MUSICAL theatre star Silvie Paladino will join Australian tenor Roy Best and the Melboure Welsh Male Choir in a concert marking the winter solstice.
The concert, on June 22 at Melbourne's Recital Centre, will include favourites from musical theatre (in several different languages), traditional choral pieces, and an array of Welsh songs.
The choir's musical director, David Ashton-Smith said the winter solstice was traditionally associated with ceremonies celebrating regeneration, renewal and the rebirth of the sun.
"But you don't have to go to Stonehenge to mark this natural phenomenon," he said.
"Just join us at the Recital Centre for an afternoon of uplifting music that offers hope and joy. Songs such as You Raise Me Up do raise us up. Music keeps the choir young; it keeps us all young."
Ashton-Smith said the choir was delighted to be returning to the Recital Centre.
"The Recital Centre is one of our favourite performing spaces. Its magnificent acoustics mean that the Melbourne Welsh Male Choir can perform without amplification - the result is a much richer, much more compelling sound.
"Silvie Paladino's soaring voice and Roy Best's dynamic tenor are a perfect complement to the choir's four-part harmonies."
Paladino is best-known for her regular performances at Carols by Candlelight. She performed in London in Les Misérables for two years, played the lead role of Donna in the smash hit Mamma Mia! throughout Australia and Asia, and has also starred in The King and I, Chess and Jerry's Girls.
Former motor mechanic Best started his singing career after appearing on reality TV show Operatunity Oz and has since performed in musical theatre and many operas.
Paladino and Best will give individual performances, team up for songs in Italian and join the choir in singing the popular Neapolitan song O Sole Mio.
Ashton-Smith said the male voice choir makes a unique sound.
"The reduced musical range creates a warm, rich sound. It's a bit like an orchestra full of cellos. The sound made by a four-part male harmony is simply superb," he said.
"The lyrical lilt of the Welsh language also enriches the voices."
The Melbourne Welsh Male Choir has performed all over the world, from Wales and London to Salzburg, Vienna, Atlanta Georgia and Johannesburg.
"'Whether or not they can read music, the choristers put in the work to memorise all their songs - no mean feat considering the ages of choir members," said Ashton-Smith.
"Then when it comes to performing, they visibly rise to the occasion. You can see their collective spirits lift."
Male choirs became popular in Wales from the late 18th century with the rise of non-conformist religions and the 1860s' revival of traditional Welsh music and the formation of the National Eisteddfod Society. Many choirs were associated with mines and some members of the Melbourne Welsh Male Choir hail from mining families.
Melbourne Welsh Male Choir and Sylvie Paladino and Roy Best, June 22, 2pm at Elizabeth Murdoch Hall, Recital Centre, 31 Sturt Street, Southbank.
Tickets $30-$70, www.melbournerecital.com.au