Multi-talented singer Lani Misalucha lived up to her title as Asia’s nightingale when she performed to packed audiences in Sydney and Melbourne last month. Stage veteran, and her newly-acquired fan, Rod Dingle, shares what it’s like behind the scenes of her performances.
I have worked with so many artists, singers, dancers and performers these past 25 years I’ve lived here in Sydney. My roles have been varied. Some events I’m the MC or the host while in others I’m the overall director, choreographer, stage manager, performer or coordinator. You name it, I would have already done it through the years.
But each project is a new challenge and I guess I’m still here because I enjoy what I do.
The latest project I got involved in was a series of shows with none other than Lani Misalucha, a famous and established artist not just in the Philippines but someone who made a name for herself in the highly-competitive Las Vegas strip in the US.
I remembered the first rehearsal: it was the following day after they arrived. She walked into the venue – I was already there with the production team along with some of the support artists. She was smiling and I thought very unassuming and came to give me a hug and buzz on the cheeks and she did the same towards the others who were already there.
As I have never really seen nor heard of Lani in person (all I knew about her was the web research I have made of her before she arrived), I was really excited to meet her and listen to her - and true enough - as soon as she started to belt the first song - Queen of the Night - she captured my full attention straight away. I said from the way she initially conducted herself during rehearsals that she was certainly someone who knew what she wanted.
I received her song line-up well before she arrived. Her husband and manager Noli sent it to me through email earlier. I went through it immediately and with curiousity - and lo and behold - Nessun Dorma was in her repertoire. I said to myself, “Wow, I can't wait to hear her sing this song.”
At the rehearsals, she truly did not disappoint everyone who were in the room. As soon as she started singing, everyone stopped, went quiet, and listened. I even had goose bumps just watching and listening to her and that was just a rehearsal at the time.
I said to myself, “Imagine when she sings this at the actual show, I am sure it will bring the house down.”
I was right. When she finally sang that song and many others in her repertoire, the audience erupted and wanted more! I found out later that she had classical training as an operatic singer. She was simply amazing.
To put her performance into perspective, you have to remember that there are lots of preparations that go into a project like hers. The sound, the staging, the hairdresser and make-up, the outfits, the programme - the list goes on. There will be discussions, there will be demands and there will be lots of challenges - but I honestly feel that all these will be gone - once the artists - support and the main one - go up on stage - perform and do it very well - and the audience would be truly delighted and applaud uproariously - and at that moment, anyone involved in a project like Lani's would simply feel in awe and fulfilled and all those tension, stress and exhaustion would vanish - and be replaced by sheer joy and feeling of ecstasy and relief. Yes, I can say that it's all been worth all the hard work!
Would I do it again? Remember that this is the very first Filipino project where we did five shows in Sydney in just two continuous weekends plus one more show in Melbourne.
Oh yes, I will. Behind a very successful staging are so many behind-the-scene supporters and workers and to them I say “thank you for all the great support”. I want to say thank you to the five club venues, the Philippine Entertainment, the sponsors, all those behind the scenes - production, reception, security, etc., and of course, Lani and her entourage. It was truly an amazing experience by all.
Together we've done it and done it well. Can't wait for the next one.
Photos courtesy of Rod Dingle and Craig Peihopa.