You will love the final week of Festival

Published 12:33 am Sunday, May 19, 2013

Today at 4 p.m. at BriarVue at the Briars overlooking the Mississippi River, we kick off this last week of a fun-filled month with A Musical Wine Tasting. Vocalists Argentina native soprano Romina Gurian and American bass-baritone Zack Rabin, who returns to Natchez, will be accompanied by Peruvian pianist Pablo Sotomayor, at this ticketed event. A Ben Watts-commissioned sculpture will be auctioned — an original, one-of-a kind of Rigoletto and his daughter Gilda in the final tragic scene from Verdi’s opera Rigoletto.  Continuing this fun on into the night at 7 p.m., head over to the Eola Lobby for more Rossini, Puccini and Martinis for piano and vocalists. The event is free with a cash bar. Last Sunday evening, there were 60 plus enjoying Sotomayor and a number of the Festival’s vocalists. This will be the same sort of evening. Don’t miss it!

At 7 p.m. Friday at the Prentiss Club, Argentina native Alejandro Drago and the Tango Rendezvous Ensemble are back by popular demand for this sure-to-sell-out event. You will see why the Tango is the “dance of love.” Drago is hailed by music critics as “a superb musician,” “classical virtuosity of a Heifetz or Perlman,” “suave café style of Florian Zabach” and “jazzy insouciance of Stephane Grappelli,” and “crisscrossed the line between concerto virtuoso and jazz soloist.”

Then, at 7 p.m. Saturday at Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center will explode when baritone James Rodriguez steps on stage as Rigoletto in Verdi’s colorful production by the same name and the Festival’s grand finale event. Wait until you hear Rodriguez sing world-famous “La donna e mobile”— just one of the many Rigoletto greats. If you don’t think you know the music, think again to your childhood cartoons! You know the music, and you loved it then. You will now have a much better appreciation for this piece in this setting. You will chuckle when you think about the translation of this dramatic music! It speaks to flighty women who change their voices and minds … but, of course, always remain sweet. The strong cast of performers Rodriguez, John Christopher Adams, Romina Gurian, Rachel Arky, Rocky Sellers and Kathleen Farrar Buccleugh will lead an outstanding, energetic and engaging cast of 17. This unbelievable melodrama of murderer’s sport is full of seduction and intrigue — and the despised Rigoletto, making this one of the most famous operas. This will be a great night and the perfect way to cap off a top season followed by our finale gala at beautiful Linden.

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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 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,, 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 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.