LADY SHAULA; theatre dining at Bella

Classical opera singer Lady Shaula was in Kota Kinabalu, after her Bangkok gig was cancelled due to floods. Because of that, Bella Restaurant in the Jesselton Hotel hosted a fine night of entertainment: Songs from the musicals sung by Lady Shaula, together with a special Theatre Menu.

THE MENU:

Prawn Bisque
Mixed Green Salad with Baby Vegetables tossed in Piquillo Pepper dressing

MAIN COURSE, choice of:
Center Cut Beef Tenderloin over Roasted Potato and a Black Pepper sauce reduction
or:
Grilled Tasmanian Salmon over Roasted Vegetables, finished with a Grain Mustard Butter sauce

DESSERT
Chocolate Lava Cake

Includes:
Two Glasses of Wine

Coffee & Tea

Australian Opera singer Lady Shaula at Bella restaurant, Jesselton Hotel, Kota Kinabalu

THE SINGER:

Lady Shaula Salathe [it’s her real inherited title] was the youngest Australian to achieve A.Mus.A and L.Mus.A. during her time (aged 14 & 16). This operatic singer has a stunning vocal range of 3+ octaves.

Originally a classical pianist from Melbourne, classical crossover soprano Lady Shaula is an international harpist, singer & multi-faceted artist. She was Carlotta in “Phantom of the Opera”, and has sung with Victorian State Opera & Australian Opera.

THE PROPS:
Light and sound specialist Mega Boogie Sdn Bhd‘s Lazman came over to Bella’s dining area, and looked around for the electrical points, of which there were two. “We’ll use LED lights; since we are also running speakers and music equipment out of these electrical points, we don’t want to overload and blow Bella’s circuits.”

He supplied a gorgeous Korg Stage Vintage piano; the keys were fully weighted, and the sound was great!

To top off the effect, he attached a Shure Vintage style mic to the mic stand, adjusted it so that Lady Shaula could sit at the piano and sing and play at the same time.

A headphone jack which would feed into the mixer would suffice for Lady Shaula’s iPod backing tracks.

Two Mega Boogie staff — Izharuddin and Lenn — would control the lighting and mix the sound from behind the “stage” area. The tables were elegantly set for 45 people; it was a Full House.

Then, there she was. Lady Shaula was standing there in the lobby, cool as a cuke. A diva in the original sense of the word.

She was ushered backstage to go through the technicals; she sat at the piano, ran her fingers over the keys and made some adjustments to the settings; she chatted with Izharuddin and Lenn about her song list – she was going to describe which songs were happy and which were sad, so they would know how to adjust the lights.

The guests had now finished their starters and main course, so all the basic needs were sated, and they were ready to move on to the finer senses…

Lady Shaula began Act I, entering the stage area holding a candle; Bella Floor Manager Mariana directed staff to dim the room lights. We were now a rapt audience, under the spell of The Lady with The Voice, who stood within a haze of blue spotlight.

Lady Shaula took us on a winding journey about the life of a professional opera singer. Her beautiful songs were interspersed with funny anecdotes about failed auditions and the general flukiness of a life in the performing arts. As she sang ‘On My Own’ from ‘Les Miserables’ and delivered up an electrifying performance of ‘Think of Me’ from ‘Phantom of the Opera’, enthusiastic applause rang out from the audience throughout the evening.

Act Two began after Dessert, and when Lady Shaula filled her lungs and was really ready to let rip…. even the Mega Boogie crew had to concede that with this one – it barely mattered whether she had a mic or not!

She sang ‘Bella’s Aria’ from her upcoming musical ‘Annabella Rousseau’; we [the audience] were given a percussive role in an a cappella version of ‘Habanera’ from Carmen; and she melted our hearts with her virtual duet with Andrea Bocelli, ‘In-Canto’.

With songs from ‘Wicked’ and ‘Chicago’, it all ended with the beautiful ‘Con te Partiro’. Lady Shaula was poised and gracious, the guests loved her, and one diner sponsored a bottle of champagne for her afterwards. This event had hit a sweet spot; good food and good music is hard to beat.

The inspiration behind the menu, Bella’s Head Chef Leo Velazquez, was actually in KL on the night, and the main man holding the fort was Chef Ajat, originally from Indonesia, who has been the supporting Bella Chef for the last six years. All the Bella staff worked dilligently that night, making it a fine and enjoyable experience for us all.

Lady Shaula promised to return to us here in KK, and we will be waiting. Follow her on Facebook, her albums can be purchased through iTunes or through her website, http://www.ladyshaula.com.

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