The recently engaged singing star talks to Diane Cooke about weddings and babies, ahead of this week’s big concert date at Hoghton Tower

KATHERINE Jenkins, the nation’s favourite mezzo-soprano, has a lot to look forward to. She’s bagged herself a hunky fiance and marriage and babies, hopefully, are on the horizon for the stunning diva.

Katherine, 33, recently announced her engagement to University Professor Andrew Levitas, 36, an American who also happens to be an artist and film-maker. Later this year he will be releasing the film Lullaby, which he wrote and directed. It stars Amy Adams, Jennifer Hudson and former Downton Abbey actress Jessica Brown Findlay.

The pair met when they were both working in New York and began dating in October. He joined the singer as she collected her OBE from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in March.

She giggles as I observe that her future husband — her engagement ring has 54 diamonds, no less — is rather easy on the eye. “Oh thank you. Yes, he really is isn’t he?”

She’s clearly smitten, so much so that she’s not yet had chance to plan the wedding. “It’s all been such a huge whirlwind, but the wedding won’t be too far away. I just haven’t got around to thinking about that part yet.”

But one thing is for certain, the singer and former model — she was the Face of Wales in 2000 — hopes babies will be part of the deal.

“Yes, children are very much part of the agenda. I come from a big, tight-knit family and I hope I’m lucky enough to have them. It’s funny when I read things about myself that I’m supposedly so ambitious. But really, I’m just sensible. I didn’t want to have a family before because I wouldn’t want to take them on the road on tour.”

But should children come along, Katherine would continue singing, just not tour so much. “I can’t imagine ever not singing,” she says.

Katherine recently announced three special summer outdoor concerts— one of which is at Hoghton Tower on Saturday — supported by Anthony Inglis and the National Symphony Orchestra. She will be performing a selection of favourite classical hits plus some tracks from her new album which is out in the autumn.

To her credit she has requested that tickets for young people are discounted for the event to encourage more to attend and take an interest in classical music.

“Although growing up in Wales I got lots of opportunities to experience all kinds of music, it’s important to encourage young people to establish an interest in classical music. Popular classical music has changed a lot over the last 10 years. It’s had something of a makeover. It had a bit of a snooty image. Audiences used to be a lot older, but now we have children, couples in their 30s and people in their 80s. I really feel that my audiences are very much like me. I can relate to the people I’m performing to because they’re just like me and that breaks down barriers.”

After winning singing competitions in her youth, Katherine studied at the Royal Academy of Music, modelled and taught voice. She came to wide public attention in 2003 when she sang at Westminster Cathedral in honour of Pope John Paul II’s silver jubilee. Since 2004, she has released numerous albums that have performed well on British and foreign charts. In both 2005 and 2006, her albums received Classic Brit Awards as Album of the Year.

She has also been seen widely in concert, including concerts for British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan; she has also sung at sporting events, on television shows and in support of many charities. In Spring 2012, she competed on the US television show Dancing with the Stars, finishing in second place, behind NFL Super Bowl champion Donald Driver.

Taking part in the competition, upped her fitness level immensely and encouraged her to continue running and exercising after the show. “I used to hate running and I’d have to drag myself to the gym. But since the programme I love the level of fitness I achieved and I’ve come to really enjoy running. In fact, wherever I am I can be seen with my headphones running around a local park, although I do turn a few heads at times. It’s a great stress reliever.”

Katherine competed in last year’s London Marathon to raise funds for cancer —her dad Selwyn died of the disease when she was 15. But instead of being congratulated for her mammoth effort — she raised £30,000 — she got an inordinate amount of stick from women who accused her of wearing a full face of make-up for the run.

“It just wasn’t true. I was wearing mascara, that’s all. I mean make-up wouldn’t stay on after five hours of running, would it? They missed the whole point of the marathon and that upset me.

“I’d trained for months and I was running for my dad. There’s an aspect of the media which is about women hating women. I would never do that. If a woman is looking fabulous I say so.

“Social media can be dangerous at times. Women should be joining together and backing each other, not criticising.”

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