Russell Watson Concert at the Regent Theatre, Melbourne

Have you missed me???? I hope so. I can't believe I haven't had the time to natter with you since Wednesday, but let me tell you I have been in a social whirl! 
I must first tell you about Thursday night and the Russell Watson concert....what a treat! I headed into the city for my rendezvous with my OH for a bite to eat before the concert. The public transport I think is great here although quite a few Melbournians complain about it. It's certainly not a good idea to take the car into the city unless you have megga bucks due to the time restrains on parking spaces or the amount charged in car parks. That is if you can possibly find a space in the first place. The plus to public transport is there's no hassle about finding a place...so all that hassle is taken away. 
When I got to the station, I only had a few minutes to wait before my train arrived.....

I'm not sure why my legs look like elephant legs....they really aren't that shape! Promise.
Hmm....where to sit???
Not exactly caught in the rush.....air conditioned too.

After meeting my OH we decided to nip into the Chinese quarter for a Indian...LOL...no I was just checking to see if you were paying attention...obviously we had a chinese banquet.
I didn't take any photos because we were too keen to eat and to arrive at the theatre in time for the start of the concert. I very often hold up meals etc whilst I take a photo which I understand can be quite annoying. So what can you do?...if you're a blogger you're constantly looking at things differently or through the lens of a camera. I know you'll relate to this...

So onto the Regent Theatre in the centre of Melbourne...and what a theatre!

The landmark Regent Theatre holds a key part in the city’s history since opening as a grand picture palace in 1929. Having survived a fire, a flood, twenty years in darkness and many threats of demolition to turn the magnificent theatre into a car park. The venue reopened in August 1996 meticulously refurbished an extravagant, large Spanish gothic hall to its breathtaking former glory.



Today it stands more lavish and grand than ever and continues to host some of the world’s most renowned theatre productions including Disney’s The Lion King, We Will Rock You, Sunset Boulevard, Wicked, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Fiddler on the Roof, Annie,  – The Musical and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies. 


But I'm forgetting that this post is supposed to be about Russell Watson...but I wanted to set the scene....anyway....please take you're seats ladies and gentlemen the show is about to commence.....but first a few facts.

Russell Watson is the most successful British tenor of all time, he has sung for American presidents, Japanese emperors, British Royalty, an array of European Prime Ministers, Middle-Eastern Sultans, even the late Pope John Paul II who requested a private audience with Russell Watson at the Vatican. There have been eight albums, each one winning more praise than the one before. His first, The Voice, went to No. 1 in the US and the UK and won two Classical Brit awards. Encore was No. 1 in the UK classical charts for 30 weeks and Watson won another two Classical Brit Awards. Every Russell Watson UK release has gone Top 10 in the UK and among them he boasts two Double Platinum certifications, one Platinum and two Gold. But this album, Watson says, is special.

Here's a snippet of his latest release and I apologise to my neighbours because I guess they'll know it well by now....
 

His current album, Russell’s Ninth, was recorded in June 2010 with the Roma Sinfonietta - Ennio Morricone’s orchestra of choice – and produced by Mike Hedges. Stronger, more driven and powerful, his renditions of some of the most loved songs of all time, including La Viva Senza Te, Mario Lanza’s Arrivederci Roma and Speak Softly Love (the theme from The Godfather) are as impressive (the tailored suit certainly added a little 'respect'!) as you’d expect from a man singing with, literally, a new lease of life after overcoming two life-threatening brain tumours.


Russell Watson is a freak....He says so himself  "I've got this voice, you see, and people want to hear it," he explains.That was written on a cover of one his first CD 'the voice'....


I have to admit when you hear a powerful voice belt out and the big voice hits the top note, it does give you goosebumps! Well it does me : D
 
His performance was very moving and at times his emotions were palpable...he's had quite a journey.
The son of a factory worker born in Salford in the heart of the industrial North-West of England. Another bonus point in my book ~ from my part of the world :D

He left school at 16 and began worked in a factory making nuts and bolts...but the voice was always inside building ready to surface and escape. He took a gamble and entered the circuit. There were tough times but one night he was working in a working men's club and finished his set with "Nessun dorma". It was a gamble because those club's can be tough venues, but he received a standing ovation, his first, but not his last and as they say...the rest is history 
He gave permission for the audience to take his photo and we had fun whilst he possed for different shots. The atmosphere was so relaxed I think everyone had such an enjoyable time.

And then of course there's the music and that voice...wow....
His special guest on this tour is Australian soprano Greta Bradman ~ spellbinding is a word that comes to mind when I think back to listening to her sing. Pie Jesu was breathstoppingly beautiful.
Gretas paternal grandfather was the iconic Australian cricketer Sir Donald Bradman, though Greta remembers him most fondly for his passion and talent for music. 



What really was surprising was to hear that Russell and the Metropolitan Orchestra plus the Trinity College Choir only had a few rehearsals during that day, before the performance that evening. The conductor Robert Emery was quite a character and conducted in his bare feet, which Russell commented was perhaps because he didn't pay him enough?...but he said it helped to keep him grounded. Russell and Robert obviously have a good relationship and that came across to the audience. Everyone performed brilliantly and I must say even the audience wowed Russell with our little rendition. 


I think my daughter must have had some secret connection (remember this was her birthday gift to me) because Russell sang 'You'll never walk alone' which possibly brought a tear to my OH eye. In case you aren't aware and there's no reason why you should, this particular song happens to be his football team’s (Liverpool) anthem. Maybe Russell is a fan too?

What a fantastic magical night - Sydney you're in for a treat...look after our boy and make him welcome on Sunday....not forgetting Perth!