The Live At the Orinda! concert series opens Sunday, Oct. 8 at 5 p.m., with a fundraising gala and the U.S. debut of Canadian singing sensation, Geneviève Leclerc.
“The world has started to take notice of these special musical evenings so we’re inviting the world to Orinda. This season will prove the universal language really is love and music,” said producer Michael Williams.
Williams became aware of Leclerc through YouTube years ago and was “blown away” by her singing ability.
“I immediately bought her first album and was blown away even further. Not only by her incredible voice, but by how she was able to take classics and well-known songs and sing them in a way that was totally different from the original,” Williams explained.
With mesmerizing eyes and a captivating voice, Leclerc has created quite a stir in Canada, on local TV as a sensation on “The Voice” and the 25th Anniversary U.S. National Tour of Les Misérables, playing the pivotal role of Fantine.
Sounding quite different, her powerful approach to music and intelligent choice of material, along with the ability to fully immerse herself in a song, has led to comparisons with Barbara Streisand, Dame Shirley Bassy and Celine Dion.
“She typically plays large theaters with orchestras and bands, so I wasn’t sure she’d consider a smaller theater,” Williams said. “But when I saw she was doing a series of jazz concerts, followed by a series of Broadway concerts in a smaller venue in Montreal, I thought maybe she would consider it.”
Leclerc was eager to return to the Bay Area and accepted Williams’ invitation to perform. She fell in love with the Bay Area a few years ago when the Royal Caribbean cruise ship she was singing on stopped in San Francisco.
“A very vivid memory lingers in my mind: a square where people dance-swing, vibrant bars and a multitude of restaurants. I am eagerly looking forward to returning; this time for a visit of more than 24 hours,” said Leclerc.
She hopes to explore San Francisco and take a wine trip to Napa Valley during her stay. The Québécoise artist loves how travel, whether around the world singing on cruise ships or on her Les Misérables tour has allowed experiencing many different cultures.
“I’ve been fortunate to travel and witness different approaches and various ways of life,” she said. “It has truly broadened my horizons.”
Leclerc brings her “Interprète” show, accompanied by her long-time pianist Nicolas Burgess, to her Orinda debut. It mixes popular and music from musical theater, as well as iconic French songs she hopes will touch hearts even for non-French speakers.
While Leclerc’s music is often challenging, she said her biggest challenge has been learning to wear multiple hats.
“I handle the management and bookings myself,” she said. “It’s work I really enjoy, but it takes a lot of time. I must be incredibly disciplined with managing my time.”
Fortunately for Orinda audiences, she managed to dedicate a good swath of time to create a vibrant concert for her Live At the Orinda! debut.
“I couldn’t be happier to produce Geneviève’s U.S. concert debut and share her phenomenal talent with everyone at the Orinda Theatre,” Williams said.
For tickets to the Oct. 8 show and fundraiser, which includes several silent auction items, visit www.orindamovies.com.
Sally Hogarty can be reached at email@example.com.