Rocco pays tribute to Liberace

Patience Bambalele

Pianist Rocco de Villiers will pay tribute to the late American pianist Wladziu Valentino Liberace through an exciting musical performance.

The show is scheduled to run for three days from January 25 at the Rhumbelow Theatre in Durban.

Shortly before his death 20 years ago - on February 4 1987 - Liberace said he wanted to be remembered for three things: his shows, music and costumes.

Born in the US in 1919, Liberace was trained as a classical pianist and gained wide experience playing popular music.

When his classical career developed, he found that audiences enjoyed his whimsical encores in which he played pop songs than his renditions of classical pieces.

His exciting story will be told through music that includes TheWarsaw Concerto, Rhapsody in Blue, Jealousy Tango, Moonlight Sonata, Chopsticks and many more diamond-draped tunes.

Produced by De Villiers and Tobie Cronje, the greatest triumph of the show is De Villiers' nimble straddling of the line between satire and tribute. He manages to both take the piss and be utterly sincere about his material.

De Villiers channels Liberace's flamboyance and showmanship. His comfortable stage presence is a joy to watch.

He peppers his stage banter with bone-dry humour and endearing self-deprecation. Most importantly, he is a mind-blowing pianist.

Performances start at 8pm.