PRISCILLA Presley will make a very special appearance at tonight's Elvis concert at Leeds First Direct Arena.

This is the night where Elvis Presley appears "live on screen", accompanied live on stage by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra to mark the 40th anniversary of Elvis's life and legacy with songs from the chart-topping orchestral Elvis albums If I Can Dream and The Wonder Of You and his classic hits.

The late Elvis, in his pomp, will be synced up on screen with new arrangements by the RPCO, while former wife Priscilla, now 72, will host the show, coming out to tell stories behind why they chose certain songs and what they meant to Elvis.

Leeds is among six arenas on the 2017 tour after the screen King and the live RPCO joined forces for a sold-out arena tour last year in support of the platinum-selling The Wonder Of You (his 13th British number one album, adding yet more to Elvis's one billion record sales worldwide).

York Press:

Elvis Presley: back in the building with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra

"We were there last November in the UK and sold out every night, then sold out in Europe in May and just recently in Australia too," says a proud Priscilla. "The new tour is based on the success of the previous tours and for this particular one we've now included the Christmas album that we've recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. We're looking to feature at least one Christmas song, though I want to keep it a surprise till the shows."

Priscilla is thrilled by the impact of Elvis with strings attached. "It's such a sight; 50-52 players on stage, with Elvis on screen, and you honestly feel he's on stage performing with them," she says. "It's very emotional for me; it's emotional to watch the audience, who are so in awe, sharing memories, tearful in some songs, joyous in others, and you think, 'wow, what an impact he's had'. I don't anyone else who has reached the heights he has 40 years after he died."

What prompted Priscilla, a driving force behind the orchestral albums, to have an inkling that his singing would so suit these arrangements? "First of all, Elvis loved opera. Very few people knew he loved opera, but he loved tenor voices, he loved bass voices, and his stage shows had a small orchestra, about 18 players, when he was in Vegas. Now you can see him with a full orchestra," she says. "Elvis was very much into orchestras; he liked that aesthetic mix of him as a rock'n'roller and the smoothness of an orchestra."

The albums came to fruition through executive producer Don Reedman, Priscilla Presley and Elvis Presley Enterprises. "Don has produced many records in Britain and Australia and we became friends when I was doing panto in Britain some years ago," says Priscilla.

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The album cover for Elvis's new Christmas album

The subject came up of putting Elvis with a full orchestra: "I knew that no American producer would ever 'get' that, but Don 'got' it and I took to Sony, who said, 'I don't know; Elvis and an orchestra? Will it work?' They weren't sure, but eventually they went for it.

"It was a big risk, but I knew the DNA was there, and thank god the fans 'get' it. It's fuller; it's bigger, but still the same music, still that beautiful voice."

Priscilla recalls worrying that the first orchestral album might be panned in the reviews, but her mind was put at rest by a listening session in London when critics could hear four of the songs for the first time. "Your mind goes blank, concerned what will they think, but you could hear a pin drop," she says.

Now comes album number three: Elvis, Christmas, With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. "A Christmas album is a natural next step," says Priscilla. "Elvis's singing will be so beautiful in an orchestral setting."

For ticket availability for tonight's 7pm show, go to, or