Assumptions about glamour and scale are understandable when considering how a concert with one of the biggest stars of the West End and Broadway might be. Taking a seat in Hamer Hall and seeing a reduced stage and only a small assembly of awaiting instruments was a gentle induction to the delightfully intimate evening that followed.
Visiting Australia for the first time prior to opening as Che in a forthcoming production of Evita in Japan, Ramin Karimloo is a highly decorated Iranian-born, Canadian actor and singer heralded in some of the world’s most famous musicals. A theatrical force, his starring roles include Jean Valjean, Enjolras and Marius in Les Misérables and The Phantom and Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera. Most notably, Ramin was handpicked by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber to star in the title role in Phantom sequel Love Never Dies, and then for a production streamed live to cinemas worldwide, Ramin returned to the original title role in 2011 to mark the 25th anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
Walking on stage as casually as he was dressed for his first and only concert in Melbourne, this immensely talented performer revealed himself also to be an incredibly likable, warm and engaging man. Evidently happy to chat as if here to make new friends, charming rapport aside, Hamer Hall was full for another reason – That Voice.
In a well-constructed setlist that allowed him to canvas some of his own (excellent) compositions alongside highly anticipated musical standards, Ramin Karimloo is an exceptionally gifted singer who simply delivered. In a time when televised talent quests encourage gushing and thunderous applause when a note of any length is sung at volume, it’s abundantly refreshing to witness living testimony to “just because you can..!” Seeing a performer more than capable of immense vocal power use it skilfully, seldomly and contextually was a masterclass to the countless singers in the audience. And countless singers there were, as demonstrated when his call went out “Is anyone here studying Musical Theatre?” As excited disciples cheered and yelled in confirmation, Ramin Karimloo might well have just asked if Melbourne has a river flowing through it called The Yarra.
Guest starring in this three date Australian tour is Melbourne Musical Theatre star Anna O’Byrne. Recently back from London where she starred in a revival of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webbers, The Woman in White, Anna was acclaimed for her portrayal of Eliza Doolittle in a production of My Fair Lady directed by Dame Julie Andrews. Performing solo and in duet with her co-star, Anna O’Byrne was the perfect choice for an evening aimed straight at musical theatre fans. A beautiful voice and a performer worthy of claiming her title as Australia’s current leading lady.
With his soaring stunning gift of a voice and truly engaging banter, Ramin Karimloo is a humble and gifted showman. Easy on the ear, and let’s be honest, ridiculously easy on the eye, he will be made very welcome indeed should he make a return to any Melbourne stage.
Arts Centre Melbourne & Concertworks present
Ramin Karimloo in Concert
with special guest Anna O’Byrne
Venue: Hamer Hall | Arts Centre Melbourne VIC
Date: 20 June 2018
Tickets: $65 – $160