By Allen Payton
Italian tenor and PBS star, Pasquale Esposito will perform operatic pop concert, From Italy With Love, with very special opening act, the Anthony “Nino” Lane Band on Saturday, March 21 at the historic El Campanil Theatre in Antioch. His performance will include a touch of opera, standards, Broadway and his originals. The concert begins at 3:00 p.m. and tickets for all reserved seating are $39.
Born in Naples, Italy, tenor Esposito grew up listening to the music of famous tenor Enrico Caruso, also from Naples and started singing when he was just six years old. By age seven Esposito began performing in church, the same church in which Caruso sang.
“I was born in his same neighborhood, which is why the inspiration,” Esposito said.
Following a visit to California in 1998, he decided to move to America where he studied music at San Jose State University. Esposito graduated with a degree in vocal performance in 2009.
“Don’t ask me to dance,” he said with a laugh.
He has gone on to perform during tours in both the U.S. and Italy, singing in multiple languages: Italian, English, Spanish and Neapolitan, the Italian dialect from Naples.
Esposito tours a couple times a year.
“We partner with PBS, then we follow with a concert in the area where the television show is aired,” he shared. “We do this a couple times a year,”
Enrico Caruso was born in the 1800’s and achieved amazing success in Italy, but mostly in the U.S. He was with the Metropolitan Opera and was one of the first to be recorded.
“We did another special on Italian Squares that we visited,” said Esposito. “The main concert was done in Rome.”
“What we will be doing in Antioch is a combination of these two shows,” he stated. “I think we are going to have an amazing video projection of media behind, to tell the story. It’s an interactive performance.”
He will have with him his “piano player, who has been with me for 12 years, a guitar player, a drummer, a percussionist and bass player,” Esposito added.
“We will also do some American standards and even some Spanish songs,” he shared.
About Neapolitan, he said “it is one of the most musical languages in the world. If you want to start in opera, you need to start with Neapolitan songs.”
Asked which one is his favorite, Esposito said, “I do have one, it’s one from an aria from an opera from Pucini. Turandot is the name of the opera. Nessun Dorma is the name of the aria.”
“I had the joy to collaborate in my first PBS special with Placido Domingo,” he said. “He has been my mentor and definitely a light in my life.”
About his career, Esposito said, “It was an amazing journey. If you ask me if it was something I chose, I would have to say no. I was lucky to win the green card lottery at age 22 and moved to the United States.”
“It’s the story of a new immigrant,” he stated. “The U.S. is still the land of opportunity, where if you work hard, your dreams can come true. I am able to support my family with this gift.”
Sorry, ladies, but Esposito is married and has three children, Vittorio, Roxanna and Valentina, named because she was born in February, and they live in the San Jose area.
“The last one was a beautiful surprise,” he shared. “She just turned one years old on Feb. 6.”
He finished a Christmas special for PBS that will air later this year.
Esposito said he travels between Italy and the U.S. but spends most of his time in California.
“It’s a joy to come to a new community,” he shared. “This show is not just made for Italians but music lovers. Even those who love rock ‘n roll will love this style of music.”
The concert is part of a series being brought to East County by Licata-Cardinale Productions, and partners Michael Licata and George Cardinale.
“This is a guy who has been a PBS star and never been on this side of the Bay,” Cardinale said. “He’s performed all over the world, in Vegas and Reno. We’re happy to bring his talent to historic downtown Antioch. You’ll enjoy the show very much. It’s really a treat for the people here who have never seen him, before.”
For tickets visit https://www.elcampaniltheatre.com/pasquale-esposito.html, call the Box Office at (925) 757-2500, or stop by Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or one hour before shows at 602 W. 2nd Street in Rivertown, Antioch.
For more information about Pasquale Esposito visit pasqualeesposito.com.