Top Ten take it to Broadway

IN talking to music co-ordinator and performer from the Ten Tenors, Paul Gelsumini, I learn a new adjective – “tenorial”.

“We’re not all top end, but everyone has tenorial qualities,” he tells “CityNews”.

The Ten Tenors… “Ten Aussie blokes having fun on stage and loving music.”

The Ten Tenors… “Ten Aussie blokes having fun on stage and loving music.”

Well, maybe they’re not Carreras, Pavarotti or Domingo, but they’ve been knocking audiences dead for 15 years. They’ve sung for Oprah, recorded the theme song for the film “The Jungle Book 2″ and sold more than 3.5 million concert tickets across seven continents, not bad for a bunch of busking boys from Queensland Con.

Of course, a lot of water has passed under the bridge in that time and now, Gelsumini admits, none of the tenors is from the original cohort, though a few have been there for more than 10 years.

The sound remains true to the group’s essence, he says: “Ten Aussie blokes having fun on stage and loving music.”

It’s really a brotherhood, he tells me, predicting that audiences will “walk away with a big smile on their faces.”

Its members are Robert Barbaro, Cameron Barclay, Benjamin Clark, Keane Fletcher, Gelsumini, Sebastian Maclaine, Scott Muller, Joseph Naim, Jared Newall and Ben Stephens, with an average age of 26.

Gelsumini’s day job is to keep the group up and running and to run auditions.

He says members get married or move on to careers in musical theatre, so right now they’re looking for someone new.

They prefer to tour with 11 tenors, he explains, “to minimise complications”. He himself started out as number 11.

The Ten Tenors… “Ten Aussie blokes having fun on stage and loving music.” Ten Tenors' music co-ordinator and performer, Paul Gelsumini.

Ten Tenors’ music co-ordinator and performer, Paul Gelsumini.

Born into a big Italian family in Melbourne, Gelsumini studied for a bachelor of music at Monash then headed to Tuscany to study with a maestro, later performing at the big Puccini Festival. Back in Australia, he did a dancing course in South Melbourne, then got into the Tenors about four years ago.

The 10 different voices, he says, can “bring the light and shade” as well as “the power of 10 men singing in unison”.

The show they’re bringing to Canberra is the US smash hit “Ten Tenors on Broadway”. It’s less operatic and more showbiz, with numbers such as “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat”, “Over the Rainbow”, “Cheek to Cheek” and “The Boxer”.

But, he is quick to point out, they’re also doing “Music of the Night” from “Phantom of the Opera”, “I’ll Never Walk Alone” from “Carousel” and “Bring Him Home” from “Les Miz”.

“We are always trying to keep the tenorial sound as much as we can,” Gelsumini says.

“Ten Tenors on Broadway”, Canberra Theatre, July 17-19, bookings to 6275 2700 or canberratheatrecentre.com.au

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