STRONG SUIT: “I just really like being on stage performing,” shares the 28-year-old.
ONE of Hanief Lallo’s favourite singers is jazz vocalist Michael Bublé. “He’s so sincere in how he comes across in his music. He has a spirit and an energy that makes listening to jazz a wonderful experience,” Lallo says of the Grammy winner, who is also a great live performer. Similar qualities could be cited to describe Lallo himself, who knows how to thrill an audience, whether he’s performing with the University Singers or Father HoLung & Friends.
In this season’s The Parables, Lallo portrays the mean and ruthless King Pharaoh, commanding the stage with authority, while showing off an impressive vocal range, his robust tenor put to terrific use. You immediately understand why he’s always wanted to perform in operas.
“When I was at Our Lady of the Angels Prep, I had a group of friends who just loved performing, and one day we were discussing what we wanted to be in the future, and I just said I wanted to be an opera singer. That was always my dream,” the 28-year-old tells TALLAWAH one recent evening at the Little Theatre, after catching a performance by the Jamaican Folk Singers.
Lallo is now a trained software developer, armed with a Computer Science degree from the University of the West Indies. But he’s been getting plenty of opera-lite experiences with HoLung and the Mona-based Singers. He was a fan of the University Singers long before becoming a member. “I used to always attend their season and listen to their CDs, so I knew that when I got to UWI I would audition,” says the Ardenne High alum.
He’s been with the Singers since 2012, the same year he joined Father HoLung & Friends, going on to appear in such mega-musicals as Moses, The Messiah and last year’s smash hit Queen Esther, playing the pivotal role of Haman.
These days, given his day job and performances that can pop up at any time, sometimes his schedule gets hectic, but “I think I manage very well.” To wit, The Parables is set for a remount at the Courtleigh Auditorium in mid-October and the University Singers are reprising their 2018 season the following week at the Philip Sherlock Centre.
Lallo has also worked with such standout troupes as Tribe Sankofa and Nexus. All these diverse experiences, he admits, have changed his life, enhancing his self-discipline and deepening his passion for the performing arts. “I’m grateful. I’ve been able to meet the right persons to help me along the way, and I still have a long way to go,” he notes. “Everything has happened for me as it was supposed to happen.”
But is becoming an opera singer still on the cards? “I’ve thought about it, and I hope it’s something I’ll be able to pursue. If I did Broadway I’d be happy, too,” he says. “I just really like being on stage performing.”