Ciao: March Madness better be good to follow February Frenzy

BILL KLAUBER

The old expression about March coming in like a lamb and going out like a lion is not exactly true this year. Rather, it was February that went out like a lion with one roar after another and if March comes in like a lamb it will become the lamb that is led to slaughter.

The month really will have to be at its roaring best to top the noise left by February. In fact, this year February was so busy that it needed an extra day. You might call it a leap of faith if you’ll pardon the pun.

To prove my point I cannot think of any time in recent years when the last two weeks of any month, including December, was so chock full of events that it could make anyone go nuts, if you’ll again pardon the pun.

This was especially so in the cultural, social and entertainment areas as the following review of those events shows.

It was a two-week span that began with the end of the ACE Group Classic golf tournament and it certainly was a fortnight that came up aces.

Leading into the crescendo of the final two weeks of the month was the Naples Art, Antique and Jewelry Show, which ran from Feb. 9-13 at the Naples Exhibition Center at Second Avenue South and Goodlette-Frank Road. Its promoters promised an “unrivaled combination of renowned international exhibitors and elegantly composed décor, a must-attend cultural experience.”

It delivered all of that to the many hundreds of Neapolitans who were able to attend with the exception of the “unrivaled” part because barely 10 days after those doors closed, the doors opened at the Naples International Art & Antique Fair at the Naples International Pavilion at the intersection of Immokalee and Livingston roads.

Recognizing that it had competition, the NIAAF claimed that, in 2011, it “introduced international fine art galleries to the flourishing art scene of Florida’s Gulf Coast.”

I will leave the accuracy of that claim to local artisans and gallery owners, as I will leave to the more knowledgeable the determination of which show was the better or more successful. Perhaps a clue could be whether either or both return for an encore in 2013.

What we know will return next year and for many more years to come, is OperaNaples. Now in its seventh season, the company presented its fourth of five 2011-2012 productions with a magnificent performance of Charles Gounod’s grandiose opera “Faust,” which featured an outstanding cast and orchestra conducted by maestro Paul Adler who has had more than 60 performances under his baton at the Metropolitan Opera.

OperaNaples’ final production of the season will be in May when it partners with ArtsNaples in a concert version of Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin.” When reminding this past weekend’s audiences at Gulf Coast High School’s Performing Arts Hall of this, Founder and Artistic Director Stefanie Pearce revealed that this opera will be staged at the Phil, an announcement greeted with spontaneous cheering and applause.

This formal and formidable collaboration proves that OperaNaples, has indeed “come a long way baby” as the old Virginia Slims’ marketing slogan put it.

The approval of the affiliation with the Phil is welcome news and a strong signal from new Phil CEO Kathleen van Bergen that her organization will be working with other cultural endeavors in Naples.

Still, the Phil remains top of the heap, king of the hill, as its schedule over the last couple of weeks in February proved. Included were a performance by the incomparable Diana Ross, the second of the Pops Series with Jack Everly conducting the Philharmonic Orchestra in a program featuring the music of the Callaway Sisters, and concluding this weekend with the smash musical “La Cage Aux Folles.”

So March, your marching orders are clear. Bring it on with a roar worthy of the MGM Lion.

March Madness better be good to follow February Frenzy in Naples.

But as W. C. Fields purportedly said, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”

Ciao!

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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