 1992 Olympics) and Can't help falling in love (a cover of an Elvis Presley hit). You'll recognize other familiar songs too, but Russell has such a superb voice that it's worth hearing his versions.
As long as classical music can produce singers of the calibre of Russell Watson, it will continue to attract new fans. I'm sure that there are plenty of people who only started taking an interest in the music because of Russell and other crossover songs, some of those new fans later becoming interested in more traditional sounds. This compilation provides an excellent introduction to Russell's music.