What happens when you put two vocal powerhouses in the same room? They bring the crowd to their feet. On Oct. 19, the audience at “The Jennifer Hudson Show” were treated to an outstanding performance by Jennifer Hudson and Adam Lambert. After Lambert finished telling a story about the time he and Queen guitarist Brian May performed an impromptu cover of “Nessun Dorma” (“Let No One Sleep”) from Giacomo Puccini’s classic opera “Turandot,” Hudson suggested they put their own vocal skills to the test. “Can we do a little bit of it right now?” Hudson asked before Lambert replied, “Yeah, let’s do it!”
“It’s almost impossible to sing the song in the same key. But the way you got up there, only you could do something like that.”
With pianist Michael Orland on piano, the “American Idol” alumni picked up their microphones and delivered a room-shaking performance, demonstrating incredible vocal control as they belted out verses in Italian from the decades-old tune. “Guardi le stelle / Che tremano d’amore / E di speranza. / Ma il mio mistero e chiuso in me / Il nome mio nessun saprá!” they sang, which translates to, “Look at the stars / Who tremble with love / And of hope / But my mystery is closed in me / No one will know my name!”
“Did y’all like that? Did we do OK?” Hudson asked at the end of the performance over the sound of roaring applause. “The range on this man [Lambert] is insane. You know when you do opera songs — any song — you have two ranges. You’ve got a male vocalist and a female vocalist. It’s almost impossible to sing the song in the same key. But the way you got up there, only you could do something like that. Y’all need to give this man some credit.”
Since its rise to popularity in the ’90s, “Nessun Dorma” has been thought of by the opera community as one of the most challenging arias to perform on stage. The technical demands of nailing the song involve holding elongated notes at a high pitch and volume. “If you overblow your woofer that will make it difficult, that’s where you need vocal technique so you don’t give too much,” said opera star Yonghoon Lee in a 2015 interview with The Sydney Morning Herald. He added, “If you have good technique, good position and good breath control, the note comes automatically, you just have to trust it. If you don’t trust it, you won’t get a beautiful sound with lots of resonance.”
The song itself is meant to be emotional, dramatic, and sung with confidence, which is exactly what Hudson and Lambert delivered. Watch their stunning performance above.