Three tenors plus one – plus the inspiration of Andrea Bocelli equals a delightful night at the opera.
It’s even better when it all benefits the Opera Club of The Villages scholarship program.
The club sponsored the benefit Saturday at The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center.
It was billed as “Three Tenors Plus One, A Tribute To Andrea Bocelli.” It was the first time in its 23-year scholarship fundraising history that the Opera Club featured a tribute to one artist for the Three Tenors event.
“We chose Bocelli because he represents the progress of our Opera Club,” President Gerri Piscitelli said in her opening remarks before the concert.
It featured John McVeigh, of the Metropolitan Opera, Andrew Struhar and Devin Eatmon – a former winner of the Harold Schwartz Music Scholarship.
Carson Dorsey, a soprano and international soloist, played the role of Plus One. Maestro Bill Doherty accompanied the singers on piano.
Piscitelli said the performers serve as examples of how the Opera Club encourages talent. The Club has raised about $450,000 over the years.
“We strive to expand our assistance and reach out to promising singers and musicians who might choose to perform, teach or compose,” she said.
And it’s not only for those on stage.
“Perhaps they will enter the medical field and embrace music therapy or digital music and its far-reaching applications,” Piscitelli said. “To live is to change, and we are trying our best to keep up with the ever-expanding field.”
This was a lively blend of opera, pop and Broadway show tunes. Bocelli is known as a crossover artist, with hit albums showcasing classical music as well as pop.
McVeigh was stellar throughout the concert. He showed classical form on “Sorridi Amore Vai” from “Life is Beautiful.”
But McVeigh really won over the crowd with a couple of Broadway numbers. He captured the anguish of the Phantom on “Music of the Night.” Then came the soft yearning of “Maria.”
Eatmon also displayed a variety of vocal styles. He was at his operatic best on “Celeste Aida.” Eatmon flashed his mischievous side singing “New York, New York” and pronouncing it “New Yawk, New Yawk.”
Piscitelli was proud of Eatmon, who is working on a graduate degree in music at Florida State University and has performed throughout the country.
“Without your support, that would have never happened,” she said. “Money means everything.”
Dorsey sang opera but also shined on “Think of Me” from the Phantom. She teamed with Eatmon on reverent “The Prayer.” And she did a duet with McVeigh on “Time to Say Goodbye.”
Struhar hit all the notes on “Caruso” but started a sing-along with a fun version of the old pop hit “Volare.”
Struhar teamed with special guest Sam Reynolds for a high-powered duet on “Au fond du temple saint,” from “The Pearle Fishers” by Bizet.
Both Saturday performances drew big crowds and that pleased Doherty.
“Oscar Feliu and I started the Three Tenors 23 years ago. Oscar is gone now, but we remember him and you honor him by supporting these scholarships,” he said.
Tony Violanti is a veteran journalist and writes for Villages-News.com.