BWW Reviews: French-Greek Tenor George Perris Makes Sensational New York Debut
George Perris, the hot young Greek-French tenor, was in superb form at the Allen Room of Jazz at Lincoln Center last week. Perris was backed by a 16-piece orchestra in a performance that was ostensibly his New York headlining debut. The concert event was presented by The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans - a charitable organization providing over $100M in educational scholarships for underprivileged, high-potential children. Perris is an International Ambassador for the association.
Perris is touring in support of his first ever English-language release, "Picture This." And if the selections performed at the Allen Room are any indication, the album is sure to be something very special indeed. In concert, Perris is a singer more in the Josh Groban or Michael Bublé style than Andrea Boccelli or Russell Watson, and his soave, velvety tenor voice suits his material well. He is never shy about big emotions and his tone is at once beautiful and thoughtful, but not afraid to be a bit schmaltzy and sentimental.
His enormous facility with languages was on display from the start - he performed in Greek, French, English and Spanish. His self-effacing charm was infectious and it suffused every number he performed. Whether it was a hauntingly beautiful cover of REM's "Everybody Hurts," which had the audience swaying with tear-filled eyes, or an old chestnut like "I Will Wait for You," the English version of Michel Legrand's Je ne pourrai jamais vivre sans toi, from the musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.
Perris proved much more relaxed between songs, bantering with the audience with wit, charm and a devilish smile. The entire evening was video-taped for a future PBS special, and live production has its technical issues. Frequently, between numbers, a makeup artist dashed on stage to touch up Perris. During the pauses he joked and chatted with the audience, displaying a lovely down-to-earth personality that only enhanced his already immensely 'likeable' persona.