Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

'I get it, you don't like me': Westenra shrugs off critic

Hayley Westenra. Photo / Getty Images
Hayley Westenra. Photo / Getty Images

Classical superstar Hayley Westenra has shrugged off a scathing review of her homecoming concert by telling a newspaper critic: "I get it, you don't like me.''

Press newspaper gig reviewer David Sell labelled the Christchurch-born singer's performance "bland'' and "lacking in musical insight''.

But Westenra today responded to the negative review on Twitter, saying: "Every time I come home to ChCh to do a concert I wake up the next day to a bad review from David Sell. Mr Sell, I get it, you don't like me.''

The performance at a packed CBS Canterbury Arena was one of 10 shows around the country to mark the 10th anniversary of the beginning of her career and her latest album Paradiso.

However, Mr Sell was not impressed and after slamming the soprano's performance, went on to praise her backing stars.

He wrote: "Hayley Westenra was just Hayley, a little older, and with a few more songs in her repertoire.

"It was difficult to know whether she still has a lovely voice, because the amplification was so consistently high as to destroy any quality and variety that may have been there.

"She still sings perfectly in tune, but her musical interpretations are as bland and lacking in musical insights as ever.

"One only needed to look at the grossly overpriced 'programme' to see that the emphasis is almost entirely on Hayley Westenra the person.

"She has been so talked up to be a star that many, including herself, believe it.''

The former teenage superstar has sold more than four million albums worldwide, duetted with José Carreras and Andrea Bocelli, performed for royalty and heads of state, and belted out the national anthems at this year's Rugby World Cup final.


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