Fans of Mantovani will be able to experience the king of light orchestral music in dance mode, when the world famous 48-piece Magic of Mantovani Orchestra returns to Bournemouth Pavilion for a new show this spring.

The 2019 theme will be Strictly Mantovani with a particular focus on the dance-floor dazzlers recorded by the Anglo Italian bandleader in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

As its name suggests, the concert draws inspiration from TV’s Strictly Come Dancing.

The ninth concert staged in ten years by retired Poole businessman and lifelong Mantovani fan Paul Barrett, it will also be the first Magic of Mantovani show to feature professional dancers.

“It just seemed so appropriate,” says Paul. “Strictly is massively popular and Mantovani played and recorded a lot of beautiful dance music.”

Paul, who admits he has spent more than half-a-million pounds recreating the music of his idol, uses hand-picked musicians to painstakingly recreate the exact instrumentation of the original 48-piece orchestra led by the late Annunzio Paolo Mantovani, who lived in Bournemouth shortly before his death.

Although Mantovani is not widely known today, the bandleader was Britain's most successful album act before The Beatles.

He played the violin on Vera Lynn's White Cliffs of Dover and songs like Charmaine, Greensleeves and Song from the Moulin Rouge sold over one million copies.

Mr Barrett was aged 12 when his father, a professional violinist, took him to his first Mantovani concert.

He spent his time studying the performer's career, went to concerts and even signed up for music lessons with Mantovani's longtime percussionist, Charles Botterill.

Paul learnt every arrangement and perfected the percussion parts, secretly hoping his mentor Botterill would have to miss a show from illness and Mantovani would call him up as a stand-in.

But Botterill never missed a performance and so Paul never got the chance to perform with his idol.

Mantovani died, aged 74, in 1980, but for Paul Barrett the music lives on.

Paul adds: “There must be people who think that we’re just another tribute act but we are so much more than that."

Strictly Mantovani is at Bournemouth Pavilion on Sunday, April 28 at 7.30pm, tickets £23.25 to £31.75.

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