OPERA star Russell Watson delighted fans and a Hartlepool choir when he performed in the town on Saturday night.
Around 900 people packed into the Borough Hall, on the Headland, for his concert with Hartlepool Male Voice Choir.
Afterwards, Russell hailed the evening’s show as one of his best nights for a long time and described the audience’s reaction as “magic”.
He performed several rousing songs from his new Anthems album and was accompanied by the 70-strong choir for some numbers.
Months of hard work and practice was rewarded with a memorable night for the choir.
They had just hours to rehearse with Russell before the curtain went up after he arrived in Hartlepool on Saturday afternoon.
Duncan Graham, chairman of Hartlepool Male Voice Choir, said: “The audience response was amazing and the feedback from people has been terrific.
“The lads in the choir thoroughly enjoyed it.
“You get a fantastic buzz from an evening like that.”
Within hours Russell used Twitter to say how much he enjoyed the night.
He posted on the social messaging website: “Just had one of the best nights for a long time with the fantastic Hartlepool Male Voice Choir.
“What a brilliant audience. Magic.”
He added: “We should make it two nights next time. Had a great time.”
Saturday’s show was the second time Russell has performed with the choir after making his first appearance in Hartlepool two years ago.
Tenor Russell first came to prominence in 1999 when he sang the national anthem at the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.
His albums have sold in their millions and Anthems is currently riding high at number 5 in the charts.
Russell has battled back from two brain tumours in 2006 and another in 2007 which required emergency surgery.
He is currently touring the country with Anthems which features patriotic songs such as Jerusalem.