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This week of music is too darn hot

Thank you again Natchez for supporting the Natchez Festival of Music! Talk about great energy! We have had terrific performers, ticket sales are up, and everyone is talking about the Festival. The crowds have been tremendous.

Today at 4 p.m., Lanneau Music Room, Waverly, you can hear the lovely and poised soprano, Susan Ruggiero, in a beautiful concert tribute to 19th-century opera singer Adelina Patti, who performed in the music capitals of both Europe and America, making her one of the most famous American sopranos in history. Then, at 7 p.m., Eola Lobby, it’s Rossini, Puccini and Martinis when Pablo Sotomayor, one of the most internationally active and versatile Peruvian pianists of his generation, will tickle the ivories like nothing you have seen. He will accompany a group of our vocalists. The event is free with a cash bar.

Thursday through Sunday are loaded with more music and art. At 5:30 p.m., Thursday, May 16, there is a free reception at the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture, 301 Main Street. The beautiful soprano, character vocalist Diana Thompson, will be introduced in advance of her upcoming performances as the “The Black Swan of Natchez,” Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield. Greenfield was the 19th century Natchez-born slave and African-American opera singer celebrated on the stages of Europe and as one of the most popular sopranos in Great Britain after singing for Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace. Then, at 7 p.m. that same evening at Trinity Episcopal Church, historian Dr. David Sansing will present a free illustrated lecture on The Black Swan. The event is sponsored by our friends, the National Park Service, Co-Lin Community College and the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration. On Friday, May 17, there will be two evening ticketed performances at Cherokee where Thompson will perform. Local aspiring artist Patricia Ware will make appearances during Thompson’s performances.

Then, at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center, patrons will have some real fun when Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me Kate” hits the stage. As Porter’s biggest hit, it ran for more than 1,000 performances on Broadway and won the first Tony Award presented for Best Musical. Don’t miss this melodic version of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” — a story of love that survives conflict. This play-within-a-play is packed with comedy, and “So in Love” and “Too Darn Hot” will be music to your ears. Leading this 17-performer cast are Megan Barrera, Luke Grooms, Perry Davis Harper, Rachel Arky and Nora Graham-Smith and includes Natchez’ very own Landon Henry and Rusty Jenkins.

After you rest up from Saturday evening, join us at 4 p.m. next Sunday at BriarVue overlooking the Mississippi River for A Musical Wine Tasting when vocalists Romina Gurian and Zack Rabin perform, accompanied by Sotomayor. A Ben Watts commissioned sculpture will be auctioned. It will be an original, one-of-a kind of Rigoletto and his daughter Gilda in the final tragic scene from Verdi’s opera “Rigoletto.” It is on display at ArtsNatchez on Main Street until it is auctioned the wine tasting event. Continuing this fun on into that Sunday night at 7 p.m., head on over to the Eola Lobby again for a free piano performance by one of our artists who will accompany our vocalists at the popular Rossini, Puccini and Martinis — lots of fun.

Our final week will be with Alejandro Drago’s Tango and Verdi’s Rigoletto with the Finale Gala at beautiful Linden.

Again, the performers are from around the globe this year. There is more about them in the Festival’s “Meet the Line Up” newsletter at natchezfestivalofmusic.com. The Festival’s official posters — made from the Christopher and Marina Cartwright Cavette commissioned watercolor — are on sale at Natchez Fine Framing and Art Gallery on Main Street. Don’t miss the Rolland Golden jazz pieces in silent auction and for sale. Visit the Rolland Golden Gallery on Main Street for more information.

Tickets are available through the Festival Box Office at 601-445-2210, natchezfestivalofmusic.com, Natchez Pilgrimage Tours, and Darby’s on Main Street. For more information about the festival and restaurant, hotel and B&B specials with tickets, visit natchezfestivalofmusic.com. To follow the festival, visit the festival’s “Contacts and Social Media” tab on the website.

Come! You will know the music.


Jay Dean is the artistic director for the Natchez Fetsival of Music.