Spanning two stages and across a large portion of downtown, the entertainment lineup at the Great Italian Festival runs continuously both days of the event. From 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 10-11, Virginia Street will be flanked by the Rome and Venice stages providing musical acts, while roving entertainers (like the crowd-favorite stilt-walkers) walk among the crowds.
“Ambassador of Italian Music to America” Moreno Fruzzetti takes the Rome Stage (at Fourth and Virginia streets) at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, and will perform Sunday on the Venice stage (Third and Virginia streets) at 2 p.m. Hailing originally from Pisa, Fruzzetti sings a combination of opera, pop and even American classics, and has recorded 18 albums thus far. He will be performing alongside the Tony Savage Orchestra at the festival.
With performances Saturday and Sunday, Ray Massa’s EuroRhythms will bring to the festival their fun mix of Italian music and swing. The band includes seven members who play many more instruments between them and yes, the accordion is represented amongst them! Under Massa’s direction, the EuroRhythms take traditional Italian standards and favorites and imbue them with a more current, pop twist, resulting in an up-beat set that will get everyone on their feet. Ray Massa's EuroRythms play Saturday on the Venice stage at 10 a.m., and Sunday on the Rome stage at 3:30 p.m.
Singing for more than 20 years, Aaron Caruso will perform both days of the festival, lending his operatic tenor to classical Italian pieces in both the current and classical genres. His sets include standards like O Sole Mio, Volare and Torna a Surriento, as well as Rat Pack classics like “Fly Me to the Moon.” Caruso sings from the Venice stage on Saturday at 2 p.m. and from the Rome stage on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
Coming to the Italian Festival straight from Italy, award-winning rock band T-ROCK plays to festival goers from the Rome stage at 4:30 p.m. Saturday and on the Venice stage at noon Sunday. A mix of rock, Italian tarantella and gypsy music, the band has played to festivals of 1 million people in their native Europe. Violin, accordion and guitar are played with special effects and equipment to help form the band’s sound, which lies somewhere between its Italian roots and more modern influences.
Theatrical cirque sensation “Saltoriya” will dazzle audiences from the Rome stage both Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.). A “visual extravaganza,” Saltoriya is currently performing through Nov. 15 at the Eldorado, but will give festival-goers a taste of the magic that makes up the show. The cast includes American and European talents performing acrobatics, clowning, juggling and dance, and combines the performers’ feats with an original score meant to be an “exhilarating, uplifting experience.”
Rounding out the already impressive lineup of entertainment are Svet, Italica, Primo Basso and professional piano bar band Duo Domino, who will play Italian classics to set the festival mood both days. Primo Basso, a Seattle-based group, will be playing to crowds at 10 a.m. Sunday, performing Italian, French, continental and swing music from the Venice stage. The swing trio is made up of acoustic guitar, musette accordion and an upright bass and counts inspiration coming from the likes of Louis Prima, Connie Francis and Tony Bennett.