ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 8 * * All Arts News On the Web * * April 1, 2004


      ArtBits always features a calendar of the goings on of Franklin County artists. Check out these events around Franklin County. Each issue includes the entire text of our weekly newspaper column.

      Stop in for live music and more at the Fairfax Music Sessions at the Foothills Bakery in Fairfax most Saturday afternoons at 1 p.m., at ChowBella in St Albans 8-10 p.m. most Wednesday evenings, at the Kept Writer in St Albans mostly once each month, at the Bayside in St Albans Town most Sunday afternoons, and the Cambridge CoffeeHouses at 7 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of every month.
     These gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and occasional workshops. The booked performances and acoustic Open Mike Nights feature music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.


      Tenor Luciano Pavarotti, now 68, has given up the world's stage but has undertaken a new role as illustrator.
      The All Arts Council, the Opera House at Enosburg Falls, and the Franklin County Library Association present The Art of Luciano in its world debut in the Gallery at the Opera House beginning today. The exhibit will open with an intimate concert this evening. Because Maestro Pavarotti will never again sing in concert, his old friend Bryan Adams will perform several of the maestro's favorite arias on the Opera House stage.
      "The acoustics are perfect in that building," Maestro Pavarotti said after rehearsal on Monday. "Even better for me, the downstairs art gallery is tremendous."
      Luciano Pavarotti, arguably the most beloved opera star of all time, has painted for nearly 30 years and is now ready to show his work. Three secure tractor-trailer loads of his art arrived in Enosburg Falls two weeks ago. About half of the paintings in the show are the originals of illustrations for a series of books commissioned by the Access/Amistad/Caedmon/Avon/Ecco/Eos/HarperCollins/Quill/William Morrow/Trophy/News Corporation - Random House/Knopf/Villard/Modern Library/Bertlesmann groups. Four curators have arranged the works and books in a preview of a show that travels next to Notre Dame in Montreal and on to Boston, New York, and Washington, DC.
      "I visited Highgate with my good friend Jerry Garcia," the maestro said, "and have always wanted to come back to do a show. I'm glad to be able to do this show as a benefit for the arts in Franklin County."
Remember the date.

      Thanks to television, movies, popular recordings, and worldwide tours, his tenor voice and personality have touched millions of listeners in audiences around the world.
      He has brought more people to the music of opera with a single PBS broadcast than the stars of previous generations could reach in a lifetime. His 1977 performance as Rodolfo in the first Live from the Met telecast of La Boheme attracted the largest audience ever for a televised opera.
      The only son of a music-loving amateur tenor and full-time baker, Luciano Pavarotti was born in Modena, Italy. He debuted in 1961 as Rodolfo in La Boheme at the opera house in Reggio Emilia. His American debut came four years later in Lucia di Lammermoor with Joan Sutherland. More than 500,000 fans gathered on the Great Lawn of New York's Central Park (and millions more watched on television) for his 1993 concert there. He retired from the stage with Puccini's Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera last month after 379 performances at the Met and 43 years of professional singing.
      Joining Maestro Pavarotti is Ontario-born Bryan Adams. He is a renowned songwriter, performer, and recording artist (but in a slightly different genre) whose appearances at Live-Aid, on Amnesty International's Conspiracy Of Hope tour, and with the Maestro have shown his stature as an international superstar.
      Mr. Adams's songs blend sweet, thoughtful balladry with adrenaline-surging hard-edged rock. His first major hit, in 1983, was his own "cover" of Straight From The Heart, a song Ian Lloyd had recorded three years earlier. (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, from Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, was a Number 1 hit for seven weeks. Another Number 1 came with Sting and Rod Stewart with the song All For Love. Mr. Adams earned another Academy Award nomination with Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman? from Don Juan DeMarco. He has made appearances at the Prince's Trust Charity, the London Freedomfest for Nelson Mandela, and the production of The Wall in Berlin. And he appeared in 1994 at the Parco Novi Sad in Modena in a small classic duet with Maestro Pavarotti. He has sold over 45 million albums.
      "I'm going to try to reach all nine high Cs in Tonio's aria [from 'La Fille du Regiment'] and he has requested 'O Sole Mio'," Mr. Adams said. "We'll also do 'All for Love' if I can get Luciano to return to the stage."
Check the date.

