Posts Tagged ‘Ronald Naldi in Ocean Grove NJ’

Ronald Naldi in the Great Auditorium of Ocean Grove. By Paul Goldfinger , undated. ©

Ronald Naldi 2011 BF post


RONALD NALDI performing “Mattinata” from his album Torn A Surriento–Neopolitan Songs and Romances


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Ronald Naldi performing in the Youth Temple, Ocean Grove, NJ 7/26/15  Paul Goldfinger photo ©  Click to enlarge.

Ronald Naldi performing in the Youth Temple, Ocean Grove, NJ.  7/26/15.  Paul Goldfinger photo © Click to enlarge.

The concert, which was to start at 3:30 pm on Sunday, was a much anticipated recital for serious music lovers in the Grove. Ronald Naldi, who has been tenor-in-residence for 42 years in Ocean Grove, was going to present one hour of musical magic to a full house.

He would appear alone on the elevated stage of the Youth Temple, except for his young piano accompanist Sean Gough.

At 3:30 pm, soprano Monica Ziglar walked on the stage and tapped the microphone with her finger tips. Nothing happened.   She tapped it a few more times, smiled a bit, and then gave up. Next the audio man came out and tapped on the microphone a few times, but nothing happened. Finally, with the audience squirming a bit, desperate times call for desperate measures, so out came Maestro Jason Tramm who tapped on the microphone, but even he could not make it happen.

Jason Tramm taps on the mike as Ronald Naldi enters right. Blogfinger.net ©

Jason Tramm taps on the mike as Ronald Naldi enters stage left. Blogfinger.net ©

Finally Ronald Naldi came on stage, glancing over at Tramm and then he shrugged; after all, his magnificent tenor voice doesn’t require a microphone. I heard him sing the Star Spangled Banner in the Great Auditorium without a mike. Tony Bennett walked out after that and he wondered aloud how he could follow Ronald Naldi.

So the recital began. If anyone in the audience was expecting Verdi, or Puccini or even Sigmund Romberg, that wasn’t going to happen. Instead, Ronald Naldi treated us to a program of short songs, each of which told a story, and, except for Rachmaninoff, none were by composers that most of us would recognize.

It didn’t matter. Ron (I guess Grovers can call him that; after all, this is a guy who lives in a tent) could have sung Al Jolson in blackface and received roaring shouts and applause.

His stories in song were about the coming of spring, love is blind, beautiful women, happiness, lost love, and lilacs. In one song, two young women go to fetch water, but someone is watching them from behind a tree. Ron liked this song—his facial expression broke into a smile. I thought, “He’s been there, or something like that.”

He stands straight like the great tenor which he is, projecting his voice as he was trained to do. But, his lavender jacket, white pants and bright tie told a story about how happy he felt performing on a warm summer day in the Grove.

Of course, Ron’s voice was magnificent.   He sang, “Spring; your kisses melted the ice, now bring me love.” He enjoyed that—singing in Italian, but he made sure that we had a translation so we could know why he was having such a good time.

Sean Gough played some Cole Porter for us while Ron rested, and I knew in 10 seconds that Sean is a marvelous jazz pianist. But as an accompanist, he has radar and passion, and you can see why Ron likes to work with him.

At the end of the hour, Ron had a surprise for us. He gathered a song from another corner of the musical world and treated this audience to a 1962 popular tune by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh called “When in Rome I Do What the Roman’s Do.”    Ron seemed to enjoy this departure from his usual repertoire as he smiled while singing, with I think, a twinkle in his eye, ” ‘Cept now and then in Rome, I get that old yen in Rome, and naturally when in Rome, I do what the Romans do.”  Maybe some of you who have experienced a “yen” in Rome know why Ron picked this song.

Ronald Naldi, a treasure in OG and across famous concert halls around the world, did his thing: providing musical magic for his audience,  and everyone in the room was grateful.

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