Monday, June 3, 2013 | 8:26 p.m.
In just five days, the quartet of Canadian singers known as The Tenors are on the world’s most whirlwind of showbiz travels, the busiest yet in their booming careers. It began in Italy on Thursday with a flight to San Diego where they performed right off the plane, and then continued with weekend shows in Los Angeles and The Smith Center on Sunday night.
Then Tuesday in London, they perform a private concert for Queen Elizabeth II, their second for Her Majesty in less than a year. The Queen invited them to return to Buckingham Palace after being dazzled by them on a first visit over tea at her Diamond Jubilee celebration at Windsor Castle.
The Queen is hosting the 200 winners of this year’s prestigious Duke of Edinburgh Awards and invited them to be the headline singers. Incredibly, they jet back to Kansas to resume their 70-city North American tour on Saturday.
Before flying to England this morning, The Tenors had an early breakfast meeting with Cirque du Soleil officials here to plan their starring role in the second “One Night for One Drop” benefit that Cirque founder Guy Laliberte and his creative team in Las Vegas will stage at Mandalay Bay next March. This past March, they entertained at the after-party at Bellagio. Next year, they star in the big show.
They are on a roll, and Sunday night’s dazzling Las Vegas show was stunningly brilliant and exhilarating. It won them many standing ovations, cheers and applause from a sold-out audience that had traveled from several countries to witness the singing phenomenons. The night before at The Greek Theater in Los Angeles, superstar music producer David Foster and actress Rita Wilson turned out to greet them.
David put them in front of Las Vegas audiences in October 2011 at one of his David Foster & Friends showcases at Mandalay Bay. Then, The Tenors (The Canadian Tenors at the time) had audiences of 600, and now they’re reaching upwards of 6,000. (They performed during Andre Agassi’s Grand Slam fundraiser at the Wynn in October 2010 and headlined at The Smith Center in March 2012 during the grand-opening weekend.)
Last night backstage, there was solid buzz about them appearing in a run of weekend shows at Caesars Palace when fellow Canadian Celine Dion is on her breaks. Celine once surprised them when they debuted on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
I first met tenor Clifton Murray when he was a teen and I filmed his father’s Nimmo Bay resort in Canada for “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous.” Today with Fraser Walters, Victor Micallef and Remigio Pereira, they have become Canada’s national treasure and musical ambassadors. Their latest album “Lead With Your Heart” landed at #21 on the Billboard 200 with classics and opera from Dylan to Puccini.
They credit their regular Las Vegas visits for a lot of their success. They recorded their November PBS special here at The Smith Center. Their trips have included many Las Vegas attractions, including NASCAR at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the New York-New York roller coaster, Dream Racing and a vintage aerial fighter plane dogfight over Henderson.
“We love Las Vegas. It has a very special meaning to us and always will, even though I’m down $800 from coming here so often,” Clifton told me. “We look forward to many more visits, and we’re really excited about what we might do for the Cirque One Drop show next year.”
As I chatted with the guys last night, they were most excited telling me about the Mother’s Day shock their tour managers pulled off in Chicago on May 12. The video tells the emotional story as 2,000 people in the audience joined in the surprise.
“It was a night we’ll never forget,” Victor told me. “We had absolutely no idea they were there. It’s a month ago, and we’re still talking about what it meant to us. Family is the most important thing to us, especially with all our traveling now.” Last night, several family members from Canada flew down to Las Vegas for a quick visit, with some continuing to London.
One of the highlights of last night’s show was the surprise addition of the robed Las Vegas Mass Choir under the direction of James Smith. They performed two flawless numbers with the Tenors, including the magnificent show closer “Nessun Dorma” in the encore. Other audience favorites: “Bring Him Home” from “Les Miserables,” Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
“Can you believe we are now going back to meet The Queen again, this time at Buckingham Palace in London? Twice just doesn’t happen to four boys from north of the border,” Clifton summed up for me. “We just don’t believe everything that’s happening to us. But it’s great that we can share our joy of beautiful music with the world.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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