The Great Pretender | Max RieblIs it possible for a classical countertenor to transcend into the world of pop, or even become the world’s next rockstar?

Max Riebl (Orchestra Victoria, Royal Philharmonic) is on a mission of self-discovery in his debut solo production, The Great Pretender. After decades of singing baroque, Riebl is turning the tables on classical music, infusing it with pop, jazz, and even some Aussie rock.

It’s a daring project, one of Australia’s most renowned countertenors going rogue and stripping back the complicated classical arrangements, whilst simultaneously adding previously unknown depth to contemporary pop.

Riebl is a great pretender, a chameleon; his commanding stage presence befitting a seasoned opera singer is peppered with quirky humour and self deprecating wit. That is where the beauty of this piece lies; Riebl is bringing opera out of the stuffy concert halls and to the people. And it’s wonderful. Wonderful to hear this music, hear this voice fill the curtained walls of the Wonderland Spiegeltent when he could just as well fill the depths of Carnegie Hall with his soaring voice.

However beneath the breathtaking talent that is Riebl’s vocal ability, he reveals a vulnerability and is an engaging host. Riebl appears just as at home on stage performing in a packed out concert hall as within the intimate setting of the Spiegeltent.

Borrowing songs from Elvis, Judy Garland, and Morrisey to name a few, Riebl shows off his remarkable range, singing from the heart, and with a genuine love and connection to music.

Joined by Ziggy Johnston on guitar, the pair are a striking example of how new and old music can live in harmony (pardon the pun) and that music is universal. Whether you’re a hardcore metal head, pop princess or baroque purist, we are all united by a love for music.

Now that I think about it, Riebl is no pretender; he’s the real deal, an artist in every essence of the word, a musician capable of great things who can weave his way through style, genre and time, taking the audience on a musical history lesson with him.

2017 Melbourne Fringe Festival
The Great Pretender
Max Riebl

Venue: Wonderland Spiegeltent | 699 Latrobe Street Docklands (Under the Star)
Dates: 28 – 30 September 2017
Tickets: $22


Related Articles

Fangirls Fangirls
Ultimately, Fangirls really holds together because the entire cast is so awesome, with amazing vocal chops, a diversity of backgrounds and a willingness to try anything. Australian musical Fangirls...
Matador | Midsumma Festival 2021 Matador | Midsumma Festival 2021
A dance competition on steroids, Matador brings a mainstream top-of-the-pops version of a Spanish dance love story to Her Majesty's Theatre. The curtain raises to reveal a diverse cast of...

Most read Melbourne reviews

Master of the deadpan, harsh host of Hard Quiz, and heartless interrogator on Hard Chat, making...

It doesn’t matter how much you know or care about the legality of the Essendon Football Club...

If you’re looking for a show that’s completely different and unlike anything you’ve seen in...

For fans of the musical, the problems and changes to the book and plot of Chess are as familiar...

Swapping 16th Century Verona for 1930s Hollywood, and a lengthy title for the short and snappy...