Where did all these tenor groups come from? It all began in July of 1990 when José Carreras, Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti performed together as the finale at the World Cup. The Three Tenors were born. I am sure that no one could have imagined twenty years later we would have the Canadian Tenors, The Irish Tenors, Three Mo' Tenors, The Redneck Tenors, and the focus of this article Australia’s Ten Tenors.
Let me set the stage. My good friend Linda loves the Ten Tenors. She also loves Oprah. Recently The Ten Tenors were on Oprah, and so off to Fort Worth we go. Now my enthusiasm was not overwhelming, but it was there, because I LOVE Bass Hall, and the downtown Fort Worth experience is unparalleled. Bass Hall is bar none the finest concert hall in North Texas. Not only is Bass a great space, Fort Worth audiences are a bit old school when it comes to a night out at the theater. You always get your monies worth in Fort Worth before the show even starts, because these people still dress for a night out on the town, and the people watching is amazing. But I digress...
The Ten Tenors exploded onto the Bass Hall stage with a very diverse setlist of both traditional opera fare and what is called “popera”. The show start was a bit schmaltzy for me, I felt as if I had been transported through time to the mid-sixties, they all wore painted on smiles and danced steps straight from the Motown playbook. I was reminded of the line from Steel Magnolia's “They are all carved out of cream cheese” I don't know if it was the selection of the first few songs, or my unfamiliarity with the concept, but it was not until they transitioned from the popera into traditional opera fare that I was glad to be there.
The stage was simple, basically the ten and a grand piano. While there was no set onstage the use of light to set and change mood was flawlessly executed. There was quite a bit of high tech lighting that turned what could have been an enjoyable concert into an incredible experience.
Listening to these ten sing in Italian, with amazing harmony “melted my butter” (I know, I just watched Steel Magnolias the other day, sorry). I don't know what was more appealing, the amazing music they made together, or the obvious fun they had doing it. Their genuine affection for what they are doing and each other is obvious and draws you in. They interspersed the music with light banter and stories, but what you get here is mostly music. By the end of the first act I was sold.
Amazingly, they saved the best for the second act, they interspersed serious opera (Verdi's Anvil Chorus, Carl Orff's Carmina Burana) with their own versions of the best of pop. (River Deep, Mountain High and Bohemian Rhapsody). The latter was a show stopper that brought the audience to its' feet.
There is great diversity in this show not only in the music, from Ike and Tina to Meatloaf, but also in the performers. While all ten are easy to look at, whatever your type is, you will find him here. I had great fun watching the reaction of the baby boomer women, who by the end were so worked up, I was shocked I didn't see a single pair of panties hurled at the stage.
When the ten finally left the stage, which was after three encores brought on by rapturous applause, I got what all the hype is about. Linda and I had a great night, a night in downtown Fort Worth is a great experience, don't just go for the show, get their early and have dinner across from the theater at the Flying Saucer. Walk around Sundance Square after the show, you will miss all the traffic leaving the parking garage, and it's just fun.
The Ten Tenors play Bass Hall in Fort Worth through Sunday. Tickets are $22.-$60.50 and available at basshall.com . Take note, there are amazing performances headed to Bass Hall. While at their site, look for upcoming appearances by Craig Ferguson, Shirley MacLaine and 9 to 5...The Musical. Bass Hall never disappoints.
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