British tenor comes to Troy

Jonathan Antoine was 17 and was shaking like a leaf when he made his first appearance as a contestant on the reality show “Britain’s Got Talent”. Once he opened his mouth and applied his powerful tenor voice to the Italian repertoire, the audience went crazy. Even the perpetually cranky Simon Cowell admitted that this was a major new talent. Although Antoine ultimately placed second in the competition, these TV performances were seen by 11 million viewers.

Now, 10 years later, Antoine has recorded seven albums, generated a rabid base of followers on social media and is in the midst of his first American tour. He will present a holiday program called “ChristmasLand” Friday at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. Five more dates on the tour will keep him in the United States until Christmas.

“Fantoines” is how her most devoted fans proudly identify themselves and there is a legion on both sides of the Atlantic. On Facebook, where he has 98,000 subscribers, a recent post features a photo of Antoine wrapped in a colorful blanket, sitting on the edge of his bed and holding the new edition of his Christmas album against his ample stomach. Almost 300 people took the time to comment. Here are some examples :

  • Ann: Enjoy your next tour and if there’s room in your luggage I’d be happy to help.
  • Casey: I’m so proud of you man! You are really using your gift and living your best life!
  • Maxine: I will always be there for you Jonathan xx.

Antoine makes a sincere effort to remain human and accessible by saying: “I have an aversion to idolatry. We are all made of the same cosmic pieces of flesh. Through the online channels of Facebook, Twitter (18,000 followers) and YouTube (259,000 subscribers), he remains in regular contact with the Fantoines.

“I love them very much. Each of them is a beautiful person and their stories matter at least as much as mine,” said Antoine.

Some Fantoines strive for platinum status. Lisa Renshaw “went the distance” (to quote an Antoine album title). She’s coming from California for Troy’s concert. A few years ago, she went to Toronto to hear two nights of Antoine. Via email, she recalls that the trip to Canada was the year she turned 60 and added, “Friends from Australia and Denmark were there too. If he sings it, we will come!

Fantoine’s ultimate reference, however, is written in ink and on the skin. Near his ankle, Renshaw has a tattoo that combines a red heart, musical stave, and the word Fantoine (the F is replaced by the treble clef). In the lower part of the heart is a porcupine, a reference to Antoine’s children’s book, “Jonathan the Porcupine” about his early years of bullying. “I’m not the only one with a tattoo. There are at least four other middle-aged women doing it as well, ”Renshaw said.

Speaking from his family home in London, Antoine said he believed only a few people had opted for tattooing. “It’s weird that it’s more than zero,” he said, but in the same breath he acknowledges the honor and calls it “super cool”.

“It’s pretty weird and I don’t know where the line is,” Antoine said of the consequences of attracting a global audience. American fans visited him in the suburbs of London where he still lives with his parents. The family organized a small reception to welcome them.

Something similar is planned around the final tour dates in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and St. Petersburg, Florida. The singer, who will travel with his parents and sister, seems comfortable with the rather intimate closeness of devoted fans. “It’s great to have that level of relationship. They are my good buddies.

A decade after the start of a musical personality’s odyssey, Antoine said he had regained a confidence that had long eluded him. When he was new to the scene, there was considerable media coverage of his mental health issues and persistent stage fright. “Every step is a struggle,” he once said.

Now he describes the hours leading up to a performance as filled with “healthy excitement as opposed to outright dread.” Her days are about making informed decisions big and small about how to advance in a well-established career.

“I stay awake at night wondering if I’m basically the same person I was almost ten years ago. The wealth of opportunities and experiences that have been offered to me have changed me irrevocably, ”he said.

Ultimately, Antoine’s success always depends on how he sings, or to put it another way, whether this Brit is talented.

Harold Nicholas, a resident of Petersburgh in Rensselaer County, is not Fantoine but he will be at the concert with his wife. Nicholas, 75, saw a Jonathan Antoine special on PBS and was so impressed that he bought premium tickets for the Troy concert.

“I thought he was amazing and compared him to Bocelli and Pavarotti. I think he’s better than they’ve ever been and in about five years he’ll be recognized as the best.

Jonathan Antoine

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, 30 Second Street, Troy

Tickets: $ 39.50 to $ 125. Call 518-273-0038 or visit:

Joseph Dalton is a freelance writer based in Troy.

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