Friday, October 28, 2011

The Salon Wrap-Up for October 23, 2011 "That's Italian - Opera to Pop'era"

We were wowed and awed by the talent at The Salon on Sunday night, when we transported ourselves to Italy with our theme, “That’s Italian - Opera or Pop’era.” On hand as co-hosts was “O Sole Trio” made up of Erin Shields, Giuseppi Spoletini, and David Shenton. And, with a name like that, they had to start the show with “O Sole Mio” - and they absolutely knocked it out of the park. What a wonderful way to kick off the show.

Co-hosts Erin Shields & Giuseppe Spolenini
Joey Infante brought in his best Italian with “Torna a Surriento” which suited his deep bass sound and romantic phrasing. Barb Malley started by singing for us an Italian song she would NOT be doing (because of the translation of the song, which she proceeded to translate hilariously.) She, instead, charmed us with her version of “Speak Softly Love” from “The Godfather.” She has an upcoming show called “I Remember Brooklyn” November 13 at 1pm at the Laurie Beechman (which is a benefit for the Jackie Robinson Foundation.) Janice Hall then joined us at the stage singing “O Del Mio Amato Ben” (and in Italian, no less!) by a composer Stefano Donaudy. Marya Zimmet continued the theme by showing off her Italian accent, then giving us a fun and jazzy rendition of “Taking a Chance On Love.”

Newcomer Lisa Viggiano joined us at the mic, proving that you can fit the theme just by showing up! She belted out the Judy Garland favorite, “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.” It was so wonderful to get to know Lisa, and hope she comes back! (Thanks to Barb Malley who told her about The Salon at a show earlier today!) Dawn Derow came up next with her glorious soprano in the character of Magda, singing “O Mio Babbino Caro” an aria from Puccini opera. Next up was Larry Bakst, who impressed the crowd with his version of “Non Ti Scordar Di Me.”

David Ballard, server extraordinaire, then came to the stage and blew us away with “Anthem” from “Chess.” Not only were the vocals spot on, but we were thrilled when co-host David Shenton improvised part of the song on violin.

David Ballard
Your blogette for the evening, Erin Cronican (me!) then came to the mic with Kurt Weill's, "Speak Low." Though not entirely on theme, Erin was thrilled to finally be bringing in a more "standard" style of song compared to the usual contemporary flair. Candice Oden started her song with a humerous apology, for mistaking her song “Vienna” as being a good fit for the Italian theme (don't worry, Candice- it reminded me of Venice too!) Candice made us forgot all about the discrepancy immediately with her haunting and powerful vocals.

David Shenton was asked to lead this week's Classical Corner. David remarked that typically Italian music is set to voice, so he hunted down a piece that could be piano only and found "Sonetto 104 del Petrarea" 2nd year of “Annee de Pilgrimage” by Franz Liszt. Franz was known for taking famous Italian poems & sonnets and setting them to music, and it was just gorgeous. He then brought Erin & Giuseppe back to the mic for a mash up of “Mamma” and “O Mio Babbino Caro" to close out the 1st half.

O Sole Trio kicked off the 2nd half with “Mambo Italiano” which included a well dramatized scene, complete with a dance break. The second song of their set was, “Come back to Sorrento,” with the multi-talented David Shenton on violin. He mentioned that he usually preferred to play duets -- he didn’t mention that this meant he’d be doing one with himself on violin & piano!

David Shenton, playing dueling instruments
Frankly, it wasn’t quite fair to the other hosts to follow that, but given that they’re a team, they should probably be used to it. Their final song of the set shows is what happens when food and love get mixed up together and what can happen - a mash up of “Angelina”  and "Zooma Zooma." Complete with costumes, the trio went from opera to jazz in seconds flat. What a treat it was to have these three with us.

As always, it was wonderful to bring up Salon Producer, Tanya Moberly, who sang "Anyday" from her upcoming Ani DiFranco show (with backing assistance by co-vocalist, Erin Cronican.) Jonathan Long came to the mic to sing his (fabulously tenor) version of “O Sole Mio” in a medley with "Just The Way You Look Tonight" with David Shenton on the keys. Julie Reyburn, Salon Board member (and expectant mother!) wowed us with the brand new song, “Cautiously Optimistic” by Scott Evan Davis. You can see Julie sing this song and one other in a show of Davis’ songs at Birdland on October 31.

We were thrilled to have Charles Coleman sing for us next, with a deep and lovely “All The Things That You Are” by Jerome Kern. Mark let us know that Charles is an accomplished symphony composer that has had his works performed around the country. How lucky are we to see such talent week after week! Nick Levin then asked for audience participation as he handed out lyric sheets to “Capuccino in Alabama” a hilarious patter song. The audience is always tickled when Nick performs at the piano.

Nick Levin
The final songs of the night were brought to us by our fearless hosts, who did some mock posturing and fighting over who had the best song. What resulted was a jazz/opera mashup of “That’s Amore” and “Largo al Factotum”, which frankly, just made me want to take better voice lessons and eat pizza. A great time was had by all!

NEXT WEEK: The optional theme for the evening is “Monster Masquerade” - with your co-host Janice Hall and Salon Spotlight: The Alumni of Maine State Theater. Come dressed up in costume, especially if it’s of a character you’ve played in days gone by, or come dressed in black, as Janice said that SHE always does! We also welcome songs that are off-theme. Be sure to bring a second option, in case your song has already been reserved.

Blogette for The Salon
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