Lea Salonga performs at Jubilee Stage_Web Image_m27507-1640604416994
Lea Salonga performs at Jubilee Stage, Expo 2020 Dubai. Image Credit: Photo by Mahmoud Khaled/Expo 2020 Dubai

Legendary Filipino singer Lea Salonga brought some Christmas cheer to the UAE as she performed at Expo 2020 Dubai on December 25, enthralling audiences with her unmistakable voice.

Salonga is more than just a singer — she’s also part of the childhood memories of so many people having been the singing voices of much-loved Disney characters Jasmine from ‘Aladdin’ and Fa Mulan in ‘Mulan’. The tracks ‘A Whole New World’ and ‘Reflection’ from those movies will forever be associated with Salonga and she’s not tired of singing them just yet.

Lea Salonga performs at Jubilee Stage_Web Image_m27501-1640604412843
Lea Salonga at the Jubilee Stage. Image Credit: Photo by Mahmoud Khaled/Expo 2020 Dubai

“I love both of the roles I got to play,” she told Gulf News in an email interview ahead of her Dubai concert. “The songs have stood the test of time and they’re always a pleasure to sing.”

Apart from her work on animated movies, Salonga is also a musical theatre veteran, originating the lead role in the musical ‘Miss Saigon’ at age 18 and winning a Tony Award for it — the first time an Asian woman was awarded.

Read more

She has also starred in ‘Les Miserables’, ‘Allegiance’ and ‘Flower Drum Song’. Salonga will soon step back into TV as she’s been cast in upcoming teen thriller ‘Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin’.

A Dubai regular, Salonga expressed her excitement at getting back on stage at Expo 2020 Dubai.

“It’s quite sweet that the last concerts I performed in were in Dubai, and now here we are picking up from where we left off. It feels wonderful, and also nerve wracking,” she said. “To not perform in concert for almost two years is a very long time and I’m hoping I have enough of my chops to get through it unscathed!”

Of course, Salonga pulled off the concert without a hitch.

Talking about what the holiday season means to her, the singer said: “It means so much more to me as a mom more than just for myself. As long as my daughter is happy, then I’m happy.”