Downstage at the Grotta
Grotta Azzurra Ristorante, located on the corner of Broome and Mulberry Streets in one of lower Manhattan's historic neighborhoods – Little Italy – has transformed its lower-level 'grotto' into an intimate live music room on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 PM for the remainder of December. There is a $20 cover charge plus a two drink minimum (which can be applied to food).
Each performance night features two singers – a soprano and a tenor or baritone – who perform solo and together, supported by a talented keyboard player. Each musical evening includes programs of operatic arias, Neapolitan folk songs and American Songbook tunes. All of the performers in this series have performed in front of live audiences in the tri-state New York area, either at popular uptown cabaret venues like Feinstein's and the Metropolitan Room, or in operatic venues and concert halls in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut.
This week, tenor Caranza and soprano Cheryl Warfield will share the stage on Wednesday, December 28, and tenor Jimmy Alleva and soprano Christiana will perform on Thursday, December 29. David Schaeffer will be the accompanist all other nights. Performers during the first two weeks included sopranos Shana Farr, Emily Ross-Johnson, Michelle Trovato and Cristina-Marie Necula, and tenors Randy Pradara, Joshua Benevento, David Katz and John Carelli.
Reservations are suggested by calling Grotta Azzurra Ristorante at 212-925-8775.
Producers Mort Berkowitz and Les Schecter, who have presented concert performers at various Little Italy venues over the past decade, believe the intimacy and 'grotto' atmosphere make this a perfect place to present multi-talented singers who can perform a repertoire of songs ranging from Broadway show tunes to classic opera to Italian folk music. "We want the music to reflect New York (Broadway) 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." The presenters noted that the initial lineup of performers includes singers who have performed before at Little Italy's Feast of San Gennaro Opera Nights as well as at Little Italy's popular summer festivals which are held weekends on the Mulberry Street Mall from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
This Week's Performers Wednesday, December 28
Soprano Cheryl Warfield has performed over 15 lead roles in the standard operatic repertoire. This season, Cheryl sings the Countess with Amore Opera and Leonora in Verdi's Il Trovatore with the Manhattan Opera Repertory Ensemble. Career highlights include debuts on Broadway and at the Chicago Lyric, and a guest soloist appearance for the 2010 NFL Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies in Canton, Ohio. Cheryl is also a recognized opera and concert producer and teaching artist.