Spotlight Columns

Folsom Lake Symphony’s ‘Festa Italiana’ a feast for the musical soul

By From page B1 | May 24, 2017

In Italian “festa” simply translates as “festival.”

But in actuality an Italian festa is so much more. Within the culture it celebrates the life of a Christian saint. The faithful joyfully attend Mass. Homes and plazas sport decorations. Traditional foods, with recipes handed down for generations, comfort the body as well as the soul.

Small wonder we derive the words “feast” and “festival” from the same Latin source. Add music and dancing, and the celebration is complete.

Setting the table
The Folsom Lake Symphony closes out the 2016-17 season with its annual “pops” concert the weekend of June 3-4. This year the theme is Festa Italiana.

And what a musical feast this is.

Expect traditional symphonic homages to the land where all roads lead to Roma, plus some amazing vocal talent. This will be a true, multi-course feast for the ear, the eye and the heart.

The program kicks off with Gioachino Rossini’s “Overture to Semiramide.” First performed in 1823, this bright and colorful overture is among Rossini’s best.

Two tenors & a soprano
What would an Italian evening be without vocalists? Tenors Eric Margiore and Bradley Wisk join soprano Yelena Dyachek to lend their voices to the symphony.

Popular Dean Martin pieces on the program include “That’s Amóre” and “Torna a Surriento (Come back to Sorrento).”

“Come scoglio (Like a rock)” from Mozart’s Così fan tutte brings back memories at the opera, while “Parla più piano (Speak softly)” brings memories of another sort from the silver screen’s “The Godfather.”

“Funiculì funiculà” is a joyous song. It commemorates the first cable car on Mount Vesuvius.

The finale from the “William Tell Overture” (Rossini, again) returns the audience to those stirring days of yesteryear after the intermission.

The evening takes an inspirational turn with performances of “O sole mio (My own sun)” and “The Prayer.”

Tchaikovsky’s “Capriccio italien” is sure to bring visions of gondola rides through colorful canals and all the charm of the Italian people. Tchaikovsky traveled to Italy in 1880. While there, he deeply researched local lore and melody. He incorporated these into the “Capriccio.”

“Thanks to the charming themes, some of which come from collections and some of which I have heard in the streets, this work will be effective,” he wrote to his patroness, Madam von Meck.

As the symphony prepares to close out the season, it performs “Mercè dilette amiche (Thank you, beloved friends)” from Giuseppe Verdi’s “I vespri siciliani.”

After a stirring concert, it is small wonder that the final piece on the program is “Nessun dorma (No one shall sleep)” from Giacomo Puccini’s “Turandot.”

Don’t miss out
This promises to be an exceptional concert. So much so, there are two performances. Tickets are going fast.

The Festa Italiana concerts are 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 3, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 4, at the Harris Center for the Arts on the Folsom Lake College campus. For tickets visit folsomlakesymphony.com, call (916) 608-6888 or visit the theater box office.

Send your event for consideration in Susan’s column to [email protected]

Susan Laird

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