Friday, May 25, 2012

Vocal Master Class

A wonderful opportunity for aspiring young singers to work with the best.  Sponsored by Eric and Gina's Big City Broadway.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ottawa: A Retrospective

From Maggi:  After returning home from a five day trip to Ottawa and seeing the "Do You Hear the People Sing" concert three nights in a row I am still basking in the glow of hearing Eric sing in a venue and with an orchestra worthy of his talent.  He looked very handsome in his Hugo Boss tux, a fact noticed each night by the females around me in the audience when he walked onstage.  His song, the forceful "I'm Martin Guerre" from that musical and the angelic, tender, "Bring Him Home" from Les Mis were highlights for me.  Each night as he came in the lobby he was surrounded by admiring fans, young and old, male and female, hoping for an autograph and/or photo.  It's a shame this concert wasn't taped to show the world.  It was certainly as good as many things that are shown on PBS.  Now that I am home, I am grateful for the many sweet memories I have to cherish.  Thank you Eric!

Photos by Maggi Wunschl 
(To download click on the yellow icon in the left bottom corner, which will take you to my Picasa Web Album)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tales from the Front: Day Three

What an amazing end to an amazing concert!   The chemistry onstage, along with the energy from the audience made the atmosphere electric and the audience responded with thunderous applause and three standing ovations.  On the way out of the auditorium I could hear people commenting on the excellent performances, and in particular "that man who sang 'Bring Me Home".   Eric, Lea Terrance and Kathy were inundated for autographs and photos and business was brisk at the CD table.  It was an exhilarating evening!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Tales from the Front: Day Two

From Maggi: the weather was much nicer today, with warmer temps enabling us to enjoy a tulip walk and lunch at a great little place in Byward Market.  The concert tonight was as good, if not better than last evening with the added bonus of an onstage surprise visit of Alain Boublil.  The audience was very appreciative of the performers and responded by long standing ovations.  Once again, the auditorium seemed to be filled to capacity.  The cast was in the lobby afterward signing autographs and we met several new Eric fans, among them Shirley and Andrew (pictured here.)

We had the privilege of meeting Alain Boublil and his lovely wife Marie Zamora

Friday, May 11, 2012

Review: Do You Hear the People Sing - A Concert Celebrating the Work of Boublil and Schonberg, Performing Arts Center, Ottawa, Canada - May 9-12, 2012

It was a nine hour drive across the border to Ottawa from Detroit, Michigan, but I wouldn't have missed for the world the opportunity to hear Eric Kunze's heavenly tenor once again.  The beautiful auditorium at the Performing Arts Center, with its excellent acoustics, was the perfect venue for the outstanding voices we heard on Thursday evening.  Having ordered tickets for two of the nights online months ago, I wasn't intending to attend Thursday's performance as well, but knowing Eric was singing, I just couldn't stay away.  We were sitting in the "nose bleed" section of the upper balcony, due to the fact the 2323 seat theater was nearly sold out.  Despite our altitude we could hear every note and every word. 

The audience was engaged from the first few notes of the orchestra's specially written overture, composed of snippets of the shows for which Boublil and Schonberg are famous, a foreshadowing of what was to come.  Each of the songs were introduced with personal anecdotes and banter between the artist and conductor Jack Everly.  The excellent Terrance Mann opened the Miss Saigon set with Bui Doi, accompanied by the thrilling men's chorus of the Ottawa Festival Chorus.  Jack Everly introduced Lea Salonga, who began her career at the age of 17 as Kim in the first Miss Saigon.  Eric (as Marius) and Lea (as Eponine) starred together on Broadway in Les Miserables and haven't sung together since.  After so many years, the magic was still there as they sang the romantic Last Night of the World. Her dramatic I'd Give my Life for You conveyed the heartbreak of a single mother giving up her only child, with a mature understanding and interpretation of the lyrics that only life experience can bring. 

I was excited to hear Eric sing from Martin Guerre and the title song didn't disappoint.  The lyric intensive song told a story, accompanied by forceful vocals and Eric was transformed into Martin himself.  I would love to see him play this role!  It was followed by his duet with Marie Zamora, Live With Someone You Love (also from the same musical), their voices blending perfectly.

The second half brought music from The Pirate Queen, which starred Kathy Voytko on Broadway. Her sparkling rendition of Woman made me wish I could see this musical again.  She and Eric performed If I Said I Loved You from that show. 

Saving the best for last, the Les Miserables set included, in part, On My Own, At the End of the Day, Master of the House (hilariously performed by Mann and Voytko) and Stars (Mann).  A Heart Full of Love gave us a chance to imagine what it would have been like to see Eric as Marius.  He not only sings but conveys the emotion which transforms him into the characters he is singing about.  When Eric started singing Bring Him Home, an etherial hush fell over the audience.  We almost held our breath, not wanting to break the spell he wove over us.  The notes wafted up into the rafters and brought tears to my eyes.  How is it humanly possible to sing like this?  As the song ended there was a pause, allowing the moment to linger, before the audience erupted into thunderous applause.

The finale, One Day More, brought the entire cast, orchestra and chorus together for a thrilling conclusion to this concert of excellence.  The audience was on its feet for a rousing ovation as the cast bowed, exited and returned to the stage once again.  The encore was, obviously, Do You Hear the People Sing, again to ovations and thunderous applause from the appreciative crowd.  Yes, we definitely heard the people sing.  It was an honor and a privilege to be a part of this wonderful evening.  (Written by Maggi Wunschl)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tales from the front: Ottawa

Terrance Mann, Kathy Voytko, Eric Kunze

National Arts Center

Hi fans,
I am in chilly Ottawa ready to see the first performance of "Do You Hear the People Sing - the Dream Concert" tonight.  It was an overcast day and temps no more than around 50 degrees.  Had breakfast at the Mayflower Cafe on Elgin Street and walked about two miles to the Museum of Civilization.  Resting now in the room before heading over to the National Arts Center for the concert.  I will report fully after today's performance and probably will be adding more on the two subsequent nights.  I feel very lucky to be able to be here enjoying another stellar Eric performance! 
Talk to you soon,