New Breed of Italian Tenors Invading America
By Cookie Curci
Today, there is a new embodiment of the old and long held tradition of the recorded Italian voice. There is a new, exciting, and enterprising young talent ... tenor pop, culture being formed with a new sound ... a sound that blends the classics of yesterday with a modern, innovative, beat. Things have changed greatly since the days Sinatra cut his first 78 rpm and his agent took it personally to a local DJ and begged or paid to have it play on the air.
Today the disk jockey is no longer the great maker of stars that he once was. Today the internet and the entertainer work together to create their greatness. Music is now down loaded to the waiting public's latest high tech gadget and a singers popularity depends a great deal on their public appearances. Gone, are the days of the Italian crooner's million seller record sales. But not gone are the beautiful Italian voices, they're still out there ... making themselves heard in countless concerts and appearances. They have to work harder than their predecessors, the crooners from the past who had big movie companies and radio pushing their latest hit, and all they had to do is make an occasional public appearance ... no, the new breed of singer, composes many of his own songs ... depends on his own resources ... and a personal appearance schedule to reach the people and to stay in the game.
Five Italian Tenors
Christopher Macchio, Micheal Castaldo, Alfio, Joe Spinella, Pascuale Esposito
In a time and place where talent is created, a tenor was given the passion of a Mario Lanza, the power of a Luciano Pavarotti and the voice of an angel. And when he sings, his voice is so full of heart, passion and power, it lights up a concert hall like an exploding super nova. Christopher Macchio is the name of this exceptional and exciting young tenor, and if you have had the pleasure of hearing him sing, be it in person, video, recordings, or PBS television, then you have been privileged to experience a rare and true talent. It was only after joining his high school chorus, which itself was due to a state art & music graduation requirement, that Christopher was forced, literally, to sing by himself for a professional evaluation ... Almost immediately, the director jumped out from behind the piano, grabbed Christopher by the shoulders, and said, "Do you have any idea what kind of voice you have? You have an obligation to share your voice with the world! It is a gift from God, and you will not let it go to waste!"
From that day on Christopher Macchio has sacrificed a lot in his life to heed those words, and now, his time to shine has finally arrived. One of Christopher's favorite songs he performs is "Be My Love," not only because it was made famous by his hero, the incomparable legend Mario Lanza, but because it expresses the sentiment of his feelings toward his audience, in that he is there to offer himself for music, and hope to earn the love of our audience in return. one of Chrisopher's latest CD's "DOLCE MOMENTI" ( sweet moments) is produced by Grammy winner Tony Camillo . These songs encompass a rich halo of music such as "Be My Love," "Maria" and a favorite of mine, "Guardian Angels".
Christopher starred in the Broadway production of West Side Story. Where he played the leading role, Tony, which he feels was a lucky break for him in particular, because it's one of the few leading Broadway roles that didn't require any extensive dancing to distract from singing! The song "O Sole Mio" also means a great deal to him, because it was the very first song he sang as a solo in public to an overwhelming response...! The rest of the songs on the album were chosen to show his what he is vocally capable of, and to provide familiar listening enjoyment to all who play the disc. The "Guardian Angel" track was a special addition, at the suggestion of his manager, Vincent D'Angelo, to repurpose an old Mario Lanza classic as a tribute to our police, firefighters, and our servicemen and women in uniform, who collectively serve as "guardian angels" for the entire American nation. My own cousin, West Point Graduate Captain Richard Macchio, attended a concert of mine the day after safely returning from a tour of duty in Iraq. In tribute to this hero, who flew 0hundreds of missions protecting convoys over hostile territory in his Apache helicopter, I dedicated this song to him, and all such guardian angels, who protect our safety, our freedom, and our very way of life. Christopher will be appearing in the Valentine's Day "Love in Verona" Dinner Concert on February 14, 2014 at The Metropolitan in Glen Cove, plus many guest appearances on the John LaBarca's popular and long running ITALIAN HOUSE PARTY radio show.
To his many followers, Micheal Castaldo symbolizes poetry, originality, tradition, creativity and most of all ... the Italian spirit. It's that spirit the listener hears in every song Michael sings. It's as if his instincts refuse to perform a song that is lacking in poetry and spirit. Perhaps that's why his latest CD, "Olive You," is filled with all these ingredients of the heart and soul of music. And it explains why this CD has rocketed to the top of the charts in advanced sales long before it's official release date.
