Renowned for being a lovable larrikin and inimitable maestro, ASO audiences love Conductor Guy Noble for the ASO’s Classics Unwrapped, a series the playful series that explores the world of your favourite classics.
Be prepared for a treat as Guy conducts not one, but two Festival of Orchestra (FOFO) concerts.
Classical Spectacular, Wednesday 24 November, Adelaide Showground
A Night on Broadway, Wednesday 1 December, Adelaide Showground
What was your first Broadway musical experience and what made it memorable?
I remember being taken by my parents to see Jesus Christ Superstar in the 1972 production in Sydney – starring Jon English and Michelle Fawdon. It was electric. I had never seen or heard anything like it – Lloyd Webber comes from a classical background so there was an interesting mix of rock music and sections that could have been straight out of a Shostakovich. I loved it so much I even made a model of the set, with this incredible dodecahedron designed by Brian Thomson. It was way ahead of its time.
Who is Broadway’s best leading lady?
My first professional show was Hello Dolly starring Australia’s Jill Perryman. She was and is a star in every sense – a leader of the company, everyone looked up to her. She did almost every single performance in the entire season across the country and di it all with humour and grace. When you have someone like that at the top, it spreads throughout the entire company.
Explain what the key ingredients are to a successful broadway hit
I think it was Stephen Sondheim who said once that a truly great musical will have lots of laughs, a few moments where you feel moved to tears, but also at least one moment where the hairs go up on the back of your neck and you think “this is what life is about”. I totally agree with that.
What is the worst Broadway hit and why did it flop?
I saw a doco recently on the making of Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along. Hal Prince and Stephen Sondheim are two people who know theatre inside out, but it was so interesting to see them merrily rolling along to a complete disaster. A show that plays backwards in time. There seemed to be no-one saying “Um, will the audience get this?”. They didn’t and it closed very early. But now years after it has a wonderful life and has become a popular musical. So an early flop can become a cult hit later on.
What is a musical that you haven’t seen but is on your to watch list?
Unbelievably, I have still not seen Hamilton. And unfortunately a lot of other people haven’t either, as it is on ice until COVID restrictions lift.
Describe being a Conductor
Being a conductor is an odd profession. For a start, no-one really understands what you do. People always ask “what do you do with your arms?” “Why isn’t the orchestra looking at you?”. They don’t see the real work which is in rehearsal where you make countless decisions. It is a bit like a record producer, you sit at a big mixing desk and fiddle with the faders to bring out this or that instrument, as well as deciding the tempo and the overall architecture of the piece.
Amy Lehpamer is the leading lady on stage for A Night on Broadway – what do you love about Amy?
Amy has a warmth and a delightful personality on stage. I’ve seen her many times and loved her performances, and this is actually the first time we will work together. We’ve spoken on the phone and emailed, and I am already a big fan.