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Dallas, Meyerson Symphony

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From Dallas Morning News Weekend Guide, Aug 31

Olivia Newton-John says she's as curious as anyone about how she'll sound accompanied by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. It's not just her debut with the Dallas ensemble, it's her first performance with an orchestra. "I can honestly say I have absolutely no idea what to expect," she says.  "It's really uncharted territory for me, but I imagine some of my more gentle songs will work quite nicely."
In fact Ms  ewton-John says, she heard the orchestra have been working on the set list for months. Together, they've selected songs such as Have You Never Been Mellow, Sam, Over The Rainbow and Hopelessly Devoted.
"I've always believed a good song is a good song" says Ms Newton-John. "You can sing them virtually any way - with just a guitar or a full orchestra. I'm very lucky to have some songs that have held up."
Thirty years. The number seems to surprise her but that's how long some of her most popular country and folk ballads have been around. Her first charting hit was a 1971 version of Bob Dylan's If Not For You. And yet Ms Newton-John is the first to admit that despite what came before she may be best remembered for 1981's Physical and her role in the 1978 movie adaptation of Grease.
"Grease is such a phenomenon that I doubt interest in the songs or the film are ever going to go away,"  Ms Newton-John says. "I meet a lot of people who saw it two years ago and a lot who saw it 22 years ago and they're fun songs. How could I not like still singing them?"
Singing them is one thing, singing them on stage another. A decade ago she would have lacked the confidence to agree to something like the DSO gig. "Until about four years ago, performing was always a bit nerve-wracking," says Ms Newton-John, who still prefers songwriting and recording to the stage. "I always wanted to be really good, and put too much pressure on myself worrying about every little thing I did or said. I guess I just eventually realized that there's no such thing as perfection - that we're all human and make mistakes. It's much more fun this way."

With thanks to Larry Barber

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last updated January 13, 2003