The Ten Tenors: Australia’s Holiday Gift To San Diego
Australia presents a special Christmas gift to San Diego as The Ten Tenors perform their holiday concert Dec. 8-13 at the Civic Theatre. But the ten gents from down under say not to expect a traditional operatic recital. They combine their sassy Australian sense of humor with witty hijinx to stage a musical performance that’s sure to rock the house.
“Ten Tenors typically gives the idea of straight opera,” says group member Benjamin Clark, referring to the popularity of the Three Tenors. “One of our missions is to straight away show that it’s not going to be your average night at the opera.”
“I would say fun,” adds Boyd Owen. “Another word we can add to that is Australian, because of our very distinct flavor of humor and whit.”
The group bursts into a flurry of adjectives to describe their musical performances. Hijinx, shenanigans and tom foolery can be heard above the laughter.
“I would summarize it as Australian, eclectic, high octane, off the wall fun,” says Tod Strike. “Australian is not taking yourself too seriously. It’s relaxed. It’s heart-warming. We take our musical seriously, but not ourselves very much.”
The Ten Tenors started almost 15 years ago by a group of students from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. When these young men banded together, they originally intended to perform for fun and some extra pocket money while studying at the university. It turned out to be the group’s Australian antics that set them apart from other groups and garnered attention and adoration around the world.
The group’s members have changed since its inception in 1995. Currently featured are tenors Dion Molinas, Tod Strike, Benjamin Clark, Jeff Teale, Graham Foote, Steven Snowden, Dominic Smith, Stewart Morris, Boyd Owen and Luke Kennedy.
The San Diego concert features music from Nostalgica, The Ten Tenor’s eighth album released this past October 2009 – described by long-time Tenor, Drew Graham as “a romantic journey of musical discovery” as it combines classic ballads, opera-takes on post-war jazz and a dash of pop culture for good measure.
“The majority of the songs that we do have all been covered, by multiple artists over multiple demographics over multiple decades,” says Graham. “Which for me is cast-iron proof that they evoke a sense of nostalgia by virtue of their popularity.”
“We believe it to be our best album to date,” says D-J Wendt, The Ten Tenors Manager.
“We do do opera, but we extend further than that,” Benjamin says of the San Diego repertoire. In the new show Nostalgica, for example, The Ten Tenors start off singing opera and then transition into the 1920 with music like “What A Wonderful World” and “Moon River,” and then progress on to more contemporary selections from Queen and Simon and Garfunkel.
“It shows we do not take ourselves seriously at all,” Benjamin continues, “because a normal person would not do that.”
In addition to featured selections from their Nostalgica album, San Diego audiences will hear several holiday tunes, and a special preview of some new songs.
“Audiences coming to San Diego will very, very likely get an opportunity to see a couple of songs that we’ll preview for next year’s show,” says Graham. “We’re coming to the end of our year, and we love to hear what educated audiences like San Diego would think about our new direction.”
None of the singers would elaborate on their new direction, but Stewart did say, “It’s something we’ve never done before. Go and look at all the stuff we’ve done before, and it’s not that.”
With an unparalleled palette of repertoire, with both old and new songs, The Ten Tenors have taken their passion for quality music and powerful singing to London’s Royal Albert Hall, Sydney Opera House, LA’s Shrine Auditorium, Tchaikovsky Hall Moscow, most recently to Korea and Germany. They are delighted to be sharing this latest step in the journey with San Diego audiences.
The Ten Tenors
A Broadway/San Diego ~ A Nederlander Presentation