The Dinner Theatre on Yonge Street between Davisville and St. Clair, still surprises with unusual ventures. The deep-down dark space with three tiers of lamp lit dinner tables opened the doors to the adoring fans of Mark DuBois, Canadian tenor of international repute.
In this intimate setting Mark DuBois presented the audience with a wide selection of people-pleasers, some in English, German, French and Italian. Each song or aria was introduced wittingly and with great charm in typical DuBois style. The tenor and the real person became one seamless entity presenting art as entertainment. Less formal than a (strictly) concert stage, the setting allowed for real contact between performer and audience.
And if the technical team doesn't turn the house lights off altogether during the performance (which they won't again) and also leaves them up during dinner (so the appreciative public can besides tasting actually see the very good food being served for dinner) an incredible evening of music should become a steady staple for the Limelight Theatre, especially if Mark DuBois could be persuaded to do this more often.
His accompanist on the grand piano was Gloria Saarinen, and extremely accomplished pianist, who enhanced the performance tremendously with her skillful play.
A solo of one of Schubert's Impromptus garnered her an extra round of thunderous and well-deserved applause.
Mark DuBois explained that to him singing is more than the extension of a speaking voice, it is the extension of the soul. No doubt this is the reason why audiences respond to him so well, they feel personally and directly communicated to.
For those couple of hours people appreciated life and all it has to offer more, including the trials and tribulations. If art's purpose is to set us free, as German poet and dramatist Friedrich Schiller suggests then Mr. DuBois did a superb job. The audience was extremely cheerful and relaxed at the end of the evening.
A Schubert "Ständchen", Sondheim's "Send In The Clowns", or Webber's "Music of the Night" are just some examples in which DuBois' lyric tenor voice with the very warm baritone range could be especially appreciated.
His glorious rendition of the Lehar wrote especially for Richar Tauber was unforgettable. He brought to life the charm and joie de vivre of Vienna, Paris and Sorrento.
Comedy found it's place in Novello's "Her Mother Came Too" and in diCapua's "O Sole Mio, a persiflage of the 3 Tenors phenomenon. Classic opera was honoured with Verdi's "La Donna é mobile, and tradition was well served with the encore choice of "Danny Boy"
These over 20 pieces Mark DuBois had chosen represent but a small selection of his large repertoire and allowed the audience to appreciate this gifted artist for his virtuosity.
If you haven't been to Mark DuBois' concert at the Limelight, I recommend you do so and reserve your seats quickly for April 3rd and 4th. You might not have Canadian legend Maureen Forrester in the audience as opening nighters did but you'll be in very distinguished company with Mark DuBois.