October 11, 2012
The large crowd applauds and the curtains open to even more
applause as Micheal Castaldo steps onto the stage. Behind him,
magnificent moving imagery projecting images of his beloved Italy.
To his right, the string quartet from the Richmond County Orchestra
and center stage, four magnificent dancers. The Hyblart Dance
Company is a modern Sicilian dance ensemble and have come from
Ragusa Marina in Sicily for today’s concert.
Castaldo opens with ‘Il Mondo’. Any concert that opens
with such a beautiful introduction spoken so lovingly is
unquestionably destined to be a performance filled with love. That
is exactly how the rest of the afternoon played out – with a
generous outpouring of love.
Micheal Castaldo (always with his hat) looks impeccable dressed
in black, a white button down shirt, pocket kerchief and a red rose
on his left lapel.
His stage presence is ‘enormous’. Warmly, he welcomes his
adoring audience andintroduces his string quartet and the dancers.
'Notti di Luci' follows performed in Italian and English, and you
cannot help but believe that “And I love you, yes I love you”, sung
with such passion, is dedicated to his beautiful wife Bozena. With
much pride and a beaming smile, Castaldo announces that he will be
singing on The RedCarpet at the Columbus Day Parade in New York
City. The crowd goes wild.
'I te vurria vasà' comes next and Micheal interjects “You know
the words to this song – join along” and the audience does. There
is much joy in the auditorium – you can feel the excitement. The
sound is full, the voice, impeccable, and the visual –
Sitting in the dark watching and hearing, one feels as if you
are transported on an exotic journey to Micheal’s beloved homeland
– Italy. The staging is simple, sunning, and very, very
‘effective’. So simple that it is a multi dimensional spectacular
feast for the eyes.
As lovingly as the afternoon began, the momentum continues. ‘He
lives in you’, ‘Senza catene’, and ‘Brucia la terra’ follow, each
performance as immaculate and well presented that one (with closed
eyes) might thing that you are enjoying a studio recording. The
voice is strong, articulate, warm, and ‘enormous’.
Visually, the production looses no momentum at all. Castaldo has
orchestrated a phenomenon on stage. At most, with the string
quartet and the dancers, including Castaldo, there are at any one
time only 9 performers on stage and yet, the visual with the
projected imagery and fluid dance movement is simply spectacular.
The stage appears to be full. You are on a virtual journey filled
with the glory of the music and the camaraderie between the artist,
his fellow performers and most importantly his adoring audience is
connected as if everyone were a part of the production.
Micheal continues with ‘Guarda questa terra’, ‘Alleluia’, the
world premier of ‘Calabrisella Mia’. 'Calabrisella Mia' is a
traditional Calabrian folk song with a flamenco vibe, sung in the
Calabrian dialect. By the time he completes his afternoon
performance, he and his audience are ‘one’.
After the concert there is a post concert reception. A woman
walks up to Micheal and with much heartfelt expression in her face,
and voice, she says, “Thank you for taking me home to my beloved
Italy today, and for rekindling my warmest and most heartfelt
memories of my parents who formed part of those first immigrants
who came to the United States.”
Any performer who can connect his audience to their heritage
with such enormous intensity is with no doubt, enormously gifted
and talented. Castaldo definitely is!
This article in taken, in part, from an article by Kenneth
Hieber – a multi faceted, Blog Talk Radio Personality on “One Voice
Click here to listen to