Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Felix Felicis?

This past year has just been unbelievable.

This could be addictive. :)

Patrizio Buanne's Singapore Showcase, August 16 2005

Held in the Grand Ballroom at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, this was a classy affair attended by mostly middle-aged professionals, with a smattering of elderly folks and a few yuppies.

I won a pair of tickets through a Gold 90.5FM contest, but hadn't actually bought his album, so I literally went through a 2-day crash course on his music, purchasing the CD the day after I got the news ( Sunday ) then putting it on a constant spin on my car and home stereos, even my Discman, so I wouldn't be clueless during the event.

Turned out to be a good investment!

Buanne is a self-confessed hard-core fan of Italian-American singing legends like Perry Como and Dean Martin, so the track listing pays unapologetic tribute to their style, boasting spine-tingling covers of Il Mondo, A Man Without Love and For The First Time ( Come Prima ).

With his smouldering good looks ( tanned, flawless complexion, lean physique, HUGE green eyes, full pouting lips ), an effortlessly powerful, crystal clear tenor voice, and such a choice of repertoire, you'd have to be made of stone not to love this guy ( if you're a woman, at least! ).

Personal favourites of mine:

1. On An Evening In Roma - top on the list for sure. I first heard this while stuck in a jam en route to work. Was swearing under my breath for the umpteenth time when the song started. Into the 2nd verse, with the lines "Though there's grinning and mandolining / In sunny Italy / The beginning has just begun when the sun goes down / So please meet me in the plaza near your casa / I am only one and one is much too few / On an evening in Roma / Don't know what the country's coming to / But in Rome do as the Romans do / Will you? / On an evening in Roma" - coupled with a beautiful melody, superb orchestral arrangement ( accompanied by London's Royal Philharmonic ) and a subtly cheeky delivery ( when he sings "Do they take 'em for espresso? / Yeah I guess so" ), I've been playing this in a constant repeat mode it's just absolutely insane. :)

2. A Man Without Love - I've only heard the Engelbert Humperdink version ( very nice ), but this cover is much, much better. Romantic beyond description, with a lovely little Italian twang to the English lyrics. Mild tachycardia coming on, heh.

3. Luna Mezz'o Mare - aka The Happiest Song On The Album. Translated as "The Moon Over The Sea", this traditional Sicilian wedding song is infectiously exuberant with a tinge of Greek festivity ( Sicily being heavily influenced by Grecian culture ). Never fails to bring a smile to my face no matter how bad a day I've had.

Other gems:

4. Alta Marea - Apparently, there's an Italian version of Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over". It works.

5. Parla Piu Piano - Known as "Speak Softly Love" from the film "The Godfather". Hauntingly beautiful.

The showcase itself was an immense pleasure.

Patrizio came bounding out at 8:15pm, launching into A Man Without Love and doing that Italian kiss-blowing routine ( Sorrento all over again :)). Dressed to the nines in a stylish black suit and black shirt, he looks exactly like his photos but has the advantage of showing off a charismatic personality to an appreciative audience.

"Good evening, ladies..." he whispered, then after making a show of scanning the room at length, added, "... and gentleman!" ending off with a throaty laugh. This self-deprecating sense of humour permeated throughout his 30-minute performance, and I didn't see a dour face in sight.
"I sampled some of your local specialties," he mentioned at a later juncture. "A bit of pizza, spaghetti... ( another laugh )".

Only 26 years of age, but looking every bit the seasoned professional, his vocals were pitch-perfect, his tone controlled yet rich, his deliveries emotional. Savvily punctuating the serious moments with a few flirtatious antics, he stepped off-stage during "An Evening In Roma", wandering among the audience members, kissing many a flustered lady's hand, and obliging with spontaneous photo ops from numerous others who ran down front from the back rows. He didn't come over to my block, but of course, I didn't mind ( you may be able to guess why :)).

For the encore, he ended off with "Alta Marea", then stayed back for another half hour of autograph-signing and more photos. Friendly to a fault, he chatted animatedly with the fans, often standing to pose for pictures before sitting again for the next signature.

The Post-Post-Show Meet & Greet

Many many thanks to a certain gentleman who's helped me out so much these past few months, my mom and I were granted a private audience with Patrizio just before he left.

