by Paula Citron
International Touring Productions
L’Orchestra Internazionale d’Italia
Conducted by Kerry Stratton
Starring Claudio Marcotulli, guitarist and Francesca Ruospo, soprano
At Roy Thomson Hall
In honour of both the 13th edition of the Italian Annual Wine Tasting and Puccini’s 150th anniversary, a slew of organizations mounted a thoroughly enjoyable evening at Roy Thomson Hall called Gala Italia.
The headliner was Orchestra Internazionale d’Italia based in Fermo, and conducted for this concert by Toronto maestro Kerry Stratton. The orchestra sported a sensational woodwind section and tight strings, and proved to be sensitive and accomplished players.
Their repertoire included two newly commissioned pieces expressly for this tour. Carlo Boccadoro’s Fasi Lunari captured the essence of the moon in rhythmic minimalism, while Gianluca Podio’s Di Fedro il Gioco Nascosto was playfully melodic.
The first soloist was guitarist Claudio Marcotulli who gave a very virtuosic rendering of Rodrigo’s beloved Concierto de Aranjuez. La Scala soprano Francesca Ruospo performed the Puccini arias, displaying a big spinto voice that passed the goose bump test. Her lower register is beautifully warm and she goes right for the jugular when it comes to high notes.