Sunday, September 03, 2006

Let The Music Play - The Sergio Franchi Concert

Ciao a tutti,

This week was all about the Sergio Franchi Concert in Connecticut on the beautiful 280 acre estate of Eva Franchi and the late great tenor Sergio Franchi.

This is a concert that has been growing in popularity for the past thirteen years. It started with a small orchestra, a few amateur singers and a hundred or so people in the audience and has grown to now an orchestra of over twenty musicians, up-and-coming singers and very well known singers like Marcello Giordani, and over six thousand audience members.

Speaking of Marcello, here is a picture of him and I that was taken of us, I believe a year ago at the NIAF Gala a couple years ago. And above and below are pictures a fan took of me on the stage. Click on the pictures to see a larger version of them. Of all the pictures people sent me, I picked these because they are a bit quirky and different. I have a funny smirk on my face and the orchestra is laughing, so I must be in the middle of a funny story. Hope you find them fun too.

I have been asked to sing for many years and have enjoyed it every time. I really love the audience that Mrs. Franchi and the memory of Sergio Franchi attracts. They are a fun group of people. Though there is plenty of food sold there, many bring their own homemade food, Italian of course, with wine and deserts, and camp out on the grass and have an Italian picnic. It is a real social event. If I roam the crowd at all before the show, everyone is always trying to feed me. I love it!

You see every kind of Italian and non-Italian there enjoying themselves together. From the ladies with their fancy hats and the latest fall fashions from Europe, to the ladies with baseball caps and whatever they felt would make them comfortable sitting on the grass.

The same goes for the men. There are the men who stand around and discuss business with other men in their circle dressed in fancy Italian suits, and those playing bocce in the back of the main house arguing about what ball is closer to the pallino, the small ball, in stretch pants and tennis shoes.

Afterwards everyone takes a chair in front of the large stage set up in front of the main house and enjoys a wonderful concert hosted by Eva herself. Every year she always plans for something a little different, as do I. I love to tell my stories and share different types of songs. Though there is a large roster of people performing, Eva always allows time for me to sing at least two songs and tell at least two stories.

I remember one year, the show was running over time before I even got on stage and she told me we had to cut out my second song and all my stories. So I got up and just sang a song and got off stage. When Eva came back on, the audience didn't quiet down and she figured it out. She said to them, "I know you want more of Filippo but we don't have enough time." When it was obvious that the audience was not going to be satisfied she called me back up on stage and said, as only Eva could, "Okay Filippo, talk to them."

I was flattered and I was endeared to that audience ever since. This year I will be singing "Love Story," and a rendition of a "Fiddler on the Roof" Medley that Sergio used to sing. There is a story there too, but I will leave it for the stage, he, he.

This year I don't think anyone snapped a picture of Eva and I together but here is one that was taken just a few months before of us and my friend Laura De Leon at a private party in a home in Beverly Hills.

Ciao for now,


P.S. Speaking of Marcello Giordani, here is a clip of him live during a performance of Rossini's opera "William Tell." in which Marcello sings the role of Arnold, taped in Paris, 2003. (In French w/ French Subtitles)

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