Marcus Rivera’s concert last Sunday – a blend of musical theatre, pop and ballad with a hair-raising operatic song thrown in – drew a standing ovation from the audience. What made the show special?

First, it was the pitch: Marcus wanted to highlight Original Philippine Music (OPM) ballads on the stage. This he did with aplomb as he tickled the audience’s hearts and made some cry with his OPM medleys from iconic Filipino big-belters like Lani Misalucha (‘Bukas na lang kita mamahalin’) to a duet with featured guest Chaya Ocampo (she won a horde of fans that night) in the Regine Velasquez classics ‘Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw’ and ‘Ikaw’.

But it was the Mother’s Day tribute ‘Sa ‘Yo Lamang’ that had everyone reaching for the tissues as photos of mums and their families were flashed on screen as Marcus sang the ballad.

There were plenty of surprises in store. In keeping with the theme ‘Uncovered’, the night was a discovery of popular songs performed with a twist. Young ones enjoyed Marcus and Chaya’s version of Miley Cyrus’ ‘Flowers’ while social media was inundated with reactions from the concert about Marcus’ version of the famous ‘Wake me up’ by Avicii.

And then there was the show stopper: his modernised rendition of ‘Alto Giove’ but you have to see it to understand why Marcus is one of the Filipino-Australian community’s finest talents.

Among the comments on social media were:

"Still in awe of Marcus’ talent & skill! My Husband is still “LSSing” on his bossa nova rendition of Separate ways ?? My GenZ Son loved the arguing duet ?? Virtuosic performance of the Opera, He is one of a kind?" - Lady Lauriz Tenorio Buitizon

Loved all the songs. Sa iyo lamang - a perfect song for that segment and Marcus sang it with sweetness and with love. - Prescy Buchlak

Thanks for making me cry (again) with your rendition of Wake me Up, et al. Such an incredible voice that melted our hearts with joy and dreams! - from the Cemtral Coast, Emily-Dingle Rudd

Twas an amazing concert ?????? mooooore… love the Wake Me Up, it was a moving song and your rendition of the Asia’s Nightingale’s songs ?? just love it ... also, Chaya Ocampo is a great singer. - Elsa Collado

Overall, Marcus’ versions of each piece were remarkable! What a night and congrats on a successful concert! - Sheila Collantes

There were plenty of funny moments, too. Marcus kept the audience on their toes with his antics on stage and light banter with people he recognised in the room.

By the end of the show, Marcus, Chaya and the band received a rapturous applause from the audience, all on their feet to show their appreciation for a special Mother’s Day performance they’ll never forget.

Musical direction by Ellen Buckley with Simon Kong on double bass and Austin Hall on drums. Event direction by Chi de Jesus.

Second and last show this Sunday, May 19
Lennox Theatre, Riverside
Corner Church and Market St Parramatta (free parking on Sundays)
Tickets from $29.95 (rows H and J) - $89.95 (Premium)
Book your tickets at Riverside.

Photo credits: Kei Reyes Photography

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