This year's Cabaret Festival headlining artist, Broadway star Bernadette Peters, gave the opening weekend a huge boost with her only two Australian performances.
Led by the 30-piece Adelaide Art Orchestra, Ms Peters entered stage left to thunderous applause and a standing ovation - and had not yet sung a note!
From her opening number, Let Me Entertain You (from Gypsy), then later with Nothing Like a Dame (from South Pacific), she had the capacity crowd in the palm of her hand, oozing playful sexiness.
A superb rendition of No One is Alone (Into the Woods) brought out the rich textures of a magnificent voice that audiences have come to love.
Light banter about selling real estate and even a joke told to her recently by famed actor Eli Wallach added to the familiar bubbly personality.
A sensational rendition of Fever atop a grand piano hit the mark - one of the few non-musical theatre numbers in the show. Even Disney's When You wish Upon a Star was included in the program.
Most of the second half of the evening was dedicated to the music of Stephen Sondheim - to the delight of everyone.
With the Festival Centre's grand pipe organ illuminated behind her, Ms Peters gave a stirring rendition of Johanna (Sweeney Todd), followed by Not a Day Goes By (Merrily We Roll Along), You Could Drive a Person Crazy (Company) and the very beautiful Children Will Listen (Into the Woods).
Move On (Sunday in the Park with George) and Being Alive (Company) led to what for many was the evening's highlight - a show-stopping Rose's Turn (Gypsy). Some may have made comparisons with Patti Lupone's recent performance, but here Bernadette Peters showed that she could handle the complexity and passion of one of musical theatre's greatest roles.
For the encore, a sublime I Honestly Love You was chosen as a tribute to a friend, the late Peter Allen.
Bernadette Peters came to Adelaide and shone brilliantly. Not only did she look sensational and ageless, her voice was in top form and gave those who came to see her an evening to remember.
The Adelaide Cabaret Festival continues until 20 June. Foxtel filmed both concerts for broadcast and DVD release.
An Evening with Bernadette Peters
Part of the 2009 Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Venue: Festival Theatre
When: 6 & 7 June, 8pm
Tickets: Premium $90 Adult $80 / $70 / $55, Concession $75 / $65 / $55
Bookings: BASS on 131 246 or online at www.bass.net.au