The power of the audience
By Australian Board Member, Dr Christopher Stewardson

Everyone can have a poor performance. We don’t like it, but we usually get away with it. But woe betide if we disrespect our audience or dump on the press. This is something Frank Sinatra found out the hard way when he visited Australia in 1974.

Ol’ Blue Eyes might have been the master of the microphone, but he was coming off a down patch, including some less than inspiring films. When he arrived in Melbourne, the press wanted interviews. Sinatra was more than reluctant and a succession of unseemly chases in cars and on foot ensued, with two female reporters in particular being mighty resourceful in their approaches – all to no avail.

At his first Melbourne concert, after his opening numbers, Frankie Boy perched on a stool for one of his intimate audience chats. In a meandering monologue, he disparaged members of the press and particularly attacked women journalists. The broads who worked in the press, he said, were ‘hookers’ and he might offer them ‘about a buck and a half ‘. Newspapers went into meltdown. The Australian Journalists Association demanded an apology. Sinatra refused and cancelled his second concert, after which he decided to get out of town. But union power was now in full swing against him. At the airport, aircraft refuellers refused to fuel his private jet, which sat on the tarmac in a standoff somewhat akin to a scene from one of his own westerns. Eventually, a disgruntled compromise apology was arrived at and Sinatra flew out of Australia, a country he had previously enjoyed touring.

Moral of the story? Respect the power of the audience and the press. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you as a performer, and, whatever the pressure, keep your social and professional skills at a high level, as well as ensuring your concert performance levels are at a peak! Sitting out on the tarmac is not much fun!

Leontine Hass – CEO

Founding Principal | Vocal Coach
Leontine Hass is an internationally renowned Vocal Coach and Principal of the Associated Studios London Performing Arts Academy.

Leontine Hass is currently vocal coach for Motown at The Shaftesbury Theatre London. She has served as vocal coach to Matt Henry (Lola in Kinky Boots West End), Alice Stokoe (Sophie in Mamma Mia, West End), Gloria Onitiri (Lead in The Bodyguard & Hair, West End), Claire Sweeney (Tell Me on a Sunday) and many other leads and swings in the West End, national and international tours of productions such as Thriller-Live, Oliver!, Carousel, Parade, Tell Me on a Sunday, The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera, Witches of Eastwick, Nine, The Wizard of Oz, Ragtime, Sweeney Todd, Cats, Sister Act, We Will Rock You, Footloose, Wicked, The Sound of Music, Ghost, Hairspray, Porgy and Bess, The Bodyguard, Jesus Christ Superstar, Jersey Boys, Barnum, Miss Saigon, Book of Mormon, Mamma Mia, In the Heights, The Color Purple, Memphis, Spamalot, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Aladdin, Chicago, The Pyjama Game, Kinky Boots and the upcoming production of Dreamgirls.

Leontine coaches members of The Swingle Singers, Collabro, The Magnets, The Sons of Pitches and classical singers with ENO, Welsh National Opera and ROH, as well as Pop/Rock/Jazz singers. Leontine was the Vocal Coach for shows including the London premiere of Bernarda Alba the Musical, and currently the a cappella hit, ‘Gobsmacked’.

Leontine teaches workshops and lectures internationally on singing, voice and performance. She rehabilitates voices after surgery, or as surgery prevention. She has taught at leading Music & Drama Schools including GSA Conservatoire, the Oxford School of Drama, Mountview, LSMT, YMT, The Brit School, La Salle (Singapore), the Queensland Conservatorium, Centre Stage and The VCA (Melbourne).

Leontine has acted as vocal consultant to various music management/production companies, including ITV and the BBC. Leontine is vocal coach for ‘The Voice’ for BBC TV. She was featured as a mentor/vocal coach on the Gareth Malone show, ‘The Naked Choir’, for BBC2 and will also be involved with Series 2. She is a regular columnist at voicecouncil.com and for The Stage newspaper. She is a contributor to ‘The Singer’s Complete Guide to Vocal Health’ (Oxford Uni. Press), and advisor/contributor to ‘The Ultimate Guide to Singing’ published by TC Helicon in 2014.

Having originally trained as a classical singer (BA, Melb. Uni, BMus. Kings College London, Dip. RAM), Leontine has performed as a singer and actress in concert, theatre and TV.

Leontine is the CEO/Founding Principal of the Associated Studios Performing Arts Academy London, which she founded in 2007, then based at The Royal Academy of Music. Associated Studios provides full-time and part-time training and professional development in Musical Theatre and Opera (www.associatedstudios.co.uk). The Board of Directors includes Rory Bremner (Chair), Patrick Lawrence QC and Dr Christopher Stewardson. Patrons include Sir Tim Rice, Jeremy Irons, Jeremy Herrin, Timothy West and Scott Alan.

Leontine is represented by Lesley Duff at Diamond Management.