Andrew McKinnon brought together the joint talents of operatic bass-baritone Teddy Tahu-Rhodes, musical theater star Josh Piterman and charismatic pianist, performer, singer and storyteller Guy Noble in a heartwarming evening of populist musical favorites. It was an eclectic program with works chosen from opera and operetta, classic musicals by Rodgers and Hammerstein and Cole Porter and contemporary works by Lloyd-Webber and others.
Almost all of the repertoire was on the list of ten classical music favorites which, while clearly appealing to the widest possible audience, might not have met the needs of a more discerning audience who would have preferred its musical knowledge is both improved and extended with slightly fewer known pieces. Well-known repertoire can also create its own problems, requiring comparison with other versions or singers of the past, with mixed results.
The concert began with a fun and catchy sung introduction by Tahu-Rhodes and Piterman, in which they continually praise each other, forgetting to mention pianist Guy Noble. The latter stops the debates to discuss with them, in which case they do not forget to thank him as well. It was light and the evening started well.
Tahu-Rhodes began with a lively rendition of Largo al factotumAir from Figaro after Rossini The Barber of Seville. It’s a beautiful rich and dark bass-baritone, rock solid throughout the range and it presented the tune with plenty of panache and impeccable timing. It seemed odd that he used a microphone for this tune, since he obviously didn’t need one, but it was the choice of the night overall. It was also the only operatic aria he sang, which was disappointing as he had such a vast repertoire to choose from, but the concert was clearly geared towards musical theatre. His other solo numbers included a splendid and thoughtful If I was a rich man from fiddler on the roof and an anime i am the pirate king from Pirates of Penzance. He also presented a poignant An enchanted evening from South Pacifica role he sang with success in 2013, as well as the wonderful aria by Javert Stars from Wretched, which he delivered very well.
Musical theater and crossover star Josh Piterman recently completed a season as the Phantom in London’s West End. Technically accomplished, he has a beautiful light baritone/tenor voice that works well for many lead roles in this genre as he imbues everything he sings with passion and commitment. He sang The music of the night with great style, expression and depth of feeling. Unfortunately, his diction had a mannered British articulation that was disconcerting, and it lacked the spine-tingling effect that this song usually elicits.
Obviously, Piterman is also a romantic at heart since he sang a favorite song, Morricone’s Semovie love theme Cinema Paradiso, a particularly sweet confection of little merit musically. His love of old-school musicals was also apparent, and he gave us a wonderful so in love by Cole Porter from Kiss me, Kate. Despite being a duo, it told the story well with excellent phrasing. Less successful was that of Loesser Luck be a lady from guys and dolls, made famous by Frank Sinatra. He sang the notes well but it was just too nice, without the swagger and sharp vitriol of lines like “let’s keep the party polite” and “I’m the guy you came with”. Bravely he also sang Puccini Sleep Nessun from Turandot as an encore and did a very good job, even though it was sung in a lower register than normal. But it’s still a crowd pleaser and he gave it his all. After hearing him sing an incredibly loud Tony in West Side Story a few years ago, we would have liked him to choose another more substantial repertoire, in particular that of the recently deceased Stephen Sondheim, whose work was unfortunately and surprisingly missing from the program.
The duets they sang together were less successful, as their distinct styles and vocal qualities did not always blend well. The best of them was You will never walk alone from Carousel, which was warm and powerful. Nor the glorious Lily’s eyes from The secret garden or the regularly ranked number one opera hit Into the holy temple from Bizet the Pearl Fishers, worked well. Either way, Tahu-Rhodes seemed like he had to take his natural sound level down a notch and maybe those roles weren’t suited to his voice. This left the songs unbalanced and it was hard not to draw comparisons.
Guy Noble accompanied the two artists wonderfully well on the piano throughout the evening and had the chance to strut around with a topical interpretation of when i was a boy from HMS apron, tackling themes such as the election, Hollywood and the British royal family. It was a light-hearted and very well-received segment of the program, bringing lots of laughs to the auditorium. It was a shame that he didn’t have to do more in this way, because we felt that he could have added levity and could also have been used as an MC connecting the songs and the separate segments. Both Tahu-Rhodes and Piterman featured songs and told stories, Piterman being extremely good at these. Nonetheless, Noble was an underutilized resource.
Production values were limited. The piano was the only thing on stage, with no props, chairs or stools or anything to help with the staging. The sound quality that opened the show reverberated strongly but then quieted down. Structurally, the songs were tweaked (although the duets might have been redesigned) but the tie-ins were tattered at times and certainly felt underrehearsed. No doubt it will work out on the next tour.
This concert program will tour many regional centers including the Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Newcastle, Port Maquarie, Bendigo and Melbourne in May and, with three very talented performers, it is sure to be enthusiastically received by many of those who missed live classical music. musical performances.
This concert will be touring the Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Melbourne, Bundaberg and Bendio throughout May 2022. More information here.