Beloved Australian tenor David Hobson is returning to Adelaide in the new production of From Broadway to La Scala. Joining him will be Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Caroline O’Connor, Alexander Lewis, Emma Matthews and Genevieve Kingsford. Hobson caught up with Glam for a chat about the show, and all things musical theatre.
He is quick to explain that From Broadway to La Scala is not just a concert, but an event.
“To get that amount of talent together in one show is an event. Look at the caliber of talent we’ve got: a powerhouse performer like Caroline O’Connor, a coloratura superstar like Emma Matthews, the booming, thunderous voice of Ted [Tahu Rhodes] doing things together and separately.”
This highly successful concept has been delighting audiences for several years now.
“The idea probably germinated out of the fact that Ted and I did these national tours as a duet, and because of my musical theatre and pop bent, we ventured out of the classical realm. That triggered the producers who wanted to make it even broader, bringing in Lisa McCune and Greta Bradman. And now we’ve taken it even further out with fantastic young performers like Alexander Lewis and Genevieve Kingsford.”
With the incredible selection of operatic works and musical theatre songs available to them, the curation of a show like this takes some work.
“There is a dynamic, as there is in any form of storytelling: you have to give it a kind of thematic flow. So, it’s a group effort, working out the wish list, what works best, and who suits what. It’s a bit of a jigsaw puzzle. You try to pick the eyes out of the masterpieces: and there are a lot of masterworks in both sides of the repertoire. But it’s all storytelling through words and music. Music theatre really is the modern equivalent of opera. It’s a natural extension: music drama.”
One of the remits of this show is to introduce opera and musical theatre to those who have not experienced one or both. So, what would Hobson recommend as a first opera for a newbie?
“Probably La Boheme. I think the storytelling is so succinct. Or anything with a low body count!”
Alongside some of the greatest arias from opera (the La Scala bit), will be some of the best songs from musical theatre (the Broadway bit). But what makes a great song?
“It can be any number of things. For instance, Till There Was You from The Music Man. There’s not a lot of drama in it, but it’s just an inordinately beautiful melody. And then there’s Sondheim. A couple of years ago I did Buddy’s Blues from Follies. A number like that! It’s obtuse on one level, yet inciteful, it has a complexity about it and yet it sounds like it’s simple. And there’s Soliloquy [from Carousel]. That’s storytelling on an extraordinary level.”
If you want to see an entire evening of storytelling on an extraordinary level, and some of Australia’s greatest voices, From Broadway to La Scala plays at the Festival Theatre, Saturday September 7th at 7.30
Click here for bookings and further details.
Interview by Tracey Korsten