Italian tenor Pasquale Esposito returns to Sacramento’s Crest Theater on Saturday, Oct. 27, with his new multimedia celebration of Italian culture in video and song.
In 2016, Esposito’s show celebrated Enrico Caruso. This time, perhaps surprisingly, it’s a celebration of Italian piazzas. Esposito has shown the vocal resources to take on the lyric roles that made Caruso famous. His tribute to his famous predecessor was featured on PBS in 2015.
Earlier this year he released his album “Pasquale Esposito Celebrates Italian Piazzas,” and began his like-named tour. His Sacramento event will be bracketed by appearances in San Jose and Las Vegas.
Esposito refers to his celebrations as “docu-concerts,” a combination of documentary and concert. He sees his mission as embracing both entertainment and cultural education.
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“I am very passionate about sharing my rich Italian heritage with my audience by highlighting the culture, history, music, and traditions,” Esposito said. “My touring productions in state-of-the-art performing venues provide for the perfect platform to share my music and educational message with audiences.”
When he came to the United States in 1998, Esposito did not speak English. He was fortunate enough to find a mentor in California who recognized his potential.
“I had a raw talent and was able to capitalize on that with the support of San Jose State University’s School of Music, where I met Professor Joseph Frank,” Esposito said. “He instilled upon me the skills and techniques that developed my voice and gave me the confidence to develop my charismatic persona on stage and film.”
While there is an obvious audience for an event involving an Italian tenor singing in tribute to Caruso, the draw of a celebration of Italian piazzas is less apparent. However, Esposito has a clear notion of his intentions.
“My aim is to share with the audience our past and how in Italy every city had a piazza which was the central place for friends and family to meet to converse over a cup of espresso, or take a walk, or visit the local church,” Esposito said. “I hope to renew this concept of connecting in real time versus virtually as a way for us as society to heal and understand the importance of human contact.”
A four-minute trailer for Esposito’s celebration of Italian piazzas has been posted on YouTube and makes visually evident the large social gatherings that Italy’s capacious public plazas make possible. Esposito’s audiences join him in convivial enjoyment of wine and song and fireworks, along with guest artists like Lina Sastri, famous in Italy but new to most Americans, Grammy nominee Mayssa Karaa, and Victoria McDowell, who is only 12 years old.
Esposito is a multilingual exponent of the operatic pop genre, embracing a broad array of languages and song styles. His rendition of “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” — recorded by both Elvis Presley (1970) and Dusty Springfield (1969) — segues seamlessly into the original Italian song that inspired the English version: “Io che non vivo (senza te)” by Pino Donaggio.
The song is indicative of who Esposito is as an artist, a bridge between past and present.
“I have been very blessed to be in the stage that I am today,” he says. “I have sacrificed and worked hard to achieve my success, but have been fortunate to have been surrounded by mentors and support along the way.”
And his success hasn’t been a solo effort.
“I have a wonderful team of arrangers and producers both in Italy and the U.S. that collaborate with me,” Esposito said. “Usually, I have the concept for a project and with my team I develop the idea and work in a collaborative manner.”
Work is a central theme in Esposito’s artistic career. Before getting into music, he was a businessman. He says that experience has been vital in the music industry.
“As an artist it is sometimes difficult to also manage and produce the ideas, but I am fortunate to have a great business background that allows me to not only dream of the ideas but to also execute them by overseeing every aspect of my productions,” Esposito said. “Over the years, I have been lucky to form a great team around me that knows my vision and understands that I am a perfectionist.”
A Sacramento audience will soon be able to decide for itself whether he’s achieved that perfection.
If you go
What: Pasquale Esposito Celebrates Italian Piazzas
When: Saturday, Oct. 27
Where: Crest Theater
Cost: $27.50 to $85
More info: https://bit.ly/2ClnGJU