New Britain City Journal

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Entertainment

Trinity on Main Welcomes in 2012

Who needed to be overwhelmed by the big crowds, traffic, long hours and long lines that is First Night in a big city when New Britain’s own Trinity On Main hosted a warm, cozy, glamorous and intimate New Years Eve celebration at the historic church on Dec. 31?

All that decor — the wood, the velvet, the architecture- – manages to always create an uplifting ambience that enhances anything performed in this theater, especially when the Conn. Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra is in the house. Maestro Adrian Sylveen assembled a gala evening that featured just his state-of-the-art String section and guest tenor Michael Imbimbo singing (NOT impersonating) beloved Frank Sinatra tunes, with cheerful background accordion music before, during (intermission), and after the concert performed by our city’s own Mike Platosz.

Then, there were the gourmet hors d’oeuvres to die for — an eclectic mix of primarily Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-inspired delectables supplied by Bruna Myftaraj (say: MEEF-TAR-AHJ), who creates just as much magic in the kitchen as she does onstage as the Virtuosi’s Concert Mistress (1st violin).

After the sheer indulgence of all those exotic goat, feta and brie cheese creations, mouthwatering spanikopita, fresh shrimp and sinful pastries at the preliminary cocktail party, the audience was treated to Michael Imbimbo’s renditions of “Ol’ Blue Eyes” favorites. The tenor, originally from Waterbury, was last seen here in two small roles in the Conn. Lyric Opera’s “Tales of Hoffmann” production that graced this stage in November.

All singers — pop, blues, and, especially opera — must master the fine art of shading, of caressing a tune without crooning, of varying the dynamics, to ward off the monotony that will otherwise occasionally creep into their selections, and here Imbimbo still needs to grow as an artist. However, he is very young (only 25) and this will obviously come with time and more experience and coaching. For now, his relaxed stage manner, tall, handsome looks, and genuine love of his subject matter were enough to charm the rhinestones off the largely female-dominated audience, and it is to be noted, that his diction was far superior than many a far more established star when singing in English. For the record, all the greatest hits were there — “My Way”, “New York, New York”, “Strangers in the Night”, etc — and were enthusiastically received.

 

Strategically, Sylveen capped the concert with the predictable and always festive Strauss waltzes, but the true highpoint was Michael McLean’s “Tango Chromatique”, an absolutely gorgeous piece of flamenco and Hollywood-flavored music that evoked images of the glory days of the cinema in the 1950’s. It was also refreshing to see the maestro return to his roots as an ace violinist and performer. In these pieces, as in everything they play these days, the Virtuosi Strings roster runs like a machine — the precision, the passion, the crisp intonation, all cohesive as a unit — and really does live up to their name!

For more information on upcoming events (Valentine’s concert Feb. 10 at CCSU and Mozart’s comic opera “Cosi van Tutte” at Trinity in March), please visit www.thevirtuosi.org, To inquire about Catering by Bruna, please call 860-944-0423.