While rehearsing in Brisbane ahead of their next international tour. The Ten Tenors sat down with bmag journalist Laura Brodnik to chat about their new repertoire, being on the road together, and why they’re just a bunch of lovable larrikins at heart.
They’re known for performing spine tingling arias but now one of Australia’s most popular musical exports, The Ten Tenors, are mixing it up and drawing on Broadways biggest hits for their next tour.
‘The Ten Tenors On Broadway’ will include hits from well loved classics such as Oklahoma,Jersey Boys, West Side Story, Miss Saigon, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera and The Wizard of Oz. Before bringing their new show to Australian audiences the tenors will tour the US, performing more than 70 dates including a major show in Las Vegas and Broadway. Before embarking on their overseas adventure this Wednesday, The Ten Tenors gathered in Brisbane for one last run through and Ben Stephens, Paul Gelsumini, Robert Barbaro and Keane Fletcher were happy to spill the beans on their upcoming tour.
Where did the idea for a Broadway inspired show come from?
Keane – We’ve been wanting to do a Broadway show for a while and it just so happens it’s the right time for it because we’re touring the US and we’ve got the right blend of voices. This way we get to run the gambit of musicals, from shows written back in the 20’s to musicals written just a few years ago.
Ben – We used to have ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Mis in our show and it just went over so well that we’ve kept it in the current show. So we’ve basically built a show around the success of one number but we’re very proud of it.
Paul – Musicals in general are having a bit of a Renaissance. We’ve seen Les Mis the movie come out and cool things like that. There are so many long running musicals that are popular at the moment like Jersey Boys and Wicked and newer musicals coming out like King Kong with amazing sets.
You’ve got a big year ahead of you, with 70 shows in the US and then back here for your Australian tour. What’s it like to be on the road together for that long?
Paul – Things can get crazy. You get ten guys together and we are all like brothers. So they are all simultaneously your best friends and your worst enemies at the same time.
Keane – We ride the highs and we ride the lows together and we have a lot of fun.
Ben – The best part of our job is getting to travel the world and everyday is a new experience and we get to have that experience together. It’s never on your own, it’s always with ten guys you’d look out for.
Which city are you most looking forward to visiting during your tour?
Paul – Las Vegas! Because of the wine.
Keane – Don’t you mean because of the museums? The culture.
Robert, this is your first tour with The Ten Tenors. What has the experience been like?
Robert – I’ve been with The Ten Tenors for 14 days and I’m still having to pinch myself. Working on the show with everybody and now seeing everybody here today suited up, it’s all very awesome.It’s always been a dream of mine to sing overseas.
Ben – We’re very lucky to have him, his voice is sublime.
Keane – A fine edition to the group.
You’ve only had two weeks of rehearsals to pull such a big show together, has that been an intense experience?
Keane – It’s been a baptism by fire for the new guys and even for the old guys because most of the music is brand new. It’s songs that we have never sung before and we have to stage it and learn all the music. So we are going to have a bit of a drink each night when the shows are done to celebrate.
Ben –There is a lot more movement on stage this time because obviously we cannot just stand there and perfom an aria like we have before. There is a lot of movement that we’ve had to rehearse and keep in our heads.
So is this the first time we’ll really see The Ten Tenors dance?
Paul – We’ve been known to give the odd dance number here and there so I think we’re just giving the fans a little more dancing and a lot more movement.
Ben – We’ve heard the cry of the fans and we’ve responded.
What is the secret behind The Ten Tenors enduring popularity?
Ben – Our motto has always been ‘we don’ take ourselves seriously, but we take the music seriously’ and that is so true and I think the audience loves that. A lot of joking goes on when we’re waiting in the wings. We all have a very affable natures because we’re just Aussie larrakins that can sing well.
Keane – A lot of people tell us that just by watching us on stage they can see that we’re all good friends and we are. We spend so much time together. That’s actually a really big part of the audition process, to find people that fit in with a group like ours.
I know you can’t let slip all of the songs from your new show, but can you share a few of your favorites?
Ben – We’re doing a medley from The Sound of Music, Bui Doi from Miss Saigon and maybe a little something from The Phantom of the Opera.
Keane – And I won’t say the name of the song but we are doing something from Wicked and something from Once, which is a new big musical at the moment. A nice scope of all types of musicals.
You’re back in Brisbane to perform in June, are you looking forward to that?
Ben – Absolutely. We always love performing in Brisbane because the Lyric Theatre is one of the best places in Australia to perform in, the sound in that place is amazing.
The Ten Tenors will perform at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC on Friday 6 June and Saturday 7 June. Tickets are available form the QPAC website.