Tuneful melodies live
Catchy tunes from Andrew Lloyd Webber's expansive repertoire have become part of popular culture. Those haunting melodies from Phantom of the Opera, Cats and Evita have found a way into the hearts of millions.
Next month The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber will feature the theatrical legend's best-loved songs from his many musicals all in one night during live shows in Hong Kong. 'Our show will help you get snapshots of many of Webber's celebrated musicals,' says the travelling concert's Aussie director Stuart Maunder.
The new concert, presented by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, opened at Regent Theatre in Melbourne in March. It showcases 33 crowd-pleasers from many of the famous composer's 16 musicals, including Memory from Cats and Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera. Both avid fans and casual listeners of Lloyd Webber will have lots to relish during the concert.
Lloyd Webber tunes will range from his early masterpiece Jesus Christ Superstar to more recent hits like last year's chart-topper Love Never Dies, the title song of the sequel to the musical Phantom of the Opera.
The show swings from power ballads to the composer's lesser-known songs, which range across several genres from rock to country to opera.
'We have deliberately created a musical journey - from easy mood changes to juxtaposing different styles,' Maunder says. 'It is made easier because all of Lloyd Webber's material is so theatrical and tells their story with brevity, clarity and emotion.'
Maunder became a fan of Lloyd Webber at age 14 in the 1970s when Jesus Christ Superstar became a hit in Australia. Maunder sees the composer as 'a great storyteller, a great melodist, a great theatrical composer'.
'Lloyd Webber's output is quite simply mind-boggling, especially in regard to the variety of subject matter he's chosen and the musical variety that has resulted,' Maunder explains.
Eight singers will provide the vocal support to the songs at the concert. Although the cast is small, its members manage to deliver a broad spectrum of music.
In addition to singing solo, they also serve as each other's back-up vocals. The ensemble boasts seasoned soprano Delia Hannah, who played Grizabella the Glamour Cat in Cats, and Michael Cormick from West End's Phantom of the Opera. Rising stars Trisha Crowe and Blake Bowden will also take to the stage to delight the audience.
Maunder focuses on the vocals, with only low-key costumes and backdrops. Four giant LED screens will light up the stage and set the context for each song.
Images from Eva Peron's Argentina will flash on to screens for Evita, for instance. The images lend context to each song and help make the audience feel as if watching a series of mini-musicals.
During the show members of the orchestra sit behind screens, unseen by the audience. This lends a special feeling to their performance by making it seem as if music materialises out of thin air.
Although Lloyd Webber will not be present in person, he will appear nonetheless - popping on to the screens to share a few anecdotes about his life and work. These video interviews will allow music lovers to listen to the master himself talk about his music.
The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber will have 15 shows in Hong Kong starting from June 8 at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Tickets cost between HK$350 and HK$950 and are sold by HK Ticketing