Playing the roles of Jean Valjean, Enjolras and Marius in Les Misérables, and the Phantom and Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera, Ramin Karimloo quickly became the favourite leading man of London’s West End.
Karimloo was selected by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber to originate the role of the Phantom in Love Never Dies; his voice being heard on the original cast recording by musical theatre lovers around the world.
Further international exposure came when Ramin Karimloo performed opposite Sierra Boggess in the 25th Anniversary Production of The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall, streamed live to cinemas around the world. Karimloo also performed in the Broadway 25th Anniversary of Phantom of the Opera and played the role of Enjolras in the 25th Anniversary Concert of Les Misérables at The O2 Arena in London. He made his Broadway debut playing the role of Jean Valjean in the Broadway revival of Les Misérables.
It’s an impressive bio, but just how does someone born in Iran and raised in Canada end up being one of the world’s most sought-after performers of the stage?
“You know, I don’t really know! I was talking to my wife just the other day about this exact thing!” laughed Karimloo.
Ramin Karimloo grew up hearing his Dad singing around the house, but his inspiration to work in the musical theatre industry wasn’t until he was sitting in a theatre in Toronto watching Colm Wilkinson in the title role of Phantom of The Opera.
Ramin Karimloo was just twelve years old.
“It was awesome!” recalled Karimloo.
The young Ramin Karimloo was so transfixed by Wilkinson’s performance that not only did Karimloo begin to consider musical theatre as a future career, he made a bet with a friend to become the world’s youngest person to play the role of the Phantom.
At age twenty-six, when he was first handed his mask, Ramin Karimloo realised he had succeeded.
His musical theatre journey started onboard a cruise ship, which lead to an audition in Toronto, then London where he met his wife, Mandy. Now with a reason to remain in London, more auditions followed and within just four months Karimloo was working in the West End.
When Ramin Karimloo arrives in Australia for his upcoming concert tour it will be his first visit down under.
“I want the music to be fresh, but since it’s my first time in Australia it will be fresh to audiences anyway,” commented Karimloo.
The idea of doing a concert was not something that Ramin Karimloo was initially happy with.
“‘Music of the Night’ is not a song – it’s a scene!” he exclaimed.
I suggested to Karimloo that there would be a list of songs audiences would expect to hear, but he admitted he doesn’t like to consider any of the songs he performs as being simply “expected”.
“I don’t know if it’s stubbornness or not, but I want my audiences to see an artist enjoying themselves. It took me a while to enjoy doing concerts,” he acknowledged.
“I try not to overthink it. I want to give the audience a whole-hearted and committed performance. It’s infectious if you see an artist having a ball!”
Talking to Ramin Karimloo it is evident that whatever he does, he chooses to do with great passion.
Ramin Karimloo has given his Australian bands a list of songs to work from, but leaves the final songlist choice to the day of the concert, according to what he feels like doing that day. He also wants the band members to put their own identity on the music. As a result, he anticipates the show will have unique feel in each city.
“I don’t want it to be Ramin’s backup band. We’re all in this together. It’s all about the music,” said Karimloo.
Karimloo explained the way he performs certain songs can vary with each show. He said he was once told that if a song doesn’t work with just a guitar then it won’t work with anything else, so audiences can expect some songs to be accompanied by just an acoustic guitar.
“I may even pick up a guitar or a banjo, depending on how I feel at the time,” said Karimloo.
Audiences can also expect to hear some songs Karimloo is never likely to perform in a musical – such as ‘Ol Man River’ from Show Boat. He also adds in some songs from outside the musical theatre genre.
“Probably more than the producer would like!” Karimloo laughed.
“Just don’t expect any dance songs – I don’t do those!”
What Ramin Karimloo loves in particular is the story-telling of songs. The context is an important consideration in the delivery of the songs for Karimloo.
“‘Bring Him Home’ is a prayer, so I always approach it as such. I don’t deviate from the words and the intent.”
Joining Ramin Karimloo for his Australian concert tour is Anna O’Byrne (Love Never Dies, My Fair Lady, Oklahoma!). The pair have just performed together in Korea.
“There’s no language barrier when it comes to music.”
There is also no age or gender barrier to music.
Karimloo said, “When we first started, we’d see the husbands, the boyfriends and brothers reluctantly sitting in their chairs, but by the end they were lining up for their autographs! It’s a show for music lovers of all ages and backgrounds.”
One thing audiences can be sure about, whatever Ramin Karimloo sings, they can be assured he is having a ball!
“I will be vulnerable. I’m not perfect. I don’t worry about imperfection. I have nothing to lose.”
For more information and tickets: www.concertworks.com.au/ramin-karimloo
GOLD COAST – THE STAR
Saturday 16 June, 8pm
TICKETS FROM $65.00
MELBOURNE ARTS CENTRE
Wednesday 20 June, 8pm
TICKETS FROM $65.00