When asked to sing at the annual San Gennaro Italian Festival on September 29th, 2012, in the heart of LA, Hollywood California on the Jimmy Kimmel stage, I considered myself both blessed and honored to represent LA Opera! Although, secretly I was also nervous to deliver every doubled consonant correctly, roll every "R" accurately, and communicate the true Italian spirit of each aria successfully for an Italian audience.
Luckily, maestro for the event and pianist extraordinaire, Daniel Faltus, organized a truly Italian program full of flavor, authenticity, and passion that any audience was sure to love. Singing alongside brilliant musicians such as tenor Ashley Faatoalia and baritone LeRoy Villanueva to promote this season’s production of Don Giovanni was thrilling already, but to have the audience know the words to the excerpts was the real treat. We encouraged them along and truly got to sing with the ensemble that was the audience of the San Gennaro Italian Festival. This fortifies my belief that singing is truly a community activity and we are always trying to harmonize together in life.
In return for the audience's gifted voices, LeRoy, playing the dashing Don Giovanni, serenaded them with his "Deh, vieni alla finestra" singing especially to an elderly woman in a wheel cheer who couldn't stop blushing – I don't blame her! We topped off the program with the Italian favorite 'O Sole Mio' and tried our very best to express even a fragment of the passion that LA Opera's own Plácido Domingo once did with the legendary three tenors. The applause and smiling faces of the crowd makes me think we succeeded as a group in our outreach goals for the community.
A good friend of mine once said, "Many would admit they spend most of their time in life struggling. Struggling to overcome fears, worries, conflicts, troubled pasts and presents, and potentially troubling futures. But along the way, you'll get these moments where you pause everything and ask yourself, ‘Is everything I'm fighting for truly worth it all in the end?’ When you can smile to yourself and answer ‘Yes,’ I would call you blessed." Well, after singing for the San Gennaro Italian Festival representing an opera company that devotes itself to promoting awareness of the arts in the community and having my voice be a part of that, I would most definitely consider myself blessed and this experience a blessing.
What a treat, thank you San Gennaro!