Just after his short conversation with a high-ranking record company exec, we were hustled forward and received an extremely warm welcome. This man obviously ADORES women. :) He gently wrapped my hand in both of his and softly brushed his lips against it, giving me a gorgeous, beaming smile. Yow. :D He did the same for my mom, which caused her to giggle for a few seconds, heh heh.

We spent about 5 minutes talking, as we told him a bit about our recent trip to Italy, and asked where he's from ( answer: Naples ). He was extremely attentive, asking us more questions than we did him - e.g. which parts of Italy did we visit? Did we enjoy our holiday? Standing just a foot away from us the whole time, he was easily excitable ( as are most Italians :)), telling us he missed home and even unexpectedly crooning a song for us when I mentioned Sorrento ( he sounds even more wonderful a capella :D ).

My mom, who was very subdued during our Peter Cincotti meeting a month ago, was completely transformed last night - yay, mom! :) She gamely interrupted me early in the conversation to tell Patrizio about our experiences in Italy, and I had a great time watching them banter. Later, when we posed for a couple of photos, she unabashedly hugged him back when he put his arms around us ( as did I - made a mistake in Rome, but never again! ). He signed 2 autographs then surprised me by taking my showcase programme ( which I'd been holding in a very casual manner ), happily signing that as well without any prompting. More thanks, a few farewells, then we were out the door.

Up close, Patrizio is just GREAT to look at. :) Blemish-free complexion, gigantic eyes, confident with loads of sex appeal, and of course, that lightly Italian-accented English.

I already enjoyed his music beforehand, but meeting him adds so much more to the whole experience. He's already expressed enthusiasm about returning to Singapore for a full concert "soon - maybe later this year, why not?", so if he does indeed come back, be sure to go see him. In the meantime, why not familiarize yourself with his album, and return to an era that epitomizes the true essence of romance?

Review Of Beyond The Sea

I found this DVD in - get this - a Sembawang CD shop in a neighbourhood shopping mall.

There're only 2 reasons I bought it - Kevin Spacey and Peter Cincotti.

Yes, they ACTED TOGETHER in this film, and Spacey SINGS AND DANCES, while Cincotti shares significant screentime as Bobby Darin's long-time musical collaborator Dick Behrke.

This movie garnered rave reviews from Rolling Stone and the New York Times, but somehow got eclipsed at the Oscars ( that other musical flick, "Ray", got most of the attention ). I'm very biased, so you can probably guess that I love "Beyond The Sea". And having my favourite actor hang out with one of my favourite jazz singers is just heaven. Well worth my $$$. :)

The Apprentice 3

The most compelling season yet, with "book smarts" Magna Corp. pitting their Ivy League college degrees against "street smarts" Net Worth. So far, the latter has been making the former look pretty pathetic. My choice for top contender at the moment: beefy John from Net Worth, who led his team to victory on the pilot episode. This guy has an innate sense for reading people, adapting quickly and boosting morale. I haven't checked the Internet for results ( and don't intend to ), so it'll be interesting to see if I'm right.

House, M.D.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha - that's my review. :D

Quotable quote:

Dr. Eric Foreman ( neurologist working on House's team ): I thought treating patients is why we became doctors?

Dr. House: NOOOO, treating illnesses is why we became doctors. Treating patients is what makes most doctors miserable.

The script is written by David Shore. What a genius. :)

Nice to see Robert Sean Leonard on board as oncologist Dr. James Wilson. Sensitive actor-wannabe from Dead Poets Society is now a sensitive doc. And Australian golden boy Jesse Spencer steals the limelight as Dr. Robert Chase, yum.

Funnily enough, House's brash behaviour is superbly offset by his other team members' perfect bedside manners. I would've thought he'd pick people whose personalities are similar to his own, but these 3 are the exact opposite. One scene where they rush to secure a surgical airway for a patient who developed an allergic reaction to IV contrast illustrates the practice of medicine in its most ideal form - calm, focussed, precise, and the patient comes out of it intact. The whole sequence took place in almost complete silence, unlike the usual fanfare of crash carts and barreling-down-the-hallway commonly seen in other TV series.

Gotta have the Season 1 DVD when it comes out. Close friends wondering what to buy me for my 31st birthday, take note. :)

Will post about Italy another day. Am post-call and feeling a tad under the weather. Thanks for reading.

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