For example, how may times have we all heard, "The Theme from The Godfather?" Well, I can tell you when you hear it sung by Micheal Castaldo's in this CD you're in for a delightful interpretation. "BRUCIA LA TERRA" is sung in a true Sicilian dialect, with an arrangement that is not only unique, but offers the listener a new and exciting change from the usual interpretation. Along with this famous traditional theme song, the album is full of classics and also new songs, keeping the listener anticipating each sound track. Castaldo is the producer and executive producer of this album along with co-producer and collaborator, Stein B. Sevendsen, who co-wrote the cross over top hit tune, "PRAY'R." One of Micheal's most recent CDs "Bergamot" is a wonderful expression of traditional music of the bella region of Calabria and Micheal sings the tunes with heart and passion ... Tony Pasquale ICN Radio Host "Ciao Tony" ... "Bergamot" is destined to top the Charts, nice pick of songs, well produced, flawless, per your usual innovative style ... Joe Costa WATR Radio Waterbury, CT Micheal is an award winning songwriter, producer, arranger and singer born in Calabria, Italy, raised in Toronto Canada and lives in NYC.
A graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Micheal was trained in Bel Canto and performs in the Classical Crossover style, not unlike Andrea Bocelli, Josh Graban, Il Divo, etc ... He has recorded 6 CDs, 3 of which went to #1 on Amazon: "Bergamot" 2013, "Olive You" 2012, "Extravergine" 2011, "Aceto" His YouTube 2010, "La Dolce Vita 'NAmerica" 2007, "Villa" 2005. YouTube views number over 423,000. He has 4,500+ friends on Facebook; 1,300+ followers on Twitter and over 8,000 names on his newsletter database. Micheal has garnered critical acclaim from numerous press outlets, radio and TV stations (ABC TV, WTNH, TeleCare TV, RAI TV) as well as various Italian American Organizations. He finished in 2nd place on CCUK in 2013 and won their Indie Award in 2011. He won the Gig masters Award for the 5th year running for the top performing Italian singer in North America. Micheal is now ranked #1 on the Reverbnation Classical Charts in NY. He keeps just one step ahead of the pac also manages to shine not only as an artist, but also a producer, songwriter, Entrepreneur at Magestic Castle productions and Founder at La DolceVitaFoundation.org at the NewYorkCityOliveOilCoop.com
Alfio (Bonanno) is one of the latest singing sensations to captivate the new generation of Italian singer devotees. He's from Australia, but makes his home in New York when not living in Australia. Does that make him an Italian American Australian? Sounds good to me. Alfio likes to say that he was 'made in Australia' with the best imported Italian ingredients! His father is from Catania and his mother is from Reggio Calabria. Musical talent is usually inherited, and so it is in this talented family. Alfio is the youngest of five children and they all play something and/ or sing. Alfio himself plays piano, guitar, banjo, family gatherings are always a musical affair, it really ties the family together in a very special way to be able to interact in that wonderful musical way ... che nostalgia! Alfio, like most of today's recording stars will tell you they have a tougher road to success than their predecessors. Even a voice as great as Sinatra or Bocelli would have it harder in todays market. Radios and records are a thing of the past. It's a whole new way of listening today, there is no top ten, no radio disk jockey to push your songs. What then is the new approach to getting himself heard and seen by his fans? Alfio says Its all about adapting with the times and doing the things that you need to do to get to your audience, even major recording labels have felt the pinch and have been forced to adapt. Alfio believes the use of social network forums like 'Facebook' have become so important over the past few years, he doesn't know of any artist who doesn't have a 'Facebook' page these days.
