Lea Salonga in Concert, Manchester Opera House | Review

July 13, 2019

Lea Salonga in Concert
Manchester Opera House
Reviewed by Mia Goddard
Last week I was lucky enough to see Lea Salonga in concert at Manchester’s Opera House. Salonga is a musical theatre icon most known for originating the role of Kim in Miss Saigon, and voicing the roles of Disney’s Mulan and Jasmine. The concert consisted of a delicious mix of contemporary songs and her favourite show songs on her eagerly awaited UK tour.
She opened the show with ‘Feeling Good’ and then went straight into ‘Go The Distance’ from Disney’s Hercules. She remarked that she likes her sets to reflect the mindset she’s currently feeling and this was a great way to start the show.
Then came ‘Reflection’, a song which she originated from Disney’s Mulan. She commented on how excited she was for the new live action Mulan, and spoke passionately about all the strong Asian girls and women she has talked to about this role, and how representation is starting to get better. It was truly a special moment to hear this sung live.
During the show Lea also performed a variety of musical theatre numbers like ‘Another Hundred People’ from Company, ‘Unusual Way’ from Nine, ‘The Human Heart’ from Once On This Island in which Lea played the Goddess of Love, Erzulie and my personal favourite, ‘Journey To The Past’ from Anastasia.
To finish Act One, Salonga sang ‘I’d Give My Life For You’ from Miss Saigon. She originated the role of Kim in the musical both on the West End and on Broadway, and won an Olivier and Tony award for her performance. It was truly special to hear her sing it live, as Miss Saigon is one of my favourite shows. She told us that she first sang this song over 30 years ago but that she still finds new layers to it, and how it took on a whole new meaning once her daughter was born and that she understands the song much better now.
The second act contained a lot of classics and the audience were invited to join in singing ‘Let It Go’. It was a wonderful singalong! She also treated us to her version of ‘Burn’ from Hamilton which was truly stunning.
The main set concluded with a mash-up of ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ and ‘On My Own’ from Les Miserables in which Salonga has played both Fantine and Eponine in previous productions. This was the highlight of the show for me as Les Miserables will always be one of my favourite musicals, and it was an honour to hear her sing both these songs live.
She then returned for two well deserved encores, a rousing version of ‘This Is Me’ from The Greatest Showman and a beautiful rendition of ‘The Greatest Love Of All’. 
The tour may have been postponed by a few months but was most definitely worth the wait.

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