Australia will be well represented at the celebrations for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's 50th birthday next week in London. Two of the country's biggest voices in Tina Arena and John Farnham will appear in the concert to be staged at the Royal Albert Hall on April 7.
Both performers are regarded as pop-music stars but have done theatre in the past. Arena was the narrator for the 1993 Australian tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Farnham in a major arena production of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1994. They will be on the same bill as Sarah Brightman, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Glenn Close.
Tina will perform the title track to Lloyd Webber's new musical Whistle Down the Wind, and will also release it as a single worldwide. She recorded the track in Los Angeles two weeks ago. Previously her single "Chains" was a major hit in the UK.
Farnham remains one of Australia's most loved performers after 25 years as a recording artist and live performer. The choice to represent Australia has been met with some surprise as it is seen to be at the expense of major 'theatre-based' performers.
--By Peter Ford