Ritzy week ahead for festival of music

Published 12:06 am Sunday, May 5, 2013

What a great first week for the Natchez Festival of Music.We sold out our ultimate and encore packages days before opening night and had to create a new Maestro’s Package! That’s support! Thank you, Natchez, for getting behind our performers!  Remember that virtuoso pianist Jonathan Levin performs at 4 p.m. today at Trinity Episcopal Church in American Frontiers — music from many of the important periods of America’s history and special works rarely performed.

This week is filled with four big events with music from ragtime, Jazz, Broadway musicals and opera — and the Festival’s signature event, A Bel Canto Gala. At 7 p.m. Friday night, The Prentiss Club, 211 North Pearl St., will feature vocalists Megan Barrera, Luke Grooms and Kathleen Farrar Buccleugh to pay tribute to Russian-born American Composer Irving Berlin. His 60-year career is a legacy that even now provides us with entertainment in the way of songs such as “God Bless America,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “Play a Simple Melody,” “All by Myself,” “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” “Easter Parade,” “Cheek to Cheek,” “White Christmas”and “Blue Skies” — a piece recorded by none other than today’s Willie Nelson!

Then, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Trinity Episcopal Church, you will not want to miss the Festival’s signature event—a real opportunity to attend a performance usually available only in cities such as New York, London or Milan, when three internationally known metropolitan performers along with two regional treasures will perform in A Bel Canto Gala. On stage at Trinity will be Paul Groves, Lucas Meachem, Emily Pulley, Maryann Kyle and Robert Grayson. The program includes music from Broadway musicals “West Side Story,” “Carousel,” “Les Misérables” and the most beautiful opera. You will know the music.  This event alone sets a new mark and standard for the performing arts in Natchez and will be an evening those in attendance will long remember. It puts Natchez on the map as having hosted THE very best in the industry! You owe it to yourself to be there. The pre-party for ticketholders is at The Merrill House, 311 S. Commerce St., and the gala following the performance will be at Gloucester.

Email newsletter signup

Finally, next Sunday brings two outstanding events, the 4 p.m. Waverly Plantation performance by Susan Ruggiero, when she pays tribute to Adelina Patti followed by the 7 p.m. evening performance of Rossini, Puccini & Martinis with Peruvian pianist Pablo Sotomayor and quite a number of vocalists for fun — and free — in the Eola Lobby.

Don’t forget that there is more to come during the final two weeks … the Black Swan reception, lecture and the tribute performances, Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me Kate,” a musical wine tasting at BriarVue, more from Sotomayor, Alejandro Drago’s Tango and Verdi’s Rigoletto with Finale Gala at beautiful Linden.

Again, our performers are from around the globe this year. You can read 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. Don’t miss the Rolland Golden jazz pieces in silent auction and for sale or Mississippi sculptor Ben Watts’ “Rigoletto” on display at ArtsNatchez until it is auctioned at the Musical Wine Tasting event.

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 Festival of Music.