May 26, 2018 — There was nothing lugubrious, plodding or slow about Vivace’s performance May 24 at the Florence Events Center. True to its musical meaning, Vivace delighted the crowd with a variety of lively songs from its classical and pop repertoire.
This was the final concert in SEAcoast Entertainment Association’s (SEA) 2017-18 season series. Season tickets will go on sale Aug. 1 SEA’s next season, which begins in October.
Vivace includes four vocalists—sopranos Melody Courage and Tiffany Desrosiers, baritone tenor Gabriel Macdonald and tenor Joel Ros. Courage, Desrosiers and Macdonald studied music in British Columbia, Canada, and Courage has a degree in Opera Performance. Ros hails from Pittsburgh, Pa., where, in addition to singing and songwriting, he breeds horses.
The quartet was accompanied by Mike Bell on piano and Elyse Jacobson on violin.
The vocalists soloed and harmonized together and in pairs. True to their name, they began with songs in Italian — “Santa Lucia,” the traditional Neapolitan song; Courage’s love aria, “O Mi Babbino Caro” from Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi” opera; and “Caruso,” by Lucio Dalla, a song about the last days of Enrico Caruso, the iconic Italian tenor.
But the vocalists were multilingual. The sopranos demonstrated their facility with French in the “The Flower Duet” from the opera “Lakmé” by Leo Delibes.
Songs in English included “Stars” from “Les Miserables,” the title song from “Phantom of the Opera” and the Beatles’ “Yesterday.”
The quartet concluded the first set with a sort of competition, a pop-classical battle of interpretations of “Sole Mio,” the Italian evergreen by Giovanni Capurro. It was now or never as Desrosiers and Ros rushed to sing the pop version, while Courage and Macdonald delivered the elegant classical version. The singers left it to the crowd to choose.
The foursome returned with a haunting “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. Desrosiers delivered songs by Mariah Carey and Celine Dion, while Ros sang Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up” by Irish-Norwegian duo Secret Garden. Elvis didn’t escape the repertoire with his hit, “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You,” sung by Desrosiers and Macdonald.
The concert concluded with “Nessun Dorma,” the aria from Puccini’s opera “Turandot” and one of the best known tenor arias in the genre.
The big surprise of the second set was the stunning duet between Jacobson and Bell. The violinist and pianist performed a lively arrangement of varying tempos. These sterling musicians had us yearning for more.
But it was time to say Buona Notte — Good Night, Florence, City of Rhododendrons. The witty and affable performers left the stage to a standing ovation.
A good time was had by all as the sun set on SEA’s 2017-18 concert season.
Ciao, Vivace. It was a pleasure!