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The Folsom Symphony's Holiday Concert: Bianco Natale

Nov 19, 2015 11:40AM ● Published by David Norby

The Folsom Symphony will celebrate "Bianco Natale" – White Christmas, Italian style – with a holiday concert Dec. 5 and 6 featuring Italian tenor Pasquale Esposito singing seasonal favorites from around the world. With Esposito performing all but three of more than a dozen selections, this will be the symphony's first concert to offer such an extensive vocal repertoire. The evening also will include a traditional audience singalong.

Born in the same Neapolitan parish as the 20th-century's great operatic tenor, Enrico Caruso, Esposito has been praised as having a rich, resonant voice comparable to that of his famous countryman. He recently performed Caruso's music as well as contemporary songs in a PBSspecial, "Pasquale Esposito Celebrates Enrico Caruso," and is now touring the United States in "The Voice of a Legend," based on that program. He also tours worldwide in musical productions that include some of his owncompositions.

Now a U.S. citizen, Esposito lives in San Jose where he owns Notable.inc, which offers music lessons, productions and CDs. As a strong proponent of peace, humanity, respect and good will, Esposito supports nonprofits through his annual December "Pasquale in Canto" concert, this year to be performed in Menlo Park.

"Bianco Natale," under the baton of Maestro Peter Jaffe and featuring Esposito as guest soloist, celebrates the holidays with the following program:

  • Peter Tchaikovsky’s lively Marche and Danse russe Trepak (the Russian Dance) from The Nutcracker, two of the Christmas ballet’s most popular pieces.
  • It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year/Christmas Waltz, written in 1963 by Edward Pola and George Wyle and arranged by Jim Kessler; first popularized by singer Andy Williams.
  • The popular carol Adeste fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful). The origin of this carol is uncertain, but it is often attributed to King John IV of Portugal (1604-1656), who may have written it to accompany his daughter as she journeyed to England to marry Charles II.
  • Eduardo di Capua’s O sole mioa Neapolitan song written in 1898. The title translates as "my sunshine"
  • music from the Christmas-themed movie Frozen by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez; arranged by Bob Krogstad.
  • Teodoro Cottrau’s folksy Neapolitan song Santa Lucia, published in 1849; arrangement by Giancarlo Chiaramello. In Sweden, Finland and Denmark, the music has been given lyrics that celebrate the festival of St. Lucy on Dec. 13.
  • The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire), a classic written in 1945 by Bob Wells and Mel Torme and first recorded by the Nat King Cole Trio.
  • Giacomo Puccini’s Che gelida manina from the opera La Boheme.
  • Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Snowflakes from The Nutcracker.
  • Percy Faith’s Brazilian Sleigh Bells, a vibrant piece with Latin rhythms and harmonies; arranged by Lee Norris.
  • Leonard Cohen’s moving song Hallalujah, first released in 1984 and newly popular after being featured in the movie Shrek.
  • Blue Christmas, written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson and most famously performed by Elvis Presley; arranged by Bob Secor.
  • Agustin Lara’s Granada, written in 1932. The song, by a Mexican composer, is about the Spanish city of Granada.
  • Christmas singalong: The audience is invited to join in singing seasonal favorites, arranged by John Finnegan.
  • O Holy Night, one of the most loved carols; the music was written in 1847 by French composer Adolphe Adam, lyrics by Placide Cappeau; in 1855, John Sullivan Dwight created the singing version in English; arranged by Carmen Dragon.
  • Puccini’s Nessun dorma from the opera Turandot, which premiered in 1926. The title translates to "none shall sleep."

The Dec. 5 performance of Bianco Natale is at 7:30 p.m., the Dec. 6 matinee begins at 2 p.m., both at the Harris Center/Three Stages theater on the Folsom Lake College campus, 10 College Parkway. You can buy tickets on the Folsom Symphony's website, www.folsomsymphony.com, by calling 916-608-6888 or by visiting the ticket office on the Folsom Lake College campus.

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