The Troubadour in Earl’s Court is one of the great unsung venues of London. Slap-bang in West London’s creative hub, it has seen everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Paul Simon to Led Zeppelin to Ken Russell to Richard Harris pass through its doors, seeking inspiration and bashing out songs. Now in its 65th year, it still attracts artists on the cusp of greatest and is one of the most intimate and atmospheric venues for live music, which is possibly why Jonathan Cilia Faro chose it as the showcase for his new album, From Now On, the first to be released fully in the UK. What is unusual about this particular show is that Jonathan is an opera singer.
A tenor in the Pavarotti style (he’s slimmer but is quite the raconteur), he is the dictionary definition of classical-crossover, a term which causes many to run to the hills but in this instance attracted a sizable audience, few of whom seemed to fit the stereotype of a typical opera-goer. This is very much the point of the show, bringing opera to places and people which would otherwise be overlooked.
After a curious one-track support slot which felt completely ill-fitting, proceedings began in high spirits and a nod to convention with O Sole Mio, showing Jonathan’s voice off to its full potential with a familiar crowd-pleaser. Between-song chat was inclusive and entertaining, it was clear Jonathan is a performer at his happiest on stage. A nice selection of tracks from his album (perhaps the best-received being “I Love How You Love Me” and “Giramondo”) were performed with two guest slot performances from Tony Moore and Ilona, which veered towards being over-generous given the £10 ticket to specifically see an opera singer. In all an admirable venture and a fun evening in a great setting. The album’s good too.