Coronation Concert: who sang and performed at the Windsor Castle concert?

7 May 2023, 23:03 | Updated: 8 May 2023, 14:13

Sir Bryn Terfel and Andrea Bocelli were just two of the famous faces from classical music to perform at the Coronation Concert
Sir Bryn Terfel and Andrea Bocelli were just two of the famous faces from classical music to perform at the Coronation Concert. Picture: Getty images

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

From Sir Bryn Terfel to Andrea Bocelli, the Coronation Concert on 7 May 2023 saw a variety of performers flock to the grounds of Windsor Castle.

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The Coronation Concert brought an eclectic line-up of artists to the stage and grounds of Windsor Castle all celebrating the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III.

Taking place on the Coronation Weekend, concert organisers described the event as being an opportunity to “celebrate a new chapter in the nation’s history, with themes of love, respect and optimism, celebrating the four nations, their communities and the Commonwealth.”

But when was the concert, and who sang and performed at the celebration?

Here’s everything to know about the historic Coronation Concert 2023.

Read more: Every piece of music at King Charles’ coronation service at Westminster Abbey

Bryn Terfel and Andrea Bocelli sing emotional 'You'll Never Walk Alone' at Coronation Concert

Who performed at the Coronation Concert?

Acclaimed Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli joined celebrated Welsh bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel in a duet on the night of the concert.

Read more: Andrea Bocelli and Sir Bryn Terfel perform emotional ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ at Coronation Concert

The two giants of the classical singing world featured in a line-up that included international pop stars such as Katy Perry and Lionel Ritchie. Here is the full line-up:

When announced as a performer, Sir Bryn said, “I am also delighted to be performing at the celebratory concert in Windsor, another opportunity for me to sing with my great friend and colleague, the wonderful Italian tenor, Maestro Andrea Bocelli.”

The Welsh singer also performed at the Coronation of King Charles III, which took place at Westminster Abbey the previous day.

Bocelli shared his enthusiasm for joining Sir Bryn in song, adding, “My joy and excitement is multiplied as I have the chance to duet with my dear friend and superb baritone, Sir Bryn Terfel, performing an iconic song of love and collective solidarity.”

Read more: What is the Coronation Choir and who is singing in it?

Pianist Lucy Illingworth performs during the Coronation Concert
Pianist Lucy Illingworth performs during the Coronation Concert. Picture: Getty

The British boyband, Take That, also reunited with three of its original members performing at the concert; Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen.

British classical-soul pianist, Alexis Ffrench, played alongside a 70-piece orchestra and house band comprising the Massed Bands of the Household Division and the Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra.

On the opportunity to perform at the concert, Ffrench shared, “To have been invited to perform in the Coronation Concert held in celebration of His Majesty King Charles III is an honour of the utmost magnitude. Such moments are unequivocally iconic and exceedingly rare.”

Lang Lang brought some 90s Disney magic to the royal performance, playing ‘Reflection’ from Disney’s Mulan alongside former Pussycat Doll, Nicole Scherzinger. Winner of The Piano, Lucy Illingworth also performed a Bach prelude for the 20,000-strong in-person audience.

Read more: Lang Lang and Nicole Scherzinger perform ‘Reflection’ from Disney’s Mulan at Windsor Castle

Lang Lang plays ‘Mulan’ song as a magical duet with Nicole Scherzinger at Windsor Castle

Alongside the soloists involved in the concert, the Coronation Concert also included an exclusive performance by the Coronation Choir.

The choir was made up of a diverse selection of community choirs and amateur singers, featuring ensembles such as the Portishead RNLI sea shanty choir, farmers, cab drivers and reggae choirs. The Coronation Choir were also joined by the Virtual Choir, an ensemble made up of singers from across the Commonwealth.

Members of the Royal Opera Chorus sang a beautiful arrangement of a song from West Side Story, and a string quartet from the Royal College of Music was featured as a soloist during the evening.

The quartet was made up of Katherine Yoon and Betania Johnny on violin, Declan Wicks on viola and Marion Portelance on cello. Portelance played a cello once owned and played by His Majesty, which now resides in the instrumental collection of the Royal College of Music.

Read more: Two of Britain’s greatest singers were in thunderous voice at the coronation

The Ascension Choir sing at King Charles III’s coronation

What other performances featured in the Coronation Concert?

As part of the Coronation Concert, the Royal Ballet, the Royal Opera, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal College of Music and the Royal College of Art came together for the first time to produce a one-off spectacular performance on the themes of love and togetherness.

Principal dancers of The Royal Ballet, Francesca Hayward and Marcelino Sambé, performed a specially choreographed piece for the occasion, and members of the Royal Shakespeare Company, joined by Rwandan-Scottish actor Ncuti Gatwa, performed excerpts from Romeo & Juliet, accompanied by the choir singing ‘Somewhere’ from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story.

Artwork by students at the Royal College of Art were showcased via a visual backdrop projected onto Windsor Castle and the stage.

The concert culminated in a section titled ‘Lighting up the Nation’, where iconic locations across the United Kingdom were lit up using projections, lasers, drone displays and illuminations, bringing the nation together in celebration.

Read more: Coronation playlist – classical music to celebrate King Charles’ coronation

Ballerina Francesca Hayward rehearses at the Royal Ballet in London
Ballerina Francesca Hayward rehearses at the Royal Ballet in London. Picture: Getty images

Who hosted the Coronation Concert?

The Coronation Concert was hosted by Hugh Bonneville, a British actor who has starred in a variety of television shows and films, including Downton Abbey and the Paddington movies.

Bonneville was reportedly ‘delighted’ to have been asked to host the concert. In a statement released on the decision, Bonneville said, “I’m delighted to be taking part in this unique event, celebrating the best of musical entertainment in honour of His Majesty’s coronation.

“In true British style, come rain or shine it will be a night to remember.”

Read more: Paddington star Hugh Bonneville says fictional bear ‘was my first friend’ in heartwarming reveal

Hugh Bonneville and Queen Consort Camilla read Paddington Bear to children supported by the charity Barnados in November 2022.
Hugh Bonneville and Queen Consort Camilla read Paddington Bear to children supported by the charity Barnados in November 2022. Picture: Getty images

What time was the coronation concert, and when was it on TV?

The Coronation Concert started at 8pm on Sunday 7 May 2023 at Windsor Castle. The televised concert lasted an hour and a half and was watched by an in-person audience of 20,000.

The event was broadcast on national television in the UK, and there were various watch parties across the country including via a big screen placed in the centre of London’s St James Park.

A one-off special TV licence dispensation meant that those hosting events and screening parties didn’t need a TV licence in order for them to screen coverage of the Coronation events on 6 or 7 May.

Join us for a 12-hour celebration of British classical music on Monday 8 May, 9am-9pm – it’s Classic FM’s Great British Classics!