The Ten Tenors – Mum’s the Word!

The Ten Tenors Mum’s The Word Tour

Presented by Frog in a Sock & DMAND

QPAC Concert Hall

 Wednesday May 15 2013


Reviewed by Guy Frawley


At the tail end of a four-month tour, the lads from The Ten Tenors burst onto the Brisbane stage last Wednesday night for the penultimate show of their Mum’s the Word tour. On the road since February they’ve toured through North America, Europe and have brought their show back home to finish things off with dates in Toowoomba, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Caloundra, Brisbane and Townsville.


The group consists of (take a breath) Jack Fowles, Ben Stephens, Tomas Birch, Scott Muller, Sebastian Maclaine, David Kidd, Daniel Belle, Chad Hilligus, Jared Newall, Benjamin Clark, Keane Fletcher and Paul Gelsumini. They’ve been working hard for most of the year and it shows. Their level of experience as a group and as individual performers is obvious from their very first number, the infectious Cancion Del Mariachi.



These guys are a so well polished they practically sparkle.



Seeing them posing for a photographer before the show it’s clear they’re visually more “Pin-up” than “Pavarotti”; my date for the evening remarked that they looked like a group of frat boys preparing for an Abercrombie & Fitch casting call.


I think it’s fair to say that one of the main draw cards of The Ten Tenors is their ability to remain true to their own general style whilst traversing a number of varied and distinct genres. Often more Bublé than Bocelli in their song choice, I would have liked a few more classical pieces, especially in the second half, but their ability to bounce from Bizet to Bacharach was impressive.


I’m aware that some opera purists find this all terribly too much to handle, posting smug commentary in online forums (Don’t believe me? That’s what Google’s for), and yet after attending an absolutely packed performance by the distinctly more classical Bella Diva last week I can’t help but wonder how extensively The Ten Tenors have aided locally in the democratisation of opera.


The Ten Tenors

The group worked the audience like a charm, receiving applause with the opening bars of several of their numbers and eliciting the expected laughter from each of their well-rehearsed lines. Although it did start to wear thin halfway through the second half of the show when we were still being told how happy they were to be “Back home in Brissie!” If anything, the stage banter and general interaction would be the one area of their performance that I found lacking. I was expecting my popera to be served with a side of schmaltz, but I hadn’t anticipated it to appear so consistently contrived and wooden. If only we’d heard less about how happy they were to be home and how bonza an Aussie audience was, there probably would have been time for another brilliant song.


On the topic of Australiana, I’d like to give special mention to their rendition of Waltzing Matilda. Personally I’ve never really liked the song and haven’t been a fan of any of the covers I’ve heard over the years…until now. Their version was truly beautiful and for the first time in my life I found myself humming that famous chorus as I drove home.


I only have one other critical comment to make and this isn’t aimed at the boys at all, but whoever set up the sound design at the Concert Hall should perhaps spend some time listening from the perspective of the balcony. The stunning voice work of ten highly talented singers has less impact when you’re sitting there thinking, “Gosh I wish they’d turn them up”.


The lighting design on the other hand, was brilliantly done. Throughout the entirety of the performance the lighting was punchy and creative. The set was minimal, with several low lying blocks to add some levels, but between these ten larger than life performers and the effective lighting there was no need for anything more. Hanging midway up centre on the back wall was a panel of flashing bulbs that was able to contribute a surprising amount to the show, especially during the Michael Jackson numbers.


As I mentioned earlier, these guys know how to play to their audience. This was never more evident than during their encore and it was an impressive feat to watch, sitting there and being able to see an entire theatre eating out of the palms of their ten sets of hands. They followed their performance immediately with a meet and greet session in the foyer. From start to finish this was a performance built to please the audience. And please they did; to say that the audience was gushing with praise afterwards wouldn’t be an exaggeration. Overhearing several snatches of conversation as we all filed out of the theatre afterwards it was clear that The Ten Tenors had taken aim, fired and hit their mark. BULLSEYE.



1. Cancion del Mariachi

2. Brindisi

3. Parlami d’amore Mariu`

4. Elton John Medley

5. Ave Maria

6. Rondine Al Nido

7. La Danza

8. Down Under

9. I Still Call Australia Home

10. Waltzing Matilda

11. Michael Jackson Medley



12. Dein ist mein ganzes Herz

13. Soldier’s Chorus

14. Hallelujah

15. Buongiorno Principessa

16. Miserere

17. The Show Must Go On

18. Somebody to Love

19. Wind Of Change

20. The Boxer

21. I’d Do Anything For Love

22. Close To You

23. Nessun Dorma

24. Hey Jude




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