Today, the video plays an important part in the selling of a song, or CD album. I've heard fans say they bought the CD because they loved the video so much. it's hard to believe that a good or bad video could make or break a song these days. But, like Alfio says, "music appeals to only one of your senses while a music video appeals through both sight and sound, so naturally a good video is always going to compliment a good song .. there may be an element of images compensating or perhaps distracting the listener, but both the music and video need to go hand in hand." - One of Alfio's most popular CD's was recorded completely in Italian. The name is "tutta Italiana" and includes the classis songs we love, such as Chitarra Romana, Mamma, Dicitencello Vuie (Just say I love her) and O Surdato 'Nnammurato. Also included are some of his original songs which have gained world acclaim, 'Il Nostro Sogno' has recently been recorded by two other artists, 'Riaan Hunter' in South Africa and a trio group in Canada called 'Trois'. ALFIO just finished a standing room only, return engagement at the Tarrytown Music Hall in New York. His fans are loyal and return again and again to be thrilled by his magnificent talents.
Joe has an incredible and well-trained golden Italian tenor voice, often compared to that of Luciano Pavarotti, with good reason. Joe Spinella trained in regular sessions with Joan Dorneman, a 30-year vocal coach who worked with legendary Luciano Pavarotti. Perhaps it's because of Dorneman that Joseph is often compared to Pavarotti. Indeed he's considered the worlds premiere Pavarotti impersonator, most impressively because he requires no technical dubbing to achieve his vocal range. Spinella's tenor voice is a full-bodied sound of power that sends out a deep feeling of emotions and when combined with this colorful production and the stage effects the results are awe-inspiring. This is a show that is appropriate for all cultures and all ages, with the tenor's main goal to expose the beauty of classical music to the younger generation. Spinella takes each song and tells the story behind it. As life is an illusion and love is often fleeting, so is the illusion that follows the story behind many of the romantic arias and Neapolitan songs. For example, in "Rondine al Nido," the song talks about the swallow that flies from her nest, never to return. Spinella creates an illusion with an animatronic bird in a cage, which later disappears. So the story behind the song relates to the illusion in his show.
Spinella is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, with a major in voice. He has participated in Master Classes with Birgit Nielsen, Eleanor Steber, and Regina Resnik. Spinella has been described as "a solid Metropolitan Opera level performer," and was also similarly praised by the Princeton Review's music critic. Maestro Paul Nadler discovered Joseph and later Joseph were invited to work with Metropolitan Opera coaches in NYC.
And that's just the beginning ... Spinella's collaboration with Joseph Velpis, (Lady Gaga's long time song writer and musical producer), has created several new songs destined to be hits. One of their original singles, Trust In Me, written and produced by Joe Vulpis, is featured in the Illusion Aria show. This popular new song has been released as a single and is available on iTunes and Amazon.com.
Pasquale represents a new and exciting world tenor, not one who is content only to perform another writer's songs and music, but one who came to this country to study music so he could compose as well as perform. His operatic pieces and crossover tunes such as the popular hit "Aria Leggera," from his latest CD "A Brand New Me" displays his capacity for singing the light and airy sounds of rhythm. But also included on the same CD is another of his compositions, "Aria e Cielo," a song that displays Pasqaule's powerful voice and the beauty of his creative words and music. This CD is his most popular thus far and is breaking records in sales and CD downloads.
Yes, it's a new world for the Italian singer. He must market his songs not only through recordings but the video as well. His voice, his attractive presentation, and his music must appeal to all the video and CD fans as well as dazzling the audiences who crowd to see him at his live concerts tours. Paquale's musical choices embody long held traditions of the recorded Italian voice, but also contain many of his new songs that are so vital to keep the light classic love song alive. This new sound blends the classic voice we have come to expect from a well trained Tenor with that of the, modern , innovative singer. His love for tradition and for his new American community of San Jose, CA is very apparent. Pasquale attends local fund raisers for the community's "Little Italy" projects as well as occasionally appearing at the local Italian Festas.
Pasquale's latest hit CD, "A Brand New Me" was an international collaboration of talents. Pasquale Esposito and Antonio Aprile, a composer and arranger from Naples, Italy, wrote the music and lyrics.
The international fusion of cultures and musicians has resulted in a spectacular CD album. Aside from recording CDs, Pasquale has toured both in the US and abroad with several musical productions and concerts, including touring with the famous Italian pop star Gigi D'alessio.
Cookie Curci is an experienced syndicated writer, born and raised in San Jose, California. She writes interesting stories for many websites and has a short story in the new book 'ELVIS', Live at the Sahara Tahoe. Read more stories by Cookie Curci.
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