LLANGOLLEN Eisteddfod began in spectacular style last night as opera sensation Katherine Jenkins performed an opening gala concert.

Katherine, who has been travelling abroad for some time, admitted she was quite nervous at performing in front of a home crowd but none of it showed in her powerful performance.

The stunning soprano sang an eclectic mix ranging from operatic classics to La Vie en Rose and Endless Love - as well as, of course, a few Welsh numbers.

She also introduced young French tenor Amaury Vassili who proved a real hit with the crowd, especially the ladies.

Adam Evans, originally from Llangollen, who has travelled from working abroad for the festival, said: “It was an amazing evening. She sang beautifully and everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy it.”

It was the Welsh singer’s only appearance in her homeland this summer and the first time she had performed at the festival since her celebrated appearance in 2005.

The 64th installment of the world-famous festival promises to be bigger than ever with a wide range of competitions, themed days and evening concerts.

Today is International Children’s Day, with a theme of ‘Exotic Traditions’.

Some 5,000 youngsters will be transported to the Indian subcontinent and Sudan by musicians, dancers and acrobats including Kawa Circus’ breathtaking brand of dance and fun.

One of the festival’s most visually spectacular events also takes place this afternoon, with the annual parade through the town centre at 4.30pm.

This evening Sinfonia Cymru makes its Llangollen debut under the baton of Karl Jenkins as he conducts his own Mass for Peace with a ‘Wales and the World’ choir and Llyr Williams, from Rhos, at the piano.

There will be something for everyone throughout this week of music, dance and culture.

Tomorrow sees International Song and Dance Day with choirs and folk dancers from 20 countries performing along with the best young soloists in the world.

The outside stages will also feature performers from five continents.

See the Leader every day for comprehensive coverage of this year’s Eisteddfod. For tickets visit www.llangollen2010.co.uk or call 01978 862000.