      International stars have traveled to Modena each year for Pavarotti & Friends, an annual charity show that raised funds for children in war torn countries. Over the years, these concerts have united the opera, pop and rock worlds, bringing together artists from A to Z: Mr. Adams, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bolton, Bono, Boyzone, Alex Britti, Mariah Carey, The Chieftains, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Celine Dion, Brian Eno, Bob Geldof, the Spice Girls, Elton John, Jon Bon Jovi, Michael Kamen, BB King, Meat Loaf, Ricky Martin, Liza Minnelli, Gianni Morandi, Joan Osborne, Laura Pausini, Eros Ramazzotti, Jon Secada, Sting, Suzanne Vega, Trisha Yearwood and Renato Zero.
      Maestro Pavarotti also conducts master classes at conservatories around the world and operates an international vocal competition that culminates in Philadelphia.
      "We have invited a baker's dozen rising Vermont singers to a master class [at the Opera House] in the morning," he said at rehearsal Monday.
Remember the date.

      Those 13 singers were learning from and performing for Mr. Adams and Maestro Pavarotti at press time this morning.
      "The exhibit and master classes are the kick off of a year-long program," said AAC Executive Director Judy Geer. "We will host a return concert next month for the singers in the morning program and then begin work expanding our exhibit facilities. We hope to be done in time to host next year's prestigious final Luciano Pavarotti International Competition."
      Past Pavarotti & Friends War Child concerts have led to the building of the state-of-the-art Pavarotti Music Center in Mostar, Bosnia, and funded a Liberian Children's Center. This concert will underwrite the renovation and expansion of the Pavarotti wing of the Guggenheim North facility built here in 2000.
      "We hope to raise an additional $230,000," said Ms. Geer. "That money will help underscore Franklin County's pre-eminence in the arts."
Remember the date.

      Filmmaker Spike Lee will also join the Channel 15 crew today to produce a documentary to complete his prior Pavarotti & Friends releases.
      The Art of Luciano opens on Thursday, April 1, at 7 p.m. and will continue until it closes. Admission is only $15/adults and $12/seniors and children. Tickets were available at the All Arts ticket centers: Enosburg Pharmacy and Merchants Bank in Enosburg Falls, at Swanton Rexall, and at Better Planet and at the Kept Writer in St Albans. but are sold out now. The concert and exhibit are a joint project hosted by the All Arts Council, the Opera House at Enosburg Falls, and the Franklin County Association of Libraries.

Despite the fact that today is also Dick and Anne's wedding anniversary, this column may convince you that your favorite arts council chair has hit too many high notes. Rest assured that it is again April 1 and you have been fooled.


      The Sixth Annual Franklin County Quilt Show will be held all day Saturday in St. Albans City Hall. This annual event began in 1999 and features more than 100 quilts "made within the past year from all of our members," said Bonnie Evans.
      This year the St. Albans Historical Museum will also open; all of their antique quilts will on display at the Museum.
      "We have a raffle quilt as our big fund raiser," Ms. Evans said. "It allows us to do all of our other charity projects. We keep Home Health and Ronald McDonald House and the Family Center and whomever else needs quilts throughout the year, we have people who organize."
      This year their charity quilt goes to the Alzheimer's Association. "They'll use it as a fundraiser."
      The Quilt Show will also feature quilting demonstrations all day. Admission is free. "People can come in and see what we do," she said.
      There will be a silent auction and quilts will be available for sale. The raffle drawing will be held Saturday night.

      A special note: I made a mistake last week in issuing a call for artists for this show. The show is the will include only members of the Guild. No foolin'.


      Vermont Ink is the "entertaining short story and poetry magazine of Vermont" with a "new and improved but still under construction" site.


      ArtBits features a quick weekly peek at the bookshelf or night stand of the folks you know in and around Franklin County. That popular feature has a page of its own at the Franklin County Bookshelf here on the AAC site.


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      This article was originally published in the St Albans Messenger and other traditional print media. It is Copyright © 2004 by Richard B. Harper. All rights reserved. Archival material is provided as-is. Links are not necessarily maintained (if a link in this article fails, try or your favorite search engine).
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