Love was in the air last night at Lincoln Center as the New York Philharmonic opened their season with a gala concert entitled La Dolce Vita: The Music of Italian Cinema. After the ultrapassionate show, we caught up with stars Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming, and Josh Groban to find out about their own personal sense of la dolce vita, and whether performing in Italian makes them feel as amorous as they sounded.
Fleming, the soprano who came before The Sopranos, said her dolce vita is, "all about balance and beauty. Beauty, for me, is a touchstone. Beauty in art, beauty in nature, I need that or else I’m not happy.” Where does the Grammy-award-winning opera star go for her fix? “Riverside Park, or on my bike, or … even just in Buffalo. I saw the most spectacular art museum [there]. Buffalo is a best-kept secret!” Uh, anyway ... How does the Italian language make her feel? “It just makes you want to SING. It makes you want to [she bellows out] YAHHHHHHH!”
Onto the Joshes! Joshua Bell, who brought us to tears during his solo performance of Suite From the Anonymous Venetian by Stelvio Cipirani, arranged and orchestrated by W. Ross, says everything Italian makes him feel profoundly emotional. “Italy is extremely important to me. First of all, Italians love singing, and the violin is a singing instrument. And my own violin, a Stradivarius, was made in Cremona, Italy, in 1713. My Stradivarius is my closest companion.” Then the thoughtful, poised musician closed his eyes and said, “Without Italy, I’d be a very different man and musician.” By the way, while there are only a few Stradivarius around the world, Bell made Cremona sound like a really cool place to visit, calling it a “wonderful little town that still has old violin-makers everywhere and magical musical energy.”
Enter the adorable Josh Groban. How does singing in Italian make him feel? “From a vocal standpoint, it’s a joy to sing it; as a human being, singing in Italian lets out this inner-Romeo that is not normally there. I’m usually kind of just tripping all over myself with women. So, to have songs that allow me to be that guy for one twentieth of my life — I’m grateful.”