Mary Setrakian & Avant Orchestra
When Broadway Encounters Jazz in Italy
Teatro delle Erbe, Milano - November 21st, 2006
Review by: Eva
Pictures by: Mario Livraghi
Mary Setrakian's concert with the Avant Orchestra at the Teatro
delle Erbe in Milan is almost sold out, and the audience is waiting for the concert
to start. The concert has been organized by "Produzione Sgamp Entertainment,"
of Stefano Pisano and by
Setrakian's Italian Manager, Domenico Stante, a Roman actor, who introduced
her to the Italian audience about three years ago. The evening is announced as a
concert of Big Band music meeting the show tunes of Broadway.
At 9:15 the members of the "Avant Orchestra" go on stage: Roberto
Villani, Paolo Milanesi, Andrea Baroldi (trumpets), Umberto
Amesquita, Alberto Bollettieri, Mauro Ciccarese, Davide Guadini
(trombones), Francesco Bianchi, Alessio Sabina (alto sax),
Valentino Finoli, Rudy Manzoli (baritone sax), Gilberto Tarocco
(tenor sax), Luca Cacucciolo (piano) Gianluca Alberti (double-bass),
(drums) and the Maestro Marco Fior, Director of the Avant Orchestra.
The concert starts with an instrumental piece, "Count
Bubba" by Gordon Goodwin. When "Orange Colored
Sky", the second piece listed in the program starts, instead of seeing
Mary Setrakian appear on stage, we hear her singing behind us. She has no
microphone, but we hear her voice quite well, even though a whole big band is playing.
She is singing and walking toward the stage in the isle between the rows of seats
of the Teatro delle Erbe to reach the orchestra. She carries such a positive energy
with her, and spreads it around to all the people in the audience. Mary Setrakian
has chosen very well-known pieces, and for this reason everybody can fully appreciate
her personal interpretation of every song. The songs range from "Fever"
to "Stormy Weather" and from "All
Of Me" to "Cry me a river". These
are all songs that are included in the standard jazz repertoire, but her approach
to these standards is more brilliant, more "Broadway". Mary Setrakian acts
while she sings, and she leaves the stage and walks among the audience. She surprises
the audience, and also the pianist, Luca Cacucciolo as she climbes, sits,
and even lies on the piano while he plays. Mary leaves the stage for a costume
change while the band introduces the next portion of the show with "On
Broadway." Mary Setrakian has performed on Broadway, and she proves
her worth as she finishes out the first Act with songs from the Great White Way:
"Hello Dolly!" (from "Hello Dolly!"),
"All I Ask Of You" (from "Phantom of the
Opera"), "Send In The Clowns" (from "A
Little Night Music"), and "Easy As Life"
(from "Aida"). Mary Setrakian is a perfect artist and actress; apart
from changing her evening dresses various times during the concert, she switches
from one character to the next with surprising ease and great naturalness. From
sorrow or despair she is able to switch, in the next song, to being sexy and seductive,
passing through so many moods and characters as the songs that are listed
in the evening's program.
After the break, the Avant Orchestra piano, bass and drums play an Italian
instrumental piece, "Estate", by
Mary comes back on stage and announces "the Italian portion of the show" with "Mambo
Italiano", and a rendition of Mina's "E se domani"
that amazes the audience by her excellent Italian pronunciation and unique interpretation.
To celebrate her Armenian roots, the concert continues with "You'll
Never Know", "Come On-A-My House"
(by famous Armenian author, William Saroyan and his cousin Ross Bagdasarian) and
two songs in the Armenian language, "Loosin yelav"
and "Karun Karun." Mary calls the entire orchestra
back to the stage with the comic duet "I Got You Babe"
(by Sonny Bono). She ends the concert with two beautiful songs of Broadway: "My
Funny Valentine" (from "Babes in Arms") and "The
Winner Takes It All" (from "Mamma Mia!")
The audience thanks Mary for the beautiful evening and for her excellent
performance with an applause that lasts for a few minutes. After the audience's
request for more, Mary ends the evening with an a cappella version of "The
Sound of Music." To our delight, she tells us she is going to come back
soon, in March 2007.
Mary Setrakian is surely an artist of the highest caliber. Apart from
performing in concerts, she is a master voice teacher, holding courses for singers
and actors during her Italian tours.
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Publishing Date: 03/02/2007