He says, “I do not use projections or screens like most producers prefer these days. On stage, we do everything manually right in front of your eyes. It is very demanding, but it is magic to see something happening in front of you with no special effects.” His new creation, Rainbow at Midnight, celebrates exactly that.
Nataniël continues: “Keeping up with the times is a selective thing. Many of the so-called new things, inventions or styles are rubbish and do not last long. We update our cellphones and computers every five seconds, but while we do it we sit on chairs that were invented thousands of years ago by the Egyptians.
“You have to know what your strengths are and use them. By staying truthful and honest – that is how you move people.”
Despite all the breathtaking costumes and designs – in true Nataniël style – the focus is still first and foremost on the music.
“I am a singer. That is what I do. I don’t want to be a star,” he says. “For that you have to move to the US. I always wanted to make music. Up until my 20s I was training to be a classical pianist. I had no plans to have the career I have now. Things just happened unexpectedly and in a strange way. I still go back to my classical roots and listen to my favourite composers all the time.
“I like what I do but I have very little free time. My hobbies have all became part of my career. All the things I do are connected. One part of my work is because of another part and everything has to do with fantasy, creating beauty and quality of life – something you will not get at home or on television.
“I never rehearse my stories either,” he says. “I memorise the script, but opening night is the first time the words come out of my mouth. It is frightening, but I cannot do it any other way.”
When asked if it becomes challenging to continually better his shows, Nataniël smiles.
“Yes and no. I have a loyal audience and I know I can spend money and produce big shows, because I trust that they will always support me. But the fear gets bigger every time. Every night I get more nervous. The fear of disappointing people is a massive thing.
“My aim is to offer people something beautiful, something that makes them laugh, gives them hope or allows them to dream. We have become a bland society. I try to inspire or intrigue people. I want them to be creative and brave in their endeavours. If I inspire one person per night, my job is done.”
In this grand production, Nataniël will be joined by a troupe of performers: Corlea Botha, Lindiwe Bungane and Tonia Selley, who together form a powerful vocal ensemble.
He concludes: “I try to surround myself with people I can learn from at all times.”
> Nataniël’s Rainbow At Midnight is currently showing at Emperors Palace Theatre Of Marcellus until September 28 Monday to Saturday at 8.30pm, Sunday at 3pm
> Tickets range from R160 to R220 and are available from Computicket
> The dinner and show package costs R440