Ernest Revell, Jacqueline Ballarin, Enrico Caruso Room
The Enrico Caruso Room at Grotta Azzurra Ristorante will begin its second season on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 with Tenor Ernest Revell and Soprano Jacqueline Ballarin as Opening Night headliners. Their performance in the historic grotto at Grotta Azzurra, 177 Mulberry Street in Little Italy, will begin at 8 PM. Noted Music Director David Schaefer will support them on the keyboard.
Dinner is available starting at 6 PM in the main dining room at Grotta Azzurra. There is a $20 music charge in the downstairs Enrico Caruso Room. Dinner and drinks are also available in the Caruso Room before and during the performance. For reservations, call: 212-925-8775.
There is also an Open MIC session in the Caruso Room for opera singers at 7 PM. To register in advance, call 212-764-6330. Until further notice, Opera Nights will be held in the Enrico Caruso Room on the first Tuesday of the month.
The legendary Grotta Azzurra Ristorante, located on the corner of Broome and Mulberry Streets in one of lower Manhattan's historic neighborhoods - Little Italy - has redecorated its famous downstairs Grotta into a music-friendly venue and will unveil it as the Enrico Caruso Room on Tuesday. April 17, 2012. The room has been "redecorated" to honor the great Enrico Caruso, the Italian-born tenor who ruled the international opera world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The walls will feature framed authentic collectibles, including vintage photos, old acetate music discs and records, caricatures drawn by Caruso himself and other memorabilia, donated by Cav. Uff. Aldo Mancusi, founder and curator of the Enrico Caruso Museum in Brooklyn.
Producers Mort Berkowitz and Les Schecter, who have presented various opera competitions and concerts at various Little Italy venues over the past decade, believe the intimacy and 'grotto' atmosphere of the room, and its close association with one of the greatest Italian operatic tenors of all time - Enrico Caruso -- make this a perfect venue to present multi-talented classical singers who can perform a repertoire of songs ranging classic opera to Italian folk music. "We want the music to reflect New York and the historic Italian neighborhood," they said. "For decades people have been coming to Little Italy for the food and the atmosphere and Grotta Azzurra has as much atmosphere as anywhere else in the neighborhood. We hope the Enrico Caruso Room will rapidly become a place where professional opera singers will want to perform at our Tuesday Opera Nights and where up and coming classical singers will want to take part in our Thursday Night Opera Open Mics."
In the early 1900's, Enrico Caruso would spend many of his leisure hours in Little Italy and would often dine - and sing - at Grotta Azzurra. He is known to have entertained many of his friends and associates in Little Italy, an area where he felt most welcome since many of the residents at the time were Italian-speaking immigrants from his native Naples and where he could enjoy his favorite Neapolitan cuisine. He also befriended the owners of the Italian language newspaper La Follia Di New York, which was published near the corner of Grand and Mulberry Streets and which regularly published well conceived and drawn caricatures created by Caruso, who was also an expert sketch artist.
Anyone hearing the voice of Ernest Revell (www.ernestrevell.com) will have a hard time imagining that he only first began voice lessons just several years ago when he retired from the business world. His is a sound that brings the Golden Age of opera into the 21st century: a rich, ringing timbre, and the proverbial 'tear' in the voice that has been an essential component of every great tenor's work for centuries. Still, it is difficult to fathom that he was in his fifties before beginning to seriously study music! The son of a mother of Neapolitan descent and a father of French descent, Ernest always loved music, and the voice. With the influences of movies featuring Mario Lanza and recordings by Enrico Caruso to guide him, Ernest became fascinated with singing and hoped one day to be able to share the happiness it gave him with the rest of the world.