Spend a night with the Italians for Valentine’s Day

By Khalida Sarwari

If the names Martucci, Verdi and Mascagni don’t evoke romantic feelings, then you are out of luck. But if spending the evening listening to those guys is your cup of cappuccino, then the Trianon Theatre is the place to be on Saturday.

That’s when the Mission Chamber Orchestra of San Jose will present a concert featuring orchestral pieces, songs and arias, all by Italian composers.

The program, titled “A Night with the Italians,” will feature Pasquale Esposito, a tenor best known for his 2015 PBS television special celebrating Enrico Caruso. Esposito will perform operatic arias and songs from his hometown of Naples. Emily Ray, who taught Esposito piano years ago when they were both at Foothill College, will direct the program.

“We’ve done many concerts with international themes and for Valentine’s Day Pasquale is a great draw; he’s good-looking, so I thought I’d put him in the February concert,” she said with a laugh. “He was born in Naples; I’m half-Italian and it’s good Italian music.”

The concert will include well-loved arias from Italian opera, such as “La donna è mobile” and “Nessun dorma,” in addition to timeless classics such as “‘O Sole Mio” and “Come Back to Sorrento.” The program will open with Rossini’s overture to “L’Italiana in Algeri,” and continue with Mascagni’s intermezzo from “Cavalleria Rusticana.”

Student performers from Evergreen Valley High School will join the orchestra strings for the Andantino and Prestissimo from Verdi’s “Symphony for Strings.”

“Almost every concert. we feature high school students to encourage (them) to continue with music after high school and to show them the possibilities of what they can do with music after high school and college,” Ray said.

Founded by Ray in 1996, Mission Chamber Orchestra is a 35- to 50-piece volunteer orchestra that performs primarily in the South Bay. Ray also teaches music at Piedmont Hills High School. Both she and Esposito reside in San Jose.

Esposito is scheduled to speak and sing at the First Unitarian Church of San Jose, 160 N. Third St., on Feb. 9 as part of the Noon Arts and Lectures series. For more information, visit noonartsandlectures.org.

The concert takes place Feb. 10, 7:30 p.m. at the Trianon Theatre, 72 N. Fifth St., San Jose. Tickets are $10-$25 at missionchamber.org and at the door.


Spend a night with the Italians for Valentine’s Day


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