Francesca Capetta Sings Dean Martin: A Centennial Celebration

Francesca Capetta – Ian Herman, piano

 

 

by Alix Cohen

 

Francesca Capetta is a young, attractive Italian woman with a pronounced accent and big, pop voice. The combination lends itself well to the schmaltzy side of Dean Martin’s material. Numbers like “That’s Amore” with which she flirts, Martin’s best-selling “Volare” – knee keeping time under her long skirt, and particularly “Mambo Italiano,” the most infectiously cute song on the program which allows a large chorus to dance as they sing, land easily and well.

Between brief, appreciative biographical snippets, Ms. Capetta offers signature Martin tunes “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometimes,” with piano accompaniment emerging ribbons of melody, and “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” arms extend, head shakes, piano swings and rolls. Two largely unknown numbers are “I Will” with very pretty violin and, in Italian, an expansive, waltzy “Senza Fine” in tandem with lush, almost classical piano. (This could have been translated or at least explained.)

Odd choices include an earnest low-key, sob-suffixed rendition of the iconic “Smile”, “Story of Life” (staged with the chorus holding votive candles) which sounds ceremonial and becomes a march and, a vocal-more-important-than-lyrics “La Vie en Rose.”

 

 

Back Up Singers w-Stacy Sullivan, Francesca Capetta

 

 

Capetta has two special guests tonight. Stacy Sullivan, in fine Peggy Lee fashion (Sullivan’s Peggy Lee show garnered accolades and she’s at work on a follow-up commissioned by Lee’s family) offers a swinging version of “On the Street Where You Live.” Cool, layered piano dances around her long-lined delivery. This is followed by a cha-cha interpretation of “Blue Moon” that starts prayerful and ends happy likes a mini playlet. “Francesca’s from Italy and I’m from Oklahoma, so together we’re a spaghetti western,” the artist quips prefacing a bouncy duet of “Don’t Fence Me In.”

 

 

Stacy Sullivan – Liliane Montevecchi

 

The second special guest is uber-glamorous Liliane Montevecchi who treats us to “C’est Magnifique” and “I Love Paris.” Ms. Montevecchi worked with Martin in the film Young Lions. “I fell in love with Dean Martin and Marlon Brando fell in love with me. It was very confusing.” (Entirely believable.) There’s that fabulous laugh. The lady may be 85, but she moves like a 30 year-old.

 

Francesca Capette – Tommy Tune

 

The show, though nicely written, is a stretch where material is concerned. Ooos, ahhhs and a smattering of choruses provided by the large number of young people acting as back-up are insufficient to make them look anything other than gratuitous. Ms. Capetta’s talents might be better harnessed.

Music Direction is skillful and apt.

 

Photos: Maryann Lopinto

 

Francesca Capetta Sings Dean Martin: A Centennial Celebration

Musical Director-Ian Herman

Violin-Russell Farhang; Trumpet- Charlie Caranicas

Chorus: Anne Bragg, Zachary Swartout, Philippa Lynas, Robert Murray, Marina Colonna, Annette Berning, Josh Greenblatt, Matt Weinstein, Pedro Coppeti, Chelsea Lee Wheatley

July 12, 2017     Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall

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