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Sun Valley Opera and Broadway Celebrates All Things French with Riverside Garden Concert
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Natalia Santaliz endeared herself to Sun Valley audiences when she performed a concert at The Argyros and a second concert at Gail Severn Gallery in February.
   
Wednesday, July 10, 2024
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Both Scott Ruben La Marca and Natalia Santaliz grew up grooving to Latin rhythms. But on Sunday they will sing the music of France as part of Sun Valley Opera and Broadway’s “Vive la France: A Bastille Day Celebration and Concert.”

The outdoor performance will kick off at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 14, with a reception featuring French wines and hearty hors d’oeuvres catered by Silver Fox Catering in a riverside garden in Golden Eagle. The concert will follow at 7:30 p.m., with concert seating provided.

The concert will feature French pop classics from the likes of Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, Charles Aznavour and Michel LeGrand, as well as arias from Puccini’s “La Boheme” sung in French and English. The two singers will be accompanied by pianist Sean Rogers.

The concert will take place not only on Bastille Day but on the day the Olympic Torch arrives in France ahead of the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Natalia Santaliz grew up in Puerto Rico where she still lives. She has performed the title role in Cinderella” and the role of Nannett in “Falstaff,” the role of Susanna in Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” and the role of Marenka in “The Bartered Bride.”

She performed with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Festival Napa Valley. She was the soprano soloist in John Rutter’s “Requiem” with the Puerto Rico Symphony, and she sang on The Blue Project: Puerto Rican Folk Music presented by New World Symphony.

She performed two concerts for Sun Valley Opera and Broadway in February 2024, earning the praise of such concertgoers as Joan Clark, who was excited that she could understand every word Santaliz sang.

“To say I am say I am excited to be back in Sun Valley is an understatement,” said Santaliz.  “The audience was great, and I received such a warm welcome from the community.  Our concert venues were stunning and getting to explore Sun Valley during my visit was such a treat.”

Sunday’s concert will feature traditional French repertoire and music from Ravel to Celine Dion, some of which she had never heard before until she received the repertoire proposal.

“This is both challenging and exciting. I am sure this concert will be a beautiful experience not only for the audience but for myself as well,” she said.

Scott Ruben La Marca, a tenor based in New York City, grew up listening to a lot of classical and vocal music from Latin America that his grandparents loved to sing.

“It was because of them that I pursued the arts. I always loved to sing and in my teens I discovered that making music was my calling,” said La Marca, who has won several awards, including that of the 2024 Career Bridges Foundation.

La Marca sang the role of Ismael in “Bel Canto” at the Aspen Music Festival and he’s performed in such operas as “Lucrezia Borgia,” “La Traviata” and “The Merry Widow.” As with Santaliz, many of the songs he will perform on Sunday are new to him—and he finds that exciting.

“What helps is that every single one of them is very relatable and down-to-earth,” he said. “They talk about things that most of us can relate to and have experienced. I tried to approach each song from a very personal level” 

La Marca said that Charles Aznavour’s “Tous les visages de l’amour” is one of his favorites: “He is an incredibly honest artist who wrote these love songs as if he’d been alive for generations. The wisdoms and pairing of words are unforgettable and also inspiring for us in how we can learn to love better.”

Sun Valley Opera Co-Founder Frank Meyer said the organization has never offered a program like this before.

”It will feature a number of songs that were popular in France but that were also popular in America because they were translated into English,” he said. “And when the artists sing these they will be partly in French and partly in English. One of them is a song Franak Sinatra sang, and then there’s the music of the very famous Jacque Brel, who was the subject of the off-Broadway musical ‘Jacque Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.”

Tickets for Sunday’s concert are $200, available at https://www.sunvalleyopera.com/.

COMING UP:

Sun Valley Opera and Broadway will present “Ballads, Broadway and Banter…An Evening of Music and Music at The Argyros on Aug. 25. The concert will feature two-time Emmy-nominated, actress/and mezzo-soprano Kelsey Scott, along with wine and hearty hors d’oeuvres.

Tickets range from $75 to $200, available at https://www.sunvalleyopera.com/ and https://www.theargyros.org/.

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