2 July 2013

Idina Menzel charms Australian audiences

Idina Menzel is Broadway royalty, famed in the world of musical  theatre for creating the role of Elphaba the misunderstood, smart, and fiery girl of emerald-green skin who grows up to become the notorious Wicked Witch of the West in the musical Wicked. She won the ‘Tony’ on Broadway, the ‘Oliver’ on the West End and will be singing Defying Gravity for the rest of her career I imagine.

Idina is just completing her first Australian tour and seems to be leaving behind a mass of adoring and delighted fans. The evening I spent in her company at the Sydney Opera House this week is the kind of concert you always remember for its lovely charm and a performer who sure can sing. 
 
 

Idina Menzel has appeared in Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne accompanied by that cities very splendid symphony orchestra, her own traveling trio and conducted by the glamorous Vanessa Scammell.

She literally burst onto the stage at the Opera House and immediately took the roof of the place with The Wizard and I from Wicked and straight into Don’t rain on my Parade from Funny Girl. Talk about starting with a bang!

Idina chose a simple unstructured black gown and was barefoot. Five minutes into her patter and it was obvious this was a very highly strung artist; she seemed to be firing on a whole heap of nervous energy, which to be fair was rather off-putting until you got use to her demeanor. Once she was into a song all of that disappeared.

But sing she sure did, and covered a wide selection of songs all fitting perfectly with the lovely music only a symphony orchestra playing live can deliver. Never better than when she sang At the Ballet and What I did for love from a Chorus Line.  A tribute to the late composer Marvin Hamlish who it appears had been her musical director on an earlier US tour.

Idina also created the role of Maureen from Rent on Broadway at the start of her career and a highlight of the program was her duet Take Me of Leave Me, which she sang with excited audience volunteers - who could all sing, and No Day but Today sung with such passion it was heartbreaking.

After a remarkable ninety minutes we came to the finale, songs from Wicked, which many in the audience had come to hear. Standing very front and centre stage, Idina sang For Good accapella. The power and strength of her remarkable voice filling every corner of the concert hall. Followed by the orchestra and voice together for a never to be forgotten Defying Gravity, her signature song delivered perfectly.   
 